When you begin working with a marketing agency, it may seem like there is a lot to the onboarding process. If it seems like there are loads of papers to fill out or meetings to attend, it’s only to strengthen the success of your working relationship.
Most client/agency relationships begin after the sales process is complete and some initial information has been provided to the team involved in the project (comprised of writers, designers, strategists and maybe more depending on your needs). You’ll then have what’s commonly known as a kickoff call — the first meeting that includes everyone on your team and the marketing agency’s team working on the project.
You will make introductions between team members, review the project agreement and continue discussion about understanding your company, the industry, competitors, what you’ve been doing for marketing and where you see your company in the future. Plan to spend a decent amount of time in this meeting, giving both sides a chance to provide information on what to expect going forward so there is a shared understanding of expectations.
Here are ways you can prepare to make your project kickoff meeting — and the relationship — a success.
There will be a few documents your team will be asked to complete and return, or assist the marketing agency in completing. A document Kuno uses is called the Digital Marketing Brief, which is essentially a profile of your company and includes information on everything from who your competitors are to your company goals to what platform you’re currently using to host your website.
Another important document is the agreement you have with your marketing agency. Be sure everyone on your company’s project team understands what type of work they will be doing for you and how they can assist them.
The agency may supply other reports or audits they’ve conducted on your website, your digital advertising efforts or content materials ahead of your kickoff call. Make sure the right people on your team review these ahead of time so all your questions get answered.
It’s important to be ready for this first meeting to make the best use of everyone’s time. Your internal team should get together before this kickoff meeting to address any questions you have for each other so that everyone is in agreement and presents a united front.
The kickoff call is a good time to make sure everyone on both sides is clear about the most important thing: the goals. There are both long-term goals and short-term goals that each require different strategies and tactics to achieve. Take the time to discuss these with your agency so they understand where you are headed and what the big picture is for your company. Understanding timelines previously established by your company’s CEO can help the agency to know where they fit in and begin developing their own timeline for completing items such as a new website, new content materials or materials for a time-sensitive product promotion or trade show.
In this very first meeting, you’ll want to discuss how frequently your teams should meet. This may change based on the work being completed. In the beginning, for example, you may need weekly meetings as both sides work to understand what to expect in terms of feedback or the review process. As the relationship progresses, edits tend to become less extensive on content or design as those teams learn what the client wants. There may also be more work upfront if there is a website to redesign. But when that is completed, and the work is delivered in a more regular cadence, there may not be a need to meet as often.
This also raises the issue of who should be on meetings. Depending on what’s being discussed, not everyone from both sides need to be on every meeting. To be mindful of everyone’s time, determine ahead of each meeting what’s going to be discussed and who needs to attend.
In between meetings, make sure you understand who your point of contact is if anything comes up. For example, do you have a strategist, marketing consultant, account manager or some other primary point person your agency has told you to reach out to for questions? If you have a design question, can you reach out to the designer directly or does it need to go through your primary point of contact? If you can reach out directly, make sure to loop in team members on both sides so they’re not in the dark if changes are being made.
You’ll also want to ask how you can reach out to your agency in between your regularly scheduled meetings. Do they prefer email, phone or a project management software? What times are acceptable to reach out to them? Keep in mind time zone differences and their working hours, and let them know your own company’s preferences for reaching out.
When work begins, you’ll want to make clear who the agency should send deliverables to for approval. When discussing the work to be done, both sides should know what the deadlines are for each step in the process (writing, design, development, building out) and when the overall date of completion is so they don’t miss their own respective due dates. Discuss what deadlines can be moved, if needed, and account for sick days, unforeseen issues in development/functionality and testing.
Over the course of your working relationship with a marketing agency, you’ll have lots of calls. So why is the kickoff call so important? It sets the expectations for the project upfront, which can eliminate issues down the road. It lets you get to know your team members from the agency, ask questions and set the tone for how your relationship will progress.
As an outsider to your company, a marketing agency must work to understand who you are and what you do so they can best communicate that to your prospects. They will conduct research on their own, but will also look to you to provide information about your company that only someone working there would know. This very first meeting can help them gain an understanding and begin brainstorming ideas.
At Kuno, we strive for client success in everything we do. From the start of a project to its completion, and with our longstanding clients, we work with the goals of taking ownership and of being proactive and team-oriented. All members of our teams communicate with our clients to ensure satisfaction with our work and to be clear about the goal of each project we’re completing.
Are you ready to work with a company that can capture leads and increase your revenue? Request a consultation with us today.