Although both an agency and its client company are focusing on the same work, they’re looking at it from different angles. The relationship can be fraught with challenges, no matter how professional both sides are, and how much they like each other, simply because the viewpoints can be so different.
At Palio, one of our main goals is to overcome that difference at all times. We work hard never to let our clients’ view slip out of our site. It’s our job to understand and anticipate their needs, while maintaining the flexibility to adjust for the unforeseen obstacles in the relationship. It’s important to consider this situation through our customer’s eyes.
One of the most important of these is time. A sense of time is important in all business, but, it can be seen differently. And, therefore it is always worthwhile to remind yourself how things look from the other side.
From an agency perspective, your clients’ time is paramount. You don’t always know what they’re up against: who’s on the other side of their desk; what they’re handling outside of your particular work stream; what’s going on in their lives. There are usually market needs dictating the timing of your program. They have a boss to answer to, and she will have bosses of her own. Deadlines are usually a result of field force plan-of-action cycles, which don’t necessarily line up with the ever-changing needs of the brand.
However, you need to balance this respect for your clients’ time with a respect for your staff’s time. “Sweatshops” burn their employees out, and pay for it with lower experience levels and high turnover. It’s possible to meet client needs and still have reasonable expectations from your people – and they’ll repay you with longevity, loyalty and creativity.
Remember, most clients appreciate the time that their requests require of the agency. Most clients are not fiendishly dreaming up ways to move around deadlines and cause your agency the havoc of late night and weekend work — deadlines are as much a moving target for them as they are for the agency. You’ll work like crazy to get something done, only to have it pulled or cancelled. You’ll plan carefully against a long-term deadline, only to be thrown into crisis mode when it’s needed weeks ahead of schedule. These are facts of life. Coming to accept that and anticipate it, rather than greet it as a frustrating surprise, goes a long way toward keeping your sanity and your balance — whether you find yourself “agency” or “client.”
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.