Agencies, clients and overcoming a few of the everyday challenges between them

July 22, 2014 Kelsey Uebelhor

ChallengeIt’s probably safe to say that an agency’s relationship with its clients is critically important, and also one of the hardest business relationships to maintain.

Greater industry and market trends in play today undoubtedly play a role; new technologies and skill sets to learn, less-experienced and younger staff doing the work, and decisions made by procurement rather than the client marketing staff. And with marketing organizations being held accountable for business results, agencies are really feeling the heat.

It’s no wonder that communication between agencies and their clients can be emotionally charged, patience in short supply, and loyalty at an all-time low.

While agencies are doing their best to adapt to these larger industry and market trends, there are a few challenges that agency marketing project managers could exert control over immediately.

We hear routinely from agency clients that day-to-day dealings with clients improved greatly once they began using ProofHQ. Because online proofing makes managing marketing projects much easier and less time consuming, they are free to spend time on activities that strengthen the relationship with their clients, providing a much higher quality deliverable and a more pleasant experience.

Here’s a short list of common issues that agencies face in everyday dealing with clients and how online proofing has made a difference:

Significantly cut the mistakes

You check and double-check deliverables before releasing to clients because in today’s world of tenuous agency relationships, you can’t risk even one mis-step. But with manual processes, and systems that “don’t talk”, errors are bound to happen.

When online proofing replaces the manual approval processes, email and spreadsheets, the environment that encourages mistakes goes away too. Side-by-side versions for comparison, the ability to leave very precise feedback with the rich commenting/markup tools and comment threads in one central place for everyone to see really make a difference.

You can hit that “send” button and deliver to the client with a lot more confidence.

Last minute client requests but you still have to deliver on time

Late changes and requests will never go away, but you can mitigate the damage by being prepared with a highly efficient review and approval tool. We’ve heard agency after agency say that it was iterating those eleventh hour approvals quickly that allowed them to keep pace with client changes and still make the deadline.

With a cloud-based system, the whole review team can login and get the job done no matter where they’re located. And no wasted time dealing with large art files getting blocked by email servers.

Under the gun, every moment is precious, and the tools you use must be to perform.

Clients never get back to you with feedback

This is a tough one, because it’s often impossible to stay on schedule without client feedback, but pestering them for it can be a delicate situation.

Letting the system “remind” a client they’re up to bat next is a good solution. ProofHQ has brightly colored status blocks in the Dashboard that are hard to ignore. Along with email reminders, it’s an easy way to let clients know they have a deadline looming.

Plus, the entire review team can see which member is, ahem, the bottleneck. Let the system be “the bad guy”.

Preserving your creativity so you can deliver your best at all times

Most of us need blocks of uninterrupted time to allow the creativity bubble up to the surface. But that’s just a pipedream for most marketers.

The solution is to let computers do as much of the repetitive, mundane stuff as possible so we’re freed up to do the creative activities we’re so good at.

Studies prove that the use of an online proofing tool can complete marketing projects 56% faster and with a 59% reduction in management effort. That’s almost 2 out of every 3 project days that can be given back to the creative process.

Emailing huge art files to non tech-savvy clients can be a problem

Technical difficulties that cause a client to lose time out of their busy day are annoying, frustrating and embarrassing. Clients expect their agency partners to use the latest and most efficient tools, not clog their inbox or crash their email server with huge art files.

Viewing proofs on the ProofHQ Viewer is quick and easy – all clients need is access to a web browser. Our agency customers regularly tell us that their clients just instinctively “get it”, no matter what their level of technical knowledge.

Can’t keep track of all the client proofs and artwork – tons of changes only make it worse

It’s easy to lose control when you’re juggling a high volume of proofs and multiple revisions. Job bags full of physical proofs, manual checklists and loads of back and forth email threads become almost impossible to manage.

Having the proof in one central location means everyone can access it, all the feedback is in one place and there’s a record of the activity. Proofs can be organized in folders and subfolders, or by client, product or project – whatever works best for your workflow.

It’s a quick fix

So while the marketing service industry tackles the longer-term, broader issues that face them, every marketing project manager has at their fingertips a way to positively affect the relationship with their clients today. Online proofing is readily available, easy-to-learn and can instantly make day-to-day interactions with clients easier, more professional and much more enjoyable.

And that’s worth everything.

 

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