We all know that communication is key to your relationship with an outside marketing agency. After all, if your firm fails to effectively articulate priorities and goals, the relationship is doomed from the start. But what, precisely, should be communicated? And what are the roles and responsibilities for the "relationship manager" who will be communicating with the agency?
With these questions in mind, we'd like to take a closer look at the importance of appointing a marketing agency "relationship manager" and spell out their roles and responsibilities across the following five areas:
Brand alignment. It goes without saying that what your brand strategy needs to properly communicated to your marketing agency. That said, many companies fail to articulate their brand vision and as a result, the message gets muddled. Ultimately, this conversation rests on what you, the client company, expect from your marketing agency: will you alone spell out the brand strategy, will it be a collaborative effort, or will you outsource the role entirely?
Content creation and management. We'll venture to guess that you'll be involved in the aforementioned brand alignment step. That said, once a branding approach is solidified, your job will be less hands-on moving forward. Take content creation and management, for example. At the most basic level, you'll need to assign a relationship manager to either oversee content creation in-house or manage the interface with your marketing agency. This means determining who will be responsible for things like:
- Writing blogs
- Creating and distributing buyer personas
- Determining blog themes, length, and tone
- Blog publishing schedule
Of these elements, perhaps the most important one is determining the theme and subject matter of your blogs. After all, as sophisticated as your marketing agency may be, your firm is more in tune with customer needs, industry trends, and competitors. Therefore, this is one step where your marketing point-person needs to be particularly vocal in terms of spelling out the types of topics the agency should be writing about, along with the tone.
Cross-channel coordination. It's imperative to make sure your entire marketing approach is unified. This means your in-house point person needs to be aware of who's doing what. For example, your marketing agency may be handling a stand-alone promotion while an in-house person is handling your social media efforts. Are these two individuals on the same page?
Social media management and marketing. Again, your firm may outsource all social media management work to a third party marketing firm. That is completely fine, but that doesn't absolve your in-house relationship manager. For example, they'll have a role in discussing which networks to focus on and what types of messages to convey. In reality, we at Palmer recommend client businesses retain at least partial management of their Facebook and Twitter accounts; this means your in-house point person and marketing agency need to be in close communication to ensure there's no redundant work and to assign someone to market content.
Measurement. Above all else, everyone involved with communicating with your marketing agency needs to be held accountable. You can establish "soft metrics" like "publishes 200-word blog three times a week" to harder ones like "generates a 15% increase in new prospects." The key here is to establish roles, responsibilities, and metrics for success at the outset of your marketing relationship.