RMR’S Recommendations For Increasing The Productivity of Your Agency

By Robyn Sachs, President and CEO of RMR & Associates

I wrote this article for companies who wanted to find ways to increase the productivity of their advertising and public relations agencies. If you have never worked with an agency before, we would like to share our recommendations with you. Rest assured, our team will also counsel and guide you to ensure our new partnership is a success.

1. Create a working partnership.

The principals and executives of your advertising and public relations agency have marketing communications expertise in a wide variety of businesses and industries. In order to make the most of this valuable resource, treat agency members as part of your company, and include them in the strategic planning process.
Because agency executives can play a powerful role in creating and promoting your public image, help them to understand what makes your company and its products and services unique.

2. Eliminate the fear of failure.

The real business of any advertising and public relations agency is creativity. To help your agency deliver, allow its professionals to push the edge of the creative or public relations envelope. Move away from conservatism because “we’ve never done it that way” or “my boss will never agree to that approach” never leads to success. Remember, safe usually equals dull.

3. Listen with an open mind.

One of the advantages of using an outside agency is the unique perspective it brings to your marketing challenges. Don’t force the agency to give you what they think you want. Let them give you what they think you need.

4. Be clear and consistent.

If your standards of excellence change from one meeting to the next, you may inadvertently press the agency to be cautious in its creative or public relations approach. Once the creative environment is set and the ground rules are established, stick to them. Should your goals change, be sure the agency clearly understands the new direction to avoid wasted effort.

5. Be decisive.

Once you have taken a stand on the agency’s work, stick to it. If upper management challenges a campaign you’ve approved, be prepared to defend the campaign. Rather than waffling on a position with the agency or your supervisor, have a point of view and express it.

6. Don’t over-analyze copy.

Advertising copy and press releases are written for your markets or the editors, not for you. When reviewing the copy, stick to the objectives and agreed-upon strategy. Allow the agency to do the creative job you have hired them to do.

7. Establish clear financial guidelines.

Establish a clear and fair compensation system with your agency from the beginning. Monitor the performance of the agency on a regular basis. If a money problem does occur, establish its significance and address it directly to the agency at the onset.

8. Share the credit.

Remember that the agency-client relationship is, above all, a collaboration.

9. Share the heat.

When problems do arise, don’t rush to put all the blame on the agency. Share any negative comments, and then help formulate a plan of action so that you may move forward together.

10. Insist on an annual check-up.

At least once a year, you and the agency’s principals should sit down to discuss the progress and results of the relationship.
The common link to all of these ideas is a basic understanding of what drives agency people to go the extra mile for you, day in and day out. It has little to do with compensation and everything to do with human nature.
Remember, the environment you create for your agency is fundamental to its, and your, success.