Guest post by Lori R Taylor, founder of REV Media Marketing llc, is a 20 year marketing veteran, dedicated to direct response metrics and firmly believes “if popularity is vanity then sales are sanity – it’s up to you to decide how crazy you can afford to be.”
Remember that first meeting between the prospective new client and your agency? It was thrilling – a blind date that went so well you were ready to get hitched! They loved you and you loved them.
Client concerns are easy to miss because they often start out innocent; an isolated question that can snowball into meaningless reports, endless stops and starts, and incessant approvals choke the campaign’s potential. Eventually, you wake up dismayed, drowning in frustration or anger as you find yourself in a no-win situation positioning for “authority” with your client.
Somehow what you said you were going to do and what the client perceived was going to happen weren’t in alignment, causing them to second-guess your capabilities and therefore the relationship.
The best option is to talk about worse case scenarios upfront. In an always on, difficult to manage, customer controlled, organic social media world, avoiding the heart-to-heart that deals with the inherent risks in any new campaign can doom the new client honeymoon before you even say, “I do.”
Based on my experience (and I learned the hard way) here is a short list of 10 simple precautions you should take before and during any client engagement.
The 10 Components of the Client Pre-Nuptial Agreement
1. Provide a written assessment of the account as you found it, before you sign your contract. Clearly set benchmarks and document projected outcomes based on easy to track success metrics – so there are no surprises.
2. Ask the client to outline their three biggest agency wins and losses prior to engaging with you, clearly noting why they think they were or were not successful with those campaigns.
3. Require quarterly in-person assessments to provide feedback about what you are doing well and where you could improve, with a column for you (the agency) and them (the client). Don’t be afraid to tell them proactively where they need to do better before there is a blow up.
4. Have the client explain to you the top 3 reasons they hired you and recap in writing to them. This ensures their expectations are accurate and underlines where you need to deliver.
5. Provide a clear 30-60-90 day process outline with measurable deliverables and sign offs from client every step of the way.
6. Record every conversation and provide written recaps of those meetings with next steps for the client, outlining due dates for approvals with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
7. Make sure you supply, in writing, exactly what the client must do internally to support your agreed upon strategies. If you sense hesitation, emphasize what is mission critical, so you can adjust strategies and manage expectations.
8. Have a pre-determined escalation plan for missed deadlines and lack of internal support from client. Get their buy in before launching any campaign.
9. Provide weekly updates of your wins, losses (misfires) and any unexpected opportunities you stumble across.
10. Put in writing what you do NOT do and what you do NOT promise so they clearly understand your capabilities.
Social media marketing is a shiny penny with brands right now. Wild success stories make it look “so easy” that many clients fail to understand how much infrastructure it takes on their end, and their inability to solve problems quickly can take a solid strategy straight to Crazy Town, making you and your agency look like failures.
Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Trying to be everything to your client will only confuse them and you. Right?