Opinion

Purely transactional client / agency relationships are a ticking time bomb

While there is a place in our day-to-day lives for simple transactions, the agency environment isn't one of them, writes Daylight Agency's Chris Gray.

We make transactions constantly during our day without giving many a second thought. The supermarket, retail purchases, petrol station and the list goes on. Some are so second nature we’re disengaged to a great extent from the process altogether.

It may not be obvious to us, but we run the same risk of simply viewing an agency-client relationship from the same transactional perspective.

Fortunately, we all work in an industry that is dynamic and each brand and organisation we work with provides their own set of unique opportunities and challenges giving us variety in our day.

But once the relationship settles into a rhythm with KPIs and regular WIPs being set, that’s when a powerful mindset must kick in. This mindset is to constantly see our role as an agency as being transformational for the client, not purely transactional.

Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Most agencies could fulfil the same client brief, meet similar targets and kick goals making it a positive transactional experience. But the agencies which go beyond this, and seek to transform their client’s business, are the ones that have elevated the relationship to another level. A higher order, if you like.

This is what sets great agencies apart from just good agencies.

And this philosophy really pays dividends when it comes to new business.

For example, a prospect who is meeting several agencies will come away knowing that each one could meet the transactional criteria and deliver their objectives. But while the prospect might not be able to put their finger on it at the time, the most impressive agency will be the one who has shown the eagerness to transform their business. This means presenting opportunities the client may not have considered and leading them on a different path that has better outcomes in the long term.

We must never shy away from any opportunity to transform a relationship, especially that of our clients. It’s what shows added value and the level of engagement a team is willing to make. It raises the standard of our profession.

On the flip side, the job satisfaction staff receive from being in a transformative relationship and knowing they are making a difference, as opposed to just transacting day in and day out, should be enough to motivate an agency to foster this mindset among staff.

An agency that has a team approaching each day with a transformational attitude is in a different league altogether. The work environment is better, the conversations are exciting, people feel valued and morale is higher.

While there is a place in our day-to-day lives for simple transactions, the agency environment isn’t one of them.

Chris Gray is managing director of Daylight Agency.

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