The key to retaining marketing agency clients — online collaboration

Posted by John Glover

23-Oct-2012 16:00:00

If you want to see some eye-opening statistics, download a copy How to turbocharge your marketing agency’s performance.

One of the most significant figures in the report Online collaboration integrationcomes from research by a US software company. This found that 38% of clients have refused to give an agency business for one specific reason — it didn’t have good enough tools for managing the account’s work and communications.

If you’re not sure whether your agency is in that position, here are some telltale signs that your systems aren’t up to scratch.

  • You mix and match tools to manage projects, communications and more — but find there’s significant overlap in the functionality those tools give you. For example, you might use project management software, file sharing software, image sharing tools and more with your clients — meaning they have to grapple with several systems, potentially causing confusion or alienating them.
  • Tools that don’t meet the needs of your projects. If some of your clients’ firewalls reject your attachments, team members aren’t kept informed about all contact with clients, or multiple copies of the same files get circulated, then you need to rethink the way you’re working — with the intention of making it as easy for your clients as possible.

Getting communications systems up to speed is wise, especially as the CMO Council (Chief Marketing Officer Council) has found only 36% of clients are committed to staying with their agencies this year.

But how can you do it?

If you ask the clients, many of them would point to online collaboration systems. In fact, a growing number of businesses insist that agencies provide online collaboration — they refuse to hire the ones that don’t.  

What is online collaboration?
We’ll be looking at the benefits of online collaboration soon, but if you’re not currently familiar with online collaboration software, it’s worth taking a couple of minutes to understand the concept.

In a nutshell, it’s a system that both you and your clients can access from any internet connected device, using an ordinary web browser.

There are many different kinds of collaboration software available, and it’s important to choose one that offers the right features and benefits for the way you work (we’ll be looking at what marketing agencies should be looking for in an upcoming post).

The features on offer might include some or all of the following:

•    Shared files
•    Document Co-authoring
•    Calendars
•    Task lists
•    Polls
•    Surveys
•    Databases
•    Web pages
•    Blogs

As you can see, this range of functionality has great potential — not only to improve the way you communicate with clients and manage their projects, but also to consolidate a range of functions within one software package. And as some online collaboration packages are highly cost-effective (not to mention scalable), adopting them can result in savings from the moment of adoption.

We now know that clients favour the use of online collaboration, have an overview of what it does, and that it can be economical and easy to adopt.

But what does it actually do for you and your clients? And how can you best deploy it?

These are questions we’ll be looking at over the next three blog posts in this series. But to give you a flavor of what’s to come, you’ll be discovering that online collaboration can quickly deliver three major strategic benefits for your marketing agency. They are:

1)    Significantly improving your client services
2)    Honing your business efficiency and profitability
3)    Helping you target new and bigger clients.

If you’d like to learn how online collaboration can help you do these things, check back here to read the upcoming posts in this series, or simply download our guide by clicking this link: How to turbocharge your marketing agency’s performance.

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Topics: collaboration tools