Viewpoint: Joe Clift, chief marketing officer at CFA

Lack of alignment around brand or campaign objectives and insufficient engagement at the top end of the client organisation are some of the reasons that client-agency relationships don’t go well. Healthy client agency relationships have to be based on clarity, transparency and trust. The third happens only if the other two are in place.

Clarity: Clients will only get the best out of agencies if they are clear in what they want using the best possible briefs, ensuring appropriate time is given and the right people are in the room. From a client perspective, what you are trying to achieve has to be clearly articulated for the agency to have any chance of getting it right and avoiding costly misses.

Transparency: You need to be open, honest and transparent about what you are trying to achieve as a business, and particularly about the political landscape within your business client side. For example, it doesn’t help the agency if it doesn’t know that the chief financial officer is on the marketing director’s case about justifying marketing spend. The agency could build that into the metrics they provide around a campaign, if it knew.

Trust: The above two aspects can then begin to build trust and that’s where the relationships get good and can get better.

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