There are many reasons to have routinely scheduled status meetings with your marketing agency, this list of 6 is simply a starting point.
Early in my career I was part of the account team servicing my agency’s largest client. Though I was on the lowest rung of the account service ladder with the title of Account Coordinator, I still was involved in all of the meetings – and there were a lot. Having been fresh from school my frame of reference was plenty of classes, but in my work life the meeting held the highest priority. I soon understood why meetings were so integral to the success of good marketing.
The agency I was working for had dozens of concurrent projects with this one client and a lot of manpower went into the creation of creative works. Keeping all the moving parts moving was a primary task of the account service team. As such, my first week on the job I participated in the weekly status meeting the agency had with this client. Each Friday morning the three members of the client team (two Segment Marketing Managers and the overall Marketing Communications Manager) would come to the agency at 9:00 AM and our five member account service team (Account Manager and Account Coordinator for each segment and an overall Account Supervisor) would meet over breakfast. Breakfast lasted an hour and a half and provided the forum for us all to go over the active projects, debate the merits or flaws of particular items, and plan for future projects. These routine, “standing status meetings” fostered a really good working relationship between us all and provided a nice wrap up to the week. I always looked forward to them, even when there were difficult or contentious topics to discuss. The lessons I learned about the benefits of such meetings I’ve kept with me in my career since those early days when I was so green; I remember back fondly upon that time in my life when I got to eat a fancy breakfast each Friday as part of my job. Life truly was grand, and only got better.
If you don’t yet have a standing appointment on your calendar to meet with your marketing agency each week, consider the following six reasons why you should put such an appointment on your calendars now.
1. You Get Guaranteed Face Time. Granted, in this day and age you very well might not be working with a marketing agency that’s local to you and that’s okay. But a Google Hangout, Skype, Webex, or pick your favorite video conference format will give you some dedicated time to connect. Solid marketing is born out of strong relationships where both the clients and agencies understand each other. Taking an hour each week to connect simply to talk not about one specific project, but all of your marketing in a holistic fashion, goes a long way to strengthening your relationship. Trust me, start having these meetings and spend time together, your job will be easier and more enjoyable as a result.
2. Projects Don’t “Fall Through The Cracks”. Everyone has their own way of keeping track of what’s going on with marketing projects and even if you and your agency share a project management system, a routine meeting gives you that time for a “pulse check”. The thing you mentioned needing to tackle next month, well you should be able to talk about it at your status meeting each week until next month arrives when you can tackle it. Otherwise, it may simply get listed as “pending”or “inactive” and in my experience that just means it eventually goes away. Running down your list each week together keeps all of your projects top of mind.
3. You’re Never More Than A Week Out Of Touch. I’m often working on campaigns or projects with my clients that span months. Sometimes there are stretches when the agency is simply cranking on the work and there’s no input from the client needed. These voids of contact with the project are filled during weekly status meetings. Even if it’s a simple update from your account manager that tells you the creative team is on track, it keeps you in the loop.
4. You Have a Default Due Date. I imagine in the Mad Men era things must have been simpler; there were only three TV networks after all. But now in our society of surplus with social media, the internet, cable and everything else, I know prioritizing everything and making sure you deliver input or feedback to your agency in a timely manner can at times be challenging. But, with a weekly status meeting, you have this one time each week when you have to be ready. This is true for your agency too, they’ll be sure to have the project estimate, revised layout, concepts or whatever for the meeting. You’ll get in the habit of making the status meeting very productive because you’ll be handing off comments, approving concepts and estimates and your agency will leave with a list of things to do.
5. Your Agency Can’t Avoid “Facing The Music”. Nobody likes it when things go wrong, but it happens. If this happens, it definitely should be handled with an in-person meeting. This goes back to fostering a good working relationship. When your agency is taking risks to help set your marketing apart from the crowd, in all honesty it doesn’t always work out. When things get side tracked, your weekly status meeting will give your agency the opportunity to talk through whatever happened and get things going in the right direction again. You’ll be armed with whatever information you may need to deliver the bad news to your boss and hopefully all can be right with the world again soon.
6. You Have Good Cost Accounting and Visibility. With projects that last for many weeks or months, you have a forum to talk with your agency about expenses as you go. If something has changed during the course of the project that might have your agency 60% complete but 80% through the budget, you can know this each week and a change order shouldn’t come as a surprise. Estimates and billing of course are topics you should be discussing with your agency frequently as open communication about money is one of the foundations of a solid working relationship.
Plus, everyone needs to eat and I’m sure your agency would be willing to buy breakfast or lunch each week. Sharing a meal while discussing work is an enjoyable time. Resolve to do more of this. Ask your agency to start having weekly status meetings if you don’t already do them, they are very beneficial.