Making a client & agency partnership that works
Having a solid client and agency partnership is a must for any successful digital project. Heather Tacskovics, Associate Program Director at Huge gives a great overview of what to look for in partnership and how important it is that the partnership is mutually beneficial so both parties support each other.
Jose Caballer, The Skool: “I think the questions is one of what is it that it takes to convince a client especially a client that might not be as experience to work with you versus to work with the $10 client and what are you experiences, personally, in being able to close a project, and this is important for both people who are looking to buy digital services and people who are selling them. What are the things that you should look for as a client that need to match up between you and this new marriage and you’ve talked about this Heather.”
Heather Tacskovics, Huge: “Sure, so, I think there’s a couple of things. One is not to get too obsessively focused on just price as a client. That’s one part of the package but it really has to be a match on a numeral of fronts. There should be good chemistry. You are going to be in this project with each other for 6 months - a year - however long it is. You want to know that you actually want to work with these people, you got a compatible culture, work style, that sort of thing - there should be that chemistry there. I think as a client, you should be looking for a partner with a proven track record. So does this person understand the kind of project that it is that they are doing. Now when it comes to working with an agency, I don’t think that means that they necessarily have to have experience with your particular industry. So they don’t have to know exactly that we’ve worked with your top competitor. I’m not saying that’s important. I think what’s important is that if you are looking for a mobile product that this person has some strong mobile pedigree and really understand that industry so making sure that fit is there. Then, I think really looking at the proposal and saying; does this partner really seem to get what it is that we are asking for? They haven’t just found a way to get to the lowest dollar value but have they really broken down our request? Explained back what we are asking to us in a way that really makes sense and resonates with us? Have they just blindly kind of given us a price for what we asked for or have they kind of thought out of the box, maybe suggested other options or even pushed back in some cases if appropriate, ‘Hey we don’t actually think this is the right solution but, you know, we would recommend this’. There’s some critical thinking happening here that makes them a worthwhile partner and then, of course, on the price and the schedule and so on. I think some great points are being raised about agencies that go in with this kind of lost leader. It can be fraught with danger when you work with a partner that you are like, ‘I don’t know how they got to this price, this is really cheap’ you may get the bait and switch where the A team pitched you and the B team does the work because they can’t afford to have the A team on your project. You might find that you thought you were going to have this development team of 10 developers but it’s really 5 working 12 hour days and making tons of mistakes because those sort of things might happen. I think you want to make sure, as a client, that it’s a mutual beneficial partnership because if it is not and one partner feels like they are losing their shirt on, it’s not really sustainable and you’re not going to get the best product out of it. I think all of those things need to ideally align for it to really be a productive good partnership.”