Recently I wrote about digital marketing agency strategy & planning – 5 pillars or behaviors top performers should exhibit.
Today, I want to look at account service & management for marketing / advertising agencies.
From an agency perspective, client management is at best a continually perplexing challenge. For agency owners and executives – the joy of growing relationships is often clouded by financial pressure.
In fact, I would readily wager that most pain & suffering in any given agency comes mismatched expectations with clients. More specifically, a selective application of the Pareto Principle (or 80/20) rule tells us 80% of our headaches at a digital marketing agency come from 20% of the clients.
There’s doubtless plenty of discussion to be had managing expectations, or about revenue diversification. But let’s look at a couple of frameworks A) financial and B) operational that can help simplify client service.
First- are you managing your client portfolio by profitability and touch?
There are two easy squares in the field above: top left and bottom right.
First, if you have a high touch, low profitability client – you can either A) raise retainer rates/prices, or B) fire them. You can try to reset expectations, but many high touch clients that cause pain do not respond well to this. One way you can automatically bake this logic in is by testing a recurring percentage increase to your retainer with these and/or other client types.
Second, if you have a low touch, high profitability client – keep and protect them! They’re rare birds.
Generally, it’s desirable to have high profitability clients over low- yet strangely for both of the quadrants above (L/L, H/H) a potential solve is automation. (With different purposes.)
Low touch, low profitability clients aren’t inherently bad – there are a lot of niche, perhaps even respectable agencies built on these kinds of clients. High touch, high profitability clients are only going to be sustainable if you become the likes of a big box agency.
Either way, you need to A) scale your capabilities to get more similar low touch clients (L/L), or find ways to get your time back against high touch clients (H/H). Especially so you can excel at the 5 pillars of agency strategy!
One small step forward you can take in automation is prioritizing work to become proactive, vs. blindly following retainers & SOWs until your teeth fall out from stress-clenching.
If you can automate portfolio dashboards of your clients – you can always have a real-time picture of what needs to happen in your client’s businesses. (Ex: a digital / performance marketing engagement that could include organic or paid media is shown below.)
Via Data Studio, Power BI, Tableau, etc., you can avoid overplaying winning accounts and quickly servicing trouble accounts before damage becomes significant.
This kind of system can start with high-level traffic and engagement figures. However, this method also holds promise for you to automate wins and insights for clients, drilling down to page and keyword insights that could be automated or outsourced so you can proactively send victories to clients, to maintain healthy temperature and momentum in your engagement.
One other way you try to reduce service burdens is to move to a JIRA-style ticketing system with your clients for requests – and personal interaction comes from you, on your terms.
I’m sure this won’t make any Pulitzer nomination roundups (rightly so), but this has been enjoyable to right, as I explore more ideas about excellence in marketing and account service.