Effective Client Management can be the difference between a highly successful and a mediocre performing digital agency creating similar kind of campaigns. It is essential for agencies to step out of the typical client request fulfilling mechanism and become an end-to-end digital consultant and advise clients for them to achieve success. Let’s try and understand this through an example.
Client is a top-level management recruitment agency operating in the B2B space and wants to leverage social media to increase leads. Client wants to use all leading digital media platforms such as Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. and is planning on a dedicated spend of Rs. 1,00,000 per month on digital marketing with the expectation of generating 5000 leads per month from the platform.
Agency A gets the contract and executes the engagement exactly as per the client’s requirements, putting ads and posts on all platforms including Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, but is only able to generate 2000 leads per month in the allotted spend. The contract is terminated within 3 months, and Agency A ends up with Rs. 3,00,000 and a lot of bad word of mouth in the market for being unable to meet client expectations. They struggle to make further inroads into B2B business and their client acquisition cost skyrockets.
Agency B is the new agency hired by the client with the same expectations. During the first few meetings, Agency B consults and advises the client that it in their experience, it is too optimistic to expect 5000 leads per month from digital marketing to be generated for a B2B business. As a result, the client lowers their expectation to 3500 leads, budget to Rs. 80,000 and platforms to Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. The agency meets their targets and the engagement runs successfully for 12 months. Agency B ends up earning Rs. 9,60,000 and lots of positive referrals from the client, which significantly pushes down their client acquisition cost.
Where did Agency A go wrong? What did Agency B do right?
The answer lies in the way that both the Agencies managed their clients. Here are 5 highly successful and useful client management habits of highly successful agencies in the digital marketing space: –
1. EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS
As per a study conducted by CMO.com among the CMOs of various sized companies, it was revealed that 2 in 3 marketers don’t think their companies are proficient in digital marketing. What’s more, even 52% of “digital marketers” don’t feel proficient in digital marketing either! So you can be fairly certain that the person dealing with you on the client’s side will not be well versed with the fact that Instagram might not be the best medium for generating B2B leads. It is your job to educate your clients regarding the nuances of various social media channels and their suitability for particular businesses. A successful agency takes a consultative approach towards client management rather than simply going and executing what the client asks for!
2. SETTING THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS
One of the biggest reasons why agencies fail is wrong expectation setting. In today’s date, you can find digital marketing agencies and freelancers a dime a dozen, which is forcing agencies to get aggressive and promise results that aren’t realistic. The surest sign of a successful digital agency is that it knows the capability of platforms that it is marketing on, and communicates this to the client effectively. The age-old under promise and over deliver strategy still works quite well! In our example above, Agency B made it very clear to the client on the basis of its past experience that 5000 leads a month through the digital platform is unrealistic, and revised the targets, thereby keeping the client satisfied and the relationship alive.
3. COMMUNICATING THE RESULTS
As per a study conducted by the Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% executives don’t think marketing drives demand and revenue. Therefore, it is the job of an agency to communicate to the client how exactly digital marketing is helping the business. It is a basic thing, but most agencies stumble at this step itself. Don’t assume that just because the generated leads are going to the client’s inbox, the results are being communicated. A Digital Agency should take the pains to visit their clients often with several metrics that show how digital marketing is helping the brand in sales as well as marketing. Using reports and sophisticated presentations and excel sheets can be most beneficial!
4. FLEXIBLE & AGILE
Digital Marketing is very different from traditional market in its ability to be quick and immediate. We all remember the fun banter that happened between Zomato and Amazon on Twitter. Digital Marketing will provide several such opportunities and a good Digital Agency is quick to be flexible in its approach to grab such chances! You can’t go about digital marketing with a static plan made at the beginning of a month and then executed through it. Agencies need to evaluate campaigns on a much shorter timeline and quickly change them if they are not performing!
5. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
This is a problem that typically stems out of the need for acquiring new clients and keeping existing clients satisfied. Agencies often know when the client is giving a stupid or insane suggestion, but agree to it simply to boost the ego of the client. While keeping the client happy is an inherent part of client management, you must also realize that you are much more aware of the digital scenario than the client, and while standing up to them might lead to momentary negativity, it’ll be better in the longer run when the client realizes that you were right and saved them from wasting money on a campaign that was never going to work. In other words, good agencies grow a backbone and always stand up for what they think is right and have enough research and data to back it up! Agency B knew very well that Instagram is not a medium that is ideal for B2B marketing, and communicated the same to the clients, saving them from spending money on an additional platform and also helping themselves by getting more budgets for platforms that actually deliver results!
Digital Marketing is still a field that is constantly evolving, with new techniques and metrics coming to fore everyday. A good digital agency would be one that keeps itself on top of trends, delivers the best to its clients, and makes sure they know it!
Those were my thoughts about how effective client management can lead you to building a more successful digital marketing agency. Would like to hear your thoughts in the comments section too.