But is non-transparency in business practice as big of a problem as the ANA has led you to believe?
How Your Clients REALLY Feel About The Media Transparency Controversy
However, don’t take this lack of communication as a lack of interest. Many of the poll’s respondents expressed concern over multiple areas of media transparency and intended to bring it up with their agency in the future. Are you ready for that conversation?
6 Steps For Improving Transparency
- Separating Planning And Buying From Revenue Generation
Media buying and media management at the agency level have been associated with widespread conflict of interest. While not every media buying agency subscribes to the non-transparent practices outlined in the ANA’s report, the association’s broad claims have nevertheless tarnished the industry. To address this and help clients understand that your agency is not among of the unnamed agencies in the report, you must explore a profitable digital media buying pricing model that is not tied to selling digital media as a percentage of revenue.
- Bring Fluidity To Media Buying
The goals of media planners and media buyers have long been in conflict. Media planners use their expertise to build a plan based on data available to them at that moment. Media buyers spend according to that plan by using the levers available to them, like frequency, which is often to the detriment of the client. This can be avoided by making sure that the media plan is not set in stone but is rather a fluid program that changes as the data dictates, or when the needs of the client change.
- Communication That Goes Both Ways
The strongest client-agency relationships are based on true partnerships where both parties are focused on the same goals and buy-in on the best way to reach those goals. But this type of relationship can’t happen overnight, and certainly won’t happen in a dictatorship. These relationships are built over time, and in environments that foster open communication and idea sharing. As the agency partner, you should not rely on surface statements. Dig deeper to truly understand and address your client’s concerns and apprehensions before minor hesitancies become critical issues.
- Provide Transparency In Reporting
Agencies must continue to demonstrate value by connecting the dots between what they have developed and the impact that those assets have on the bottom line. Because of this, agencies need to place quality reporting as a top priority. At the end of the day, it is all about producing results that align with your client’s goals. Without reporting these results to your clients, how can they be expected to understand the value your agency brings to their organization?
- Be Trustworthy
Clients don’t trust organizations, they trust people. While the legal agreement governing the working relationship may be with the agency, your relationship with your client has a great impact on their overall happiness. The more your clients trusts you, the more they will value your opinion and listen to what you have to say (and what you recommend). To develop this level of trust, follow the advice given in The Trusted Advisor and place a higher value on maintaining and preserving client relationships than the outcome of one or two single transactions.
- Share the Good… And The Bad
Mistakes happen, and when they do, admit to them. The sooner you acknowledge the issue and either solve it or reach a resolution, the sooner you can move forward. Being proactive and communicating mistakes from the moment they occur, including how you are going to resolve it and why it won’t happen again, will foster a new level of trust with the client.