Working With an Agency: Why Collaboration is Key

At Old Town Media, we know that the clients we provide the best work for – the ones we are the most invested in, the most creative with and the most effective with – are the ones that work with us, collaboratively.

Working collaboratively with us means that we aren’t your “vendor for marketing services.” Working collaboratively with us means we’re your “marketing partner” and yes, partnerships take work. The work that grows that vendor-like relationship into a partnership is the difference between “marketing” and “great marketing” – and to be honest, we only want to create great marketing.

I know what you’re thinking, “But I want to hire an agency so that I don’t have to deal with any of this stuff.”

I get that, I totally get that. However, that’s not going to work (well).

For a marketing agency to really understand your company’s needs and goals and effectively create a strategy or campaign that is going to change the way your product or service is positioned in the marketplace, that agency is going to need consistent and thoughtful communication and feedback from you or someone on your team.

We need to know when things are working, when you’re seeing results, when the market is changing, when your company changes. We also need to know the negative stuff like when things aren’t working, when sales are down or when a competitor is encroaching on your share of the market.

There is no “safe” zone in business just as there’s no “magic bullet” in marketing and if you’re expecting that out of your marketing agency, you’re wasting your money.

At Old Town Media, we know that not every company is going to be a great fit for our partnership take on the client-agency relationship, and that is totally okay! We’d rather say no to those prospects than find ourselves in a situation where we’re not effective or creative.

So before you hire an agency, ask yourself the following questions – and make sure that the agency you’re working with knows your answers too:

  • Do I have clear expectations for the client-agency relationship and is the agency a good fit for the type of relationship I’m looking for?
  • Do I have a clear vision for my business right now, 1 year from now and 5 years from now and can I effectively explain that to someone else?
  • Do I have the time and energy – or does someone on my team – to dedicate to building this client-agency relationship so that it can be as effective as possible?
  • Am I willing to let go of some of the control so that I can focus on the strengths I bring to my business?

At the end of the day, we want to be passionate about the clients we’re marketing and that’s much easier when the client is sharing their passion with us. Don’t hire a marketing or web design agency because you think it’s the right thing to do. Hire a marketing partner because you truly see the value in working together with a group of creative individuals.

“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.” – Leo Burnett