Last week, Ad Club Denver and the BMA hosted a luncheon entitled Clients are from Mars, Agencies are from Venus. The open discussion featured four panelists: two from the client side and two from the agency side, and focused on the differences in perspective during the creative process. Poignant questions were asked addressing pain points between clients and agencies, what is expected by both parties, and formal evaluation of the client/agency relationship.
Main takeaways are perhaps commonsense, but also hard to constantly keep in mind. Clients drove home that they immensely appreciate honesty in an agency relationship. They want to be a part of the design process, and they want to be inspired by the agency’s innovation, but it’s just as important that the agency learn about the client’s business and leverage that knowledge.
In the end, it’s important for agencies to remember that the the client knows more about his business than the agency does.
Agencies, meanwhile, need to stay true to their strengths and design style, and not attempt to be an expert in every field. Agencies are hired to push the envelope, but the work will suffer if the relationship isn’t right. When a relationship is a good fit, an agency will be able to pull (not push) the client in an innovative direction that works for the client’s business objectives and presents the client as fresh and current—a win-win for both parties.
Speaking of innovation, the moderator Glenn Thayer (https://www.emcee.com) developed a mobile app that allowed him to post various polls to the audience (what superpower would you want?) and also made it possible for audience members to ask questions anonymously throughout the discussion.
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Top photo via http://www.velocitypartners.co.uk/