Five things clients can stop doing that will improve the relationships with their agencies

A wonderful, straight to the point post and piece of research from Gareth Turner (Weetabix Head of Marketing) on the five things clients can stop doing that will improve their relationship with agencies. I found this really interesting, especially after I had just finished writing my piece on ‘Stopping negative talk about clients. A view from the other side as it were.

Gareth’s post is here – he’s worth a follow – but I’ve lifted it here for ease:

There are (at least) five things clients can stop doing that will improve the relationships with their agencies.

Simply put, we need to stop behaving like embarrassed, grumpy teenagers and grow up.

Yesterday, I re-shared my thoughts on how agencies can grow their business within a client, moving (if they want to) from being a “point and shoot” agency who is employed for a specific, short term task, to being a “trusted advisor” who not only gets the meatier projects to work on, but is occasionally given license to pitch for work outside the core discipline that got them onto the roster in the first place.

And in my research, I’ve seen that both clients and agencies are demanding “challenge.”

But are clients doing enough to create the supportive, respectful environment to encourage this? After all, it takes both sides to improve any relationship.

Below are some client behaviours that I’ve seen over the years, which need to stop if we are to improve our client : agency relationships:

1: STASHING: It occurs when the client you’re dealing with doesn’t introduce you to anyone else in the business. Basically, you’re their secret project. Now this brand manager may well be the decision maker or budget holder, but the longer this carries on, the less likely that is….

2: GHOSTING: The client you’ve been dealing with vanishes without a trace. You could have been chatting for a few days, or even months, but one day the client simply disappears. They don’t return your calls or emails. It’s cowardly, but frustratingly common.

3: BENCHING: Like my football career, you might find yourself on the bench. Being a back-up option as the client continues to play the field. They may have liked what you proposed, but not have been blown away by it. They may come back to you if nobody better comes along, but if that’s the start of your relationship, then it doesn’t bode well….

4: BREADCRUMBING: when a client seems to be keen, but really they have no intention of starting this relationship. It might be difficult to tell in the early stages, but, it soon becomes clear that this person has no intention of following through with anything they’ve promised you. They just like leaving you breadcrumbs, like Hansel and Gretel.

5: GASLIGHTING: When agency and client think they’ve agreed on the feedback or budget for a piece of work but shortly afterwards the client denies all knowledge of it.

A really great reminder about behaviours that might be happening to you, or you might be an active participant in.



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