Whether you’re a nonprofit or a ministry (or any other organization for that matter), it’s likely at some point down the line, you will need to work and collaborate with a team outside of your own. These teams and agencies help provide expertise and services that lie outside of your own strengths, helping you achieve your goals. So, since we are a marketing and technology agency (wait, did you know that?), today we want to focus on how to get the absolute most out of an agency helping you with strategic marketing.
- Commit to the long-term
If you approach any personal relationship with the mind-set that it’s not going to last or you just need it to get you by for a few weeks, you’re likely not going to give it the energy it deserves. The same goes for your relationship with a marketing agency. From the start, it's important to consider it to be a long-term partnership if you want to get the best results.
Marketing takes time. Results take time. You have to be committed to a relationship that lasts longer than a 3-week ad campaign in order to see the best outcomes.
So while many short-term projects (such as a logo design or a website launch) are important tactics, our goal as an agency is to help our clients understand that there are much larger long-term strategies that need to be in place in order to move the needle towards growth (i.e. a new logo alone likely won't increase your donations — there are other marketing tactics surrounding the logo redesign that should all align toward a larger strategic goal).
- Be transparent
You have to be open and honest. The relationship between your organization and its marketing agency will be the most fruitful when there is transparency on both sides.
This means your agency needs you to be up front with the good, the bad and the ugly.
- What went wrong in your past marketing efforts?
- What gave you the best results?
- What negative perceptions are you trying to overcome?
- Was there a recent transition that is shifting your mission?
- What is the unsaid big-picture goal (not just the small scale requested tactic)?
And on the other side of that coin, your agency needs to be open and honest with you too! They should be admitting mistakes when they happen, acknowledging limitations, making you aware of decisions they believe aren’t the best use of your resources, and communicating any challenges and opportunities that exist on your path for growth.
These open conversations can be difficult to have, but they’re a “must” if you want an effective and trusted partnership.
- Be ok with conflict
Conflict is inevitable. And while agencies hope this is a rare occurrence, at some point, the parties on each side won’t agree on something.
Guess what? That’s totally ok. And normal.
But in order for conflict to be productive, there has to be a safe and respectful environment in which the agency and client can have a conversation to resolve any issue at hand. If frustrations or misunderstandings are kept quiet, results will often be impacted and ultimately, the relationship and trust will suffer. Experienced and healthy agencies should know how to pivot and adjust to resolve any tensions or mishaps.
- Respect the expertise
Your organization is an expert in your industry, your mission and your subject matter.
Your agency is an expert in marketing (and other service areas).
It’s important for each side to respect the knowledge, history, experience, and expertise that exists on each side.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a say in projects with your agency, but it does mean that you should at least listen and digest the guidance your agency is sharing with you (otherwise, why are you paying them?). And in that same breath, your agency should trust your experience and input regarding your organization instead of simply assuming “they know you better than you know yourself.”
If your organization is ready to partner with a marketing agency or if you have any questions about what that relationship would look like, we’d love to talk with you. We are humbled and honored to serve our clients, and we’d love to add you to our TAG Team. Click here to contact us for more.