This post is by Darren Woolley, Founder of TrinityP3. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.
We see and hear about this time and time again. In the glow of the new agency relationship, both the marketer and the agency are often oblivious to the need to establish the ground rules and implement a process of on-boarding the new agency and establishing the working relationship.
Often when we raise the topic the marketers feel that the process will happen naturally, and both parties, agency and marketer, are keen to get on with the work now the selection process has been completed.
But without clearly establishing the ground rules and putting in place the rules of engagement, the euphoria of these early days can often lead to issues in the way the agency works not just with the marketing team, but with other agencies in the roster.
At the least there will be a loss of productivity in the relationship, at worst it can lead to a complete breakdown and the need to go through the whole selection process again.
Having been through the agency selection process, which can take weeks, or even months, it is natural for both the agency and the marketers to want to get to work rather than undertake further process implementation. But a short-term focus on outcomes will ultimately be compromised by not getting the process right.
Of course, rushing into a new or major project with the new agency will invariably mean that both parties will work out a way of working along the way. But often in the rush of the new project there are miscommunications and oversights of some of the major issues.
Many marketers will feel these are a small compromise, which can be corrected later, only to discover that by the time they have an opportunity to address the issues arising there has been significant loss of time, resource or budget and the relationship, once past the honeymoon period, has soured.
This is a classic situation where an ounce of prevention can eliminate the need for a tonne of cure later. The process does not have to hold up the work, but it does have to be done and can be incorporated into the program of work upfront.
What is required and when?
There are three key areas that need to be established up front: