4 benefits of sharing your business strategy with your agency
Buzzwords inundate the digital industry and saturate agency proposals. The industry moves at such a pace that new buzzwords seem to pop up on a daily basis, but which are strategically placed hooks and which can actually add value?
A long-standing and often misunderstood buzzword is “strategy”. So, what does it actually mean when agencies talk about strategy and why should you care?
Well, in short; you should care. The ultimate aim of any strategy is to add value, in the form of sustainable success for both your business and the agency.
When a brand doesn’t have a strategy, or they don’t share it with their agency, both parties effectively work in the dark. It’s impossible to achieve success consistently over time if there is no roadmap, direction or benchmarks to measure yourself against.
Looking back to the article Rawnet’s MD Adam wrote about the bankruptcy of retail giant Toys R Us or the more recent news about Carillion; it is apparent that their lack of vision and forward planning has resulted in their downfall either directly or indirectly.
‘Carillion making tomorrow a better place’ is now a laughable tagline. As the Guardian puts it:
The fate of large corporations is a public concern and only wholesale reform will ensure company boards prioritise long-term value creation over short-term profit.
When long-standing, established businesses like the above are failing because of a lack of planning, it not only highlights the importance of strategy, but also the difficulty of the task. Hiring CIOs to work IN the business isn’t enough, you need to take time to work ON the business.
What do agencies mean when they talk about strategy?
Historically, strategists would look to add a roadmap and set objectives on a project by project basis. While this is better than nothing, it’s also short-sighted. Project strategy would typically be the output of an agency that values your project but not a long-term working collaboration.
Today, agencies should be writing account development plans in line with account strategies that are based on your business goals. To achieve long-term collaboration between yourselves and your agency, you must develop trust and understanding. Both businesses must be open and honest about goals and processes to create a level playing field. The collaboration, by its nature, benefits both sides and aligns strategy with success; an account development plan will help drive this.
Share insights such as your business roadmap, KPIs for the business and, very importantly, budgets. I know, that one made you cringe, but it’s so important to the development of the relationship.
By achieving this transparency, your account will receive full agency attention, you will become key to them. The type of business an agency wants to work with. The type of client they can effectively work with in order to really showcase their worth.
So, why share everything, what’s in it for you?
A proper account strategy can result in the following benefits:
- Insight provides statistical benchmarks, which you can use to drive and showcase understanding and success. Both qualitative and quantitative data, objectives and knowledge about your brand, audience, sector, and industry landscape are used by agencies to determine an account development plan for your business and/or product/s. If the agency feels confident and thinks they have all the information they need from you; they will be proud to put their name to the work.
- With knowledge comes efficiency and focus. Time efficiency will be created on both sides, proposals will be focused and proactive. A shared understanding of the key objectives, performance levels, and a roadmap will enable you to achieve your goals quicker and more economically. The agency will be proud of the work they’ve done and will benefit from higher Net Promoter Scores, great case studies, and even industry awards; all of which lead to more business and positive internal moral for both parties.
- The output will be improved. It becomes channeled, scalable and robust. Aligned to the achievement of your objectives. The deliverables will be better all round. They will be more economical, more strategic, and potentially transformational.
- Measurables for transparency. When all of this information is in place, if your agency are worth their day rate, their proposals will all be aligned to achieving and succeeding the measures you’ve collaboratively put in place. Benchmarks will be set, exceeded and re-set.
In summary, every brand or business needs an agency that can be both consultative and hands-on. When there is a collaborative, transparent relationship where knowledge is at the centre of everything, the output can only be better. That output covers everything from your account strategy to your business plan, your digital platforms to marketing and statistical benchmarks to success. And the best part, this type of relationship is long-term, which in turn results in loyalty between both parties.