A Brief Guide To What Marketers Want From Their Agency (Part 1)


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Guest Commentary By Tom Lucas
Director of Marketing & Communications, UKTV

Don’t Sell Yourselves

  • A confession: Most of us clients get quite bored sitting through credentials presentations.
  • We’d rather talk about ourselves. Or make sure you understand what we’re looking for.
  • The best way to win our business is to take a greater interest in and ask more questions about our problems than anyone else.
  • Listen as if for a pin to drop.

Be Externally Referenced

  • Spot new stuff and tell us about it.
  • Most of us are profoundly uncool. We spend evenings feeding babies, and watching telly with Simon Cowell in it.
  • Put your army of hipsters to work. Cross pollinate the learnings from your clients.
  • Expose us to the great stuff you’ve seen at Cannes. Buy us the D&AD Annual.
  • Help us dare to be cooler.

Know Your Limits

  • Not every business problem is a communications brief.
  • Sometimes we clients get desperate, and outsource the problem to someone we can kick if it goes wrong.
  • If you don’t think you can help- tell us. We’ll respect you in the morning.

Get An Education

  • Clients invariably know their business. Some will pretend to know yours.
  • Be flattered by their interest and try to harness it.
  • Make room for them on your team’s training courses. Watch and critique ideas with them. Invest time and energy in them.
  • But insist on reciprocity. Expose your team to the best thinking in their category. Infiltrate their training plan. Learn with them.

Surround Yourselves With Clients

  • Get in there. Spend time in client organisations. Nothing endears like seeing your agency working alongside you- especially after hours.
  • It’s so much quicker- and more fun, when you’re in the same room.
  • Meet the rest of the team. Researchers, commercial teams, lawyers- there is so much to learn from them. And you never know when you might need an ally.

Get In Step

  • Know your client’s planning cycle. Find out when he submits his budgets. When he reviews the year. When he gets appraised by his boss.
  • Have the competitive review ready- because when businesses need information, they don’t issue much advanced warning.
  • Free up resources in advance. Be there for your client.

Look for Part two of A Brief Guide next week, or join our easy and spam-free subscription to Art & Business of Motion here.

A special thanks to Tom for his contribution to the blog.



Filed under marketing, opinion

8 responses to “A Brief Guide To What Marketers Want From Their Agency (Part 1)

  1. I must say quite insightful and refreshing to hear this reiterated from the clientside. I know some of these things might seem obvious, but it really ends up being about the basics doesn’t it?

  2. Carolina

    I couldn’t agree with Tom more. I suppose some agencies forget the part about them getting to know us and would rather focus on us getting to know them.

    Do folks honestly believe that reels/montages win business these days? Some operate like they do.

    Great little manifesto here.

    Btw, absolutely love this blog. Keep up the great work, we are huge fans.

  3. MK8

    Anyone who has worked with Tom in the past knows that he is well respected in our industry for a reason- he’s a marketer who just gets it.

    Thanks for sharing your honest and frank perspective. Something tells me you will be receiving about 25 D&AD annuals this year.

  4. Martin L

    This guide will undoubtedly help a few agencies win a bit of new work.

  5. Pretty spot on. Good to see folks sharing their insight. I can’t emphasize what Tom said about LISTENING more…

  6. Melissa Sinclair

    Looking forward to part 2! Serious generous dose of usefulness…

  7. Pingback: What Marketers Want From Their Creative Agency (Part 2) « Art & Business of Motion

  8. Pingback: A Brief Guide to What Marketers Want from Their Creative Agency (Part 3) « Art & Business of Motion

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