In today’s ever-changing marketing landscape, clients are expecting more than ever from their agency partners. Gone are the days of simply “paying the experts” and hoping for the best. Instead, marketers and agencies have forged collaborative partnerships to effectively leverage the myriad platforms, tools, and data at their disposal. This has become even more of a necessity, as many of the larger email service providers (ESPs) have scaled back client support services in recent years.
For agencies, this means being able to manage work at both the strategic and tactical levels, thereby allowing the aforementioned marketing departments — already stretched thin due to expanding responsibilities, competing priorities, and tightening budgets — to focus more on driving success for their customers by freeing up precious time and resources.
The best way to accomplish this is by being at the crossroads of marketing and technology. Building service and integration competencies in full-scale digital marketing platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Oracle Marketing Cloud, as well as some of the smaller, more ancillary tools and services is crucial.
The result is the ability to build cohesive, omni-channel experiences that, when coupled with the right data and intelligence, allow for more tailored and measurable messaging aimed at individuals. A full-service offering that engages clients as partners and bucks the more traditional “client/vendor”— or “order giver/order taker” dynamic provides a more flexible, efficient, and lasting arrangement. It also leverages the talents, insights, and resources of all parties involved.
With that in mind, here are four keys to maximizing your role as a valued digital messaging partner:
1. Understand your clients—and their customers.
At the end of the day, these are your primary constituencies. All your expertise should be channeled into their unique needs and capabilities; it does little good to expend time and energy on things that don’t address either. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t challenge the status quo, but it should be backed by what’s reasonable and possible for a given client or customer base.
2. Emphasize your point of view.
It’s not enough to simply execute well if you’re not providing value or your own unique brand of strategic and technical expertise. Settling solely into the role of “doer” will inevitably lead to a search for lower-cost alternatives. Attaching value and purpose to our work reinforces our unique talent and perspective while providing measurable justification for a continued relationship.
3. Be transparent.
Nothing will torpedo a partnership quite like the absence of substance or trust. It’s important that we, as digital messaging experts, take every opportunity to educate and advise our clients on the how’s and why’s of our work—especially in situations that require hard truths or complex reasoning.
4. Don’t rest on your laurels.
Your ability to adapt to changing market conditions is of paramount importance—it will help you both retain existing clients and win new business. As such, your processes, ideas, strategies, and tools should fall under regular scrutiny. It’s possible that some of what you put into place has managed to stand the test of time; it’s probable that the majority will require significant updates or recalibration.