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When Your Agency Partnership has Gone Stale

September 15, 2021
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Many major brands and retailers work with an agency partner to ensure their digital presence is top-notch. After all, working with an agency has become increasingly necessary in today's landscape to remain competitive. With this, it’s not uncommon for businesses to continue working with an agency even after realizing they're not getting what they signed up for. So, in this blog post, we aim to shed light on what we've learned about great relationships between brands and agencies over the years. As you read, we encourage you to ask yourself whether it's time to switch it up or consider a partnership for the first time.

Is Your Agency Collaborative? 

We believe a one-size-fits-all approach to a partnership isn't realistic. There's not a universal formula for success and what works for a brand can change at any moment. This is why it's important to have a partner that's agile, flexible, and above all, collaborative. 

It's crucial to work with an agency that is willing and able to work together through the ups, downs, and unknowns. In fact, during conversations with prospective clients, lack of collaboration is a top reason why they're looking to hire a new agency. 

After noticing this pattern over the years, we've identified signs of a non-collaborative partner:

  • Vague allocation of responsibilities
  • Slow response times 
  • Lack of empathy or personal connection
  • Defensiveness and entitlement
  • Poor listening skills 

How Much Does Your Agency Value Communication?

As alluded to above, collaboration and communication can go hand in hand. If your agency partner is taking too long to get back to you, that's a problem. That being said, it's important to set clear expectations about communication at the beginning of the partnership. Doing so prevents unmet expectations and decreases costly delays or oversights. 

Further, response times are not the only element of communication that matters. You should feel comfortable expressing ideas, concerns, and anything related to the partnership. If you're currently working with an agency, take note of how you feel after meetings. Despite any challenges, you should be confident leaving a conversation with your agency.

Are Transparency And Reliability At The Forefront Of This Relationship? 

Building off the above, you should feel empowered to off responsibility. Being able to trust your agency to execute and provide deliverables is a must. Otherwise, you're running the risk of falling behind. 

If your agency is missing deadlines or is difficult to get in contact with, this is a red flag. Any delays an agency goes up against should be communicated to your team, in the spirit of transparency.

Does Your Partner Possess The Ability And Willingness to Innovate?

Today, experimentation and trying new tactics are imperative. A quality agency partner will not only be open to your ideas but be proactive in sharing suggestions of their own. They should be able to test new strategies, learn from them, and pivot when it makes sense. There's no excuse for sticking to the status quo amid the increasing competition in media, creative, and commerce.

Are The Results What You Expected? 

When partnering with an agency, you're investing in expertise that's proven to boost your performance. If you begin to notice the numbers aren't necessarily what you hoped for, it's time to have a conversation with your agency. Instances like this require strong and healthy communication skills. In an ideal scenario, an agency and a brand could talk about what's not working and tangible ways to improve. It's when this is no longer effective brands usually begin the process of switching agencies. However, it's important to note, a reputable agency can't promise a specific level of return. With that said, we encourage brands to use their best judgment and proactively address concerns.

Final Thoughts

Navigating an agency relationship and contemplating making a change can be daunting. However, settling for an agency that's not delivering on its end of the bargain shouldn’t be an option. We've shared a number of questions to ask yourself when considering a strategic partner. And we encourage you to read that next. 

If you're in need of support or want to discuss the possibility of partnering with Code3, please reach out.

 

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