Easy come, easy go. It’s a saying that is often used in regards to money. But the same can also be said for clients in an Interactive agency. Ahhh. Such is Agency Life in 2011. Mostly, it a glorious state of affairs – getting to know a client and having the opportunity to learn about (and then grow) their businesses. In fact nothing is more rewarding than showing a client an increase in business and a positive ROI from their online marketing efforts. And that is why I still love what I do. However, one of the sad facts of working in an agency these days is that clients come and go for a variety of reasons, most that have nothing to do with you or the results you are getting for them. Often we lose business because “a friend of a friend” knows somebody that dabbles in Online Marketing. Other times, many businesses simply cannot afford the on-going investment it takes to compete effectively online these days.
A client relationship is just like a personal relationship, sort of like dating. Sometimes you can have a mad passionate love affair that lasts for years. Other times, you only hang out for a short while. But when you truly care about what you do…when you invest time getting to know your clients, you usually take on their business problem as much as you do the services you were contracted to perform. And that is why it always hurts a little when a client does have to part ways.
So, what have I learned about this new agency reality? How can I turn these experiences into a positive? I suppose the easy answer is that even if it is for a short time, we can and do make a difference in our client’s lives. Often, it is as simple as bringing them more leads/sales. Other times, we teach them about Online Marketing so that they can perform the tasks themselves. Sometimes, we give our clients a single idea that literally transforms their businesses overnight.
What is the best type of client/agency engagement? It is a question marketers always ask themselves. In the end, I believe the best client relationships stem from a complete and open dialogue about goals and objectives. If a client is honest with us and we are honest back about the reality and the cost of achieving their goals, then everybody wins. This approach ensures that everybody enters and leaves the relationship with full integrity. And while I often do miss many of the business relationships I have built over the past 10 years, I am equally excited about the partners that have stayed…and the new ones just now entering the picture.