Why is it important to establish open communication and transparency with clients?


people talking Every business strives to partner with a company that exercises open communication and transparency. Anyone who has ever found themselves in a business partnership where open communication is nonexistent is probably left wondering where it all went wrong. Oftentimes, especially in digital marketing, the precedent for transparency needs to be established early on.

In the following blog, we will not only discuss the importance of open communication and transparency with clients, but we will also share the phases during any natural maturation of a partnership when open communication and transparency are most important.

The 5 Phases of Transparency

  1. The Introduction Phase
  2. The Set-Up Phase
  3. The Launch Phase
  4. The Growing Phase
  5. The Maturation Phase

1. The Introduction Phase

Open communication and transparency are required for any successful business partnership to begin. For most partnerships, including digital marketing, open communication, and transparency should be established during the sales process. Both pieces are needed for each party to understand and agree on things like capabilities, budgets, and scope of work. Without transparency, your company will be unable to accurately vet possible partners and digital marketing agencies will be unable to provide the necessary feedback conducive to the beginnings of successful campaigns.

This feedback includes a clear understanding of where your company is currently positioned in the search landscape, and where the digital marketing agency can help you get. While extremely important, it’s admittedly easy for digital agencies to share what isn’t helping your company’s positioning during The Sales Phase. With no skin in the game yet, the responsibility for issues does not fall on them. The surefire way to get a glimpse into if you are entering a partnership rooted in open communication and transparency is if an agency is able to showcase what is already working for your company while sharing ideas on how to build off of that success. The right digital agency should be able to leverage those strengths towards the creation of creative ideas that require their expertise to get your company to the next level.

2. The Set-Up Phase

You’ve agreed to enter a partnership with a company, and you are excited about what lies ahead. Now is the time to cultivate that initial rapport you have built with your new team and make sure that you are all aligned. These might seem like tedious tasks, lacking the immediate return of increased leads, but a successfully executed set-up process not only serves as the foundation for your future digital marketing campaigns, it ideally allows us at Forthea to accurately establish a Return on Investment (ROI) model that will validate our marketing efforts from the start.

This foundation and ROI model often prove invaluable, but there can be initial growing pains. Being transparent during this Set-Up Phase will ensure both sides involved are working towards mitigating those growing pains in an effort to start things off on the right foot. It’s always easier to course correct than to start from the beginning again.

3. The Launch Phase

You’ve started your digital marketing campaigns, the kick-off meeting and audit action items are still fresh on everyone’s minds, and everything is looking up. You’re eager for results, and your digital agency has a laundry list of things they are beginning to work on. Open communication and transparency should be abundant during this phase, while each member of this newly formed partnership is getting acquainted with one another. It is the responsibility of your digital team to establish expectations on when deliverables can be expected, meeting/communication cadence, and when results and successes will be attributed to their efforts.

“Idle hands are the devil’s playthings,” as the saying goes, and now is not the time to sit on ideas. Conversely, this is not the time to spray ideas like buckshot upon campaign launch to see what works. Trust in your digital team, through open communication and transparency, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how in tune your new partners are with your company’s goals and vision of the future. As the first 90 days come to pass, you find yourself approaching our next phase, The Growing Phase, where the fruits of the collective labor begin to bloom.

4. The Growing Phase

We must learn to walk before we can run, and the same can be said for client-agency partnerships that are entering this next phase. The groundwork has been laid during The Set-Up Phase, and now it’s time to assess the early successes attributed to the work done in The Launch Phase. During this phase of a digital marketing partnership, it is important to remember that things like search engine optimization (SEO) implementations take time to show results, and not all strategy implementations will be a success.

A true digital partner is transparent with clients when certain strategies fail, and they are forthcoming with the details behind what caused the minor setback. You and your digital marketing agency should be able to rely on open communication during these times to guide the partnership towards a necessary pivot for future recommendations. While not impossible, if you find yourself not experiencing any hiccups through your first 90 days, there’s probably something your digital marketing team isn’t telling you.

At Forthea, we tackle these areas of improvement head-on. Through sound-reasoning behind all implementations, we are able to clearly set expectations with our clients that allow us to objectively provide updates on our work (regardless of the outcome). This above-board approach has allowed us to reach the next phase with the vast majority of our clients, The Maturation Phase.

5. The Maturation Phase

If you’ve gotten to this phase with your digital marketing agency you understand just how important open communication and transparency are, and your partnership is a testament to that. By now your marketing team has years of data accumulated that validates just how successful a true partnership can, and should, be. With an ample amount of time to tweak and fine-tune your digital presence, your website appears to be completely buttoned-up and your advertising campaigns are firing on all cylinders.

Without the hard work and dedication from both parties in this partnership, none of this would have been possible. However, this is not the time to rest on our laurels. Search engine marketing never sleeps, and neither does our team at Forthea. Whether it’s a new Google algorithm update or a freshly introduced innovation in the paid advertising space, the search landscape is always shifting. Now, more than ever is the time to rally behind the relationship you’ve built. Only through continued open communication and transparency can you and your digital marketing team take your company to new heights.


It's important to remember that no one phase is more important than the other, but all are required to achieve open communication and transparency in a partnership of any kind (including with a digital marketing agency). We hope this blog serves as an opportunity for you to reevaluate the bar that has previously been set for the partnerships you and your company previously/currently have with digital marketing agencies. We wrote this to provide a glimpse into how our client relationships here at Forthea operate, and we’d be more than happy to field any questions that you may have around why open communication and transparency are so integral.

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About the Author Adam

Adam brings 9 years of digital marketing and branding experience to our Forthea team. He leads a team of specialists dedicated to creative problem solving and the maintenance of profitable and long-standing relationships with their clients, overseeing interactive marketing campaigns that include SEO, Paid Media, and Conversion Rate Improvement (CRO). When Adam is not at work, he is either reading a book, listening to a podcast, or spending time with his girlfriend and their black lab, Whitman.

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