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The Ebb and Flow of Marketing Agency Relationships

August 3, 2015

I’ve had a lot of houseguests these past few weeks, and one thing that has struck me is how much energy some take and how little energy others take. I’m not talking about the entertaining or cooking or cleaning the sheets after they leave – they were all classically “good” houseguests – but rather the actual energy and exhaustion that I feel (or don’t) after they are gone.

It got me thinking about why this is and what I decided is that with some of my guests, they get into the groove, the pace, of my busy household. They become part of the flow: they are not tiring. The exhausting guests never manage to become part of the flow – they’re rocks in the stream that the current has to flow around. They just don’t click with our household’s pace.

When I look at our client relationships, there seem to be a lot of similarities. The clients that we work best with and the ones that work best with us seem to have compatible flows. We can give each other clues as to the pace at which something needs to be done. The pace doesn’t always stay the same, either – sometimes it is a quick turn, sometimes it gets paced slowly. Generally, though, we are in sync.

The clients that struggle with us and that we struggle with are the ones whose pace we never manage to get a grip on. It may be internal issues, like if they don’t know/can’t find their own pace, or it may be that they don’t communicate – verbally or non-verbally – well. Whatever the reason, these are the clients that keep me up at night wondering what we could be doing differently – even though sometimes the answer to that questions is nothing at all.

rocks_in_streamIf your organization is working with a marketing agency, whether for a few or many projects, I recommend you take a long, self-critical look if the relationship doesn’t seem to be working well. The agency or the staff you interact with may be clueless about matching your pace – or it may be that your organization doesn’t have a defined pace and it’s tripping up your agency partner.

Human relationships are absolutely fascinating and yet can also be very frustrating, especially when it seems like things should be going right, but aren't. If you aren’t thrilled with your marketing partner, take a step back and figure out if your team is the rock in the stream or if the agency is the boulder you're bouncing up against.

And of course, if you’d like a second opinion, we’d be happy to talk to you – maybe we’d be a better match.

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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