When it comes to setting expectations with your agency(s) – and your marketing team – there are some ‘price-of-entry’ questions everyone should be able to wrap their head around. None are complex, but they are the bedrock of creating harmonious client / agency relationships and ensuring everyone is focused and aligned.
And even if you think your teams are completely clear and in sync with their respective roles and responsibilities, some of the answers (or lack thereof) might surprise you. So, why not test them out? Here is what we believe are the top 7 questions everyone on your business should be able to answer:
What are our expectations?
Whether asked from an individual or corporate perspective, expectations of – and between – everyone should be the starting point. The sting in the tail of this question is that if people can’t answer it, chances are you’ve not been clear or never articulated expectations to begin with – so if there’s a worrying silence after asking it, perhaps it’s an opportunity to bring teams together and let them know.
What are our company’s objectives?
In order to contribute to your business successfully, everyone needs to be able to clearly articulate both your business and marketing objectives. Anything less should have you questioning their ability to participate in meaningful dialogue around the needs of your business and come up with solutions that aligned to your needs.
What does our brand represent?
It’s got to be almost impossible for anyone to work on a marketing team or on any given client at an agency if you can’t articulate what the brand stands for. Everyone who works on your business at your agency(s) and on your marketing team should be as comfortable describing your brand and its values as they are describing what they had for breakfast.
Do you understand our customers?
Fundamental to the success of any marketing activity is an understanding of your audiences. So to brief, create and evaluate truly meaningful marketing solutions, all team members should understand who you’re trying to reach, what’s important to them, how they’re interacting with your brand, what they’re looking for and the kind of expectations that’ll create meaningful experiences.
What’s your role in our marketing ecosystem?
Clearly defining roles and responsibilities within individual teams, between marketing teams and agencies, and – when there are multiple agencies on your business – between agencies themselves sets the ground rules for engagement. The more specific you can be in defining roles the less likely you are to encounter misunderstanding, duplication of effort and / or potential turf wars, and create sharper focused teams.
How are you adding value?
Nobody wants to feel they’re not adding value or have a purpose in the grand scheme of things. If someone can’t answer how they’re adding value for themselves, it’s important to help explain why their efforts are valued by your company. If you or their respective manager can’t answer the question for them, chances are that person needs to be redeployed into a position where they can add value and feel valued themselves.
What’s our budget (for this)?
OK, not everyone is necessarily going to have an intimate understanding of where and how all your dollars have been or are going to be deployed. But everyone should have an understanding of your budget relative to their particular role on your business. Brand teams need to know where their budget is being spent and how it’s tracking year to date. Agency leads should have a detailed understanding of where the dollars are, while those executing specific projects should know how they’re performing relative to that particular budget.
For anyone working in the marketing business today, these are all pretty basic questions and while none should pose difficulties for anyone who’s truly engaged on your business, they’ll almost certainly challenge anyone who isn’t.
So what’s better? Uncertainty? Or knowing your entire team is totally focused on your brand’s success?
Stephan Argent is a founding partner of LE RICHE ARGENT, Canada’s leading Agency Search and Media Management consultancy. Read more like this on our blog ‘Marketing Unscrewed’. Follow me on Twitter @StephanArgent