I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read that talk to what “every young account person should know.” The reality is we all need a swift kick in the keister once in a while – whether you’ve been in the business 25 years or 25 days. It’s extremely easy to become complacent and take advantage of client/agency relationships, especially when they are of the good, long-standing kind.
But, as quick as the account was once won, it can be lost because the relationship wasn’t as strong as it could have been. All kinds of issues can be salvaged if the agency/client relationship is solid. And, who normally leads that charge? Yep, you guessed it. The account person.
So what can you do, newbie or veteran, to assure you indeed have the relationship that keeps business? Here’s my client affinity model:
LEARN THEIR BUSINESS – really understand how they make money; what are their margins; ROI is extremely important to them; talk their talk, and more importantly mean it. You’ll never know as much as they do, but you should push yourself to try.
INITIATE SOLID STRATEGY – from more intricate brand positioning, purpose and voice development to something simpler like creating a brand messaging strategy, ensuring that clients understand its importance is key. This includes a full evaluation of the brands’ business objectives and KPIs, which are imperative to providing the ongoing monitoring and analytics necessary thus creating more opportunity for sales success.
SALES GROWTH AND… – are you really watching this? Both overall sales and comparable sales are key to business success. It’s not just about winning great creative awards, unless of course it’s an Effie. In that case, you’re probably already using my model.
TRAFFIC INCREASES – whether your goal is to increase visits from current brand ambassadors or drive new trial, growth in this area should be monitored and analyzed consistently. As we know, customer visits have a direct link to sales, therefore you need to know the brand’s customers – understand them – please them so they return…and bring their friends.
ENGAGE DEEP ON ALL LEVELS – make sure your relationship with your client isn’t superficial. Every business has layers and layers of systems, processes, products, etc. that can add or detract from its success. This is especially true inside of franchised businesses. Local marketing effectiveness relies heavily on solid brand strategy and leadership. Make sure you are neck deep in all of it.
NEVER STOP EVOLVING – great brands get this: Disney and Madonna are two solid examples. They continue to evolve and attract new fans/customers without alienating their strong historical existing brand base. Ensure your clients understand the importance of this. Lead this charge. Keep the brand relevant and fresh with continuous consumer insights and innovative media and creative approaches.
Of course no model is complete without an acronym, right? Can you spot it?
If there’s one thing I hope someone takes away from this post, it’s that. Please, please, please LISTEN to your clients. Most often that’s what they are begging for – even internally at their own company. So, give them just that. The rewards are truly amazing.