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Marketing Transparency – Building Client Relationships

Marketing Transparency – Building Client Relationships

This is the first part in our new series, A Better Agency, which looks at many of the difficulties that can arise when working with an agency, and what Forthea is doing to overcome it.

Transparency

At Forthea, we pride ourselves on always being transparent with our clients. We’ve been approached by client after client with the same complaint: their previous agency was not open or honest with them. We’ve always put a premium on transparency in all facets of our company and we’ve come to understand that this is often the best way to build and maintain healthy client relationships.

Why is Transparency so Important?

Transparency at a marketing agency can make or break the relationship with a client. We’ve had many clients come in and tell us that, while they weren’t necessarily unhappy with their previous agency’s work, they were frustrated with the lack of communication skills and data sharing.

In the world of digital marketing, we find ourselves in a unique position. When a company hires an agency, that agency is blessed with an abundance of primary data that can drive great, innovative strategies, but some are hesitant to share that data with the client. Perhaps an agency feels that information is proprietary or the method to get that information is proprietary.

At Forthea, we believe we’re working at the behest of our clients and it seems strange to hide information about their business from them. We don’t own or keep AdWords or Analytics data or accounts, so if a client leaves us, those things are theirs to take. In fact, we’ve often worked hand-in-hand with our successors to ensure all data is maintained through the transition.

With so much data, it’s easy to be “honest” about information, but selective in what data to display, but that does a disservice to both the client and the agency. Our clients can access all their accounts as easily as we can, and we plan to keep it that way.

Even today, we’re currently working with a client who has split their portfolio between Forthea and another agency. The client is looking for a long-term partnership and didn’t want to feel rushed to make a decision. Admittedly, the other agency got their reports to our client first and made some pretty bold claims about their results, but, halfway through our very first report meeting, the client began second-guessing the other agency’s data and asked for us to look over their reports. They sent them our way and it was pretty obvious that the other agency was manipulating data in their favor, and playing a little fast and loose with the advertising budgets.

The client is waiting a full year with each agency to make their final decision, so we won’t know for a while who they choose. That being said, we have continually provided them with any and all data they request and a totally transparent view of each campaign being run. We’re feeling pretty confident!

What about Being Transparent with Failures?

We love sharing our successes with clients! The joy they get when we let them know a campaign is performing particularly well or when we’re able to show them a dramatic increase in ranking keywords, we all get the warm fuzzies.

However, this is the real world and with success comes failure.

Admittedly, “failure” is a strong term, but we understand that being transparent means being honest and letting them know when an idea didn’t play out like we expected. You may wonder why we would want to share that sort of thing when a client didn’t even ask about it in the first place. Easy: our clients know their businesses/industries better than we do and can lend their expertise to help us improve.

We definitely feel that the foundation of a strong agency-client relationship is built with trust and transparency on both sides. Client communication skills are a top priority here at Forthea and we think clients should never feel as though their agency is hiding things from them. If you’re on the hunt for an agency with a proven track record of being open and up front with client communication, contact Forthea today!

This is the first part in our new series, A Better Agency, which looks at many of the difficulties that can arise when working with an agency, and what Forthea is doing to overcome it.


Chris Pappas

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