In this blog, we hear from Senior Account Manager at Pauley Creative, Kate Prater.
Having been a Pauley Creative client for 5 years, and now working within the agency herself, Kate has a well-rounded perspective on construction marketing. Since joining Pauley Creative, she has grown an appreciation for what happens behind the scenes.
Kate reflects on how to get the best out of your agency from a client perspective, taking into consideration what she now knows, while also appreciating how an open and collaborative client mindset can strengthen quality and results.
Kate: “As the Head of Marketing at Prater (a specialist building envelope contractor ) for nearly 30 years, I have worked with a number of marketing agencies.
Now having seen both in-house marketing and agency life, here are a few things I wish I had known, and done, in my time as a client.”
1. Have clear objectives for your sales & marketing
Approach your agency with a set of objectives. Coming prepared with this information means from the first meeting you can define targets and expectations.
If you are unsure of what you want to achieve, be honest about it and allow your agency to help. Define what a positive outcome looks like and the process of working together to achieve these goals will be more efficient.
A collaborative approach makes things easier for both parties. Planning briefs, targets, and production work together ensures both sides have a clear understanding of how to work towards a shared goal.
This requires some transparency on the current performance of your construction website and marketing campaigns. However, the pay off of sharing this information is worth the honest conversation.”
It is never too soon to reach out to an agency. In fact, involving an agency in your planning process early can be very beneficial. They can provide fresh ideas, perspectives, and think about long-term strategies.
“At Pauley Creative we actively encourage having conversations about budgets as early as possible. We always try to achieve the most impactful results we can with the agreed budget. Understanding the cost boundaries will impact what we recommend.
Being totally honest about the budget available will benefit everyone. It means your agency can be more helpful in the planning stages, and they are better informed to make recommendations and prioritise them.”
- Product and service training
- Thorough background information on your company
- Details on what makes your company different and exciting
- Your sales model
- The areas of your business you want to grow
“I have noticed that by nature, agencies are great time keepers. At Pauley Creative we keep ‘to the minute’ time sheets, so it is a highly organised environment.
A challenge we sometimes face is project delays due to waiting for client input. For example, signing off work, providing feedback, or giving enough detail for a project to start.”
To avoid this, dedicate someone within your organisation as a touch point for your agency to make sure processes continue to flow, and projects are finalised in the most efficient way possible.
4. Account management takes time
“Something I didn’t realise as a client is the sheer volume of time account managers spend on managing their accounts.
By this I mean time spent on general admin tasks, correspondence with customers, project management, briefing and liaising with production and preparing for meetings.”
It isn’t a part of the job you see at a surface level, or work agencies really bill properly for. A lot of care and effort is put into this part of the job, and when actually working agency-side yourself it is apparent how much ‘extra’ goes into every client.
It is necessary to stay organised and ensure we deliver a quality service. However, it is appreciated and eases pressure when clients have an understanding of the time we dedicate to it.
5. Give your agency enough production time to produce quality marketing outputs
When you haven’t produced a website, or created a whitepaper yourself, it is difficult to understand how long it will take to create.
Most of our time and effort goes into the strategy, planning, and internal briefing to make sure the project delivery is right. This, in addition to physical production work is a massive team effort, requiring a blend of skill sets.
Before a project is finally ready for a customer, it will go through a minimum of 2 or 3 internal iterations.
“I admit I was previously unaware of how much time certain projects require. Agencies work on revisions, tests, engage in group discussions, and perform construction marketing research. This ensures every detail hits the brief and serves the intended purpose.”
6. Allow for some flexibility when it comes to delivery deadlines
When your agency provides you with a timeline for project work, try to be flexible and listen to the recommendation on how much time a project needs.
- Allows better resource planning
- Ensure decisions are considered and thought through
- See that outputs are produced to a standard everyone is happy with
- Reduces unnecessary pressure and stress
- Ensure activity follows a holistic and thorough approach
7. Harness the use of digital
In comparison to traditional marketing, digital allows you to track and monitor performance. A key benefit of this is you can plan and stretch your budget more effectively. Data doesn’t lie, and with it you get a clear indication of what is and isn’t working, which in turn informs where you should focus your efforts”
A strong website is a huge contributor to your pipeline, with SEO directly impacting your sales. If you are not currently making the most of the opportunities digital has to offer, the help of a digital marketing agency will transform your company’s potential.
- PR and Media relations
- Content marketing
- Research for construction
- Paid media
- Email marketing & automation
- Search engine optimisation
- Paid media
- Social media
“Allow your agency to plan long-term, rather than short-term reactive campaigns. In my experience short term campaigns tended to be the elements that took the most time and didn’t always contribute as much value.
In hindsight, I wished I had adopted this type of approach as a client more often.”
9. Be open to being challenged
There is a significant amount of knowledge available within agencies. Working across multiple accounts within the same industry gives construction specific agencies a birds eye view of industry trends, changes, and opportunities that clients may not have exposure to.
“I would encourage clients to tap into this resource and use the experience available to them. Let your agency challenge you. From both a construction industry perspective, and a digital marketing perspective.
Be open to new ways of working and testing, it will push you to think harder and I believe produces a better outcome. At Pauley Creative, while we report on the good, we also share the bad and assess how to move forward.”
Learning what could be more successful in the future requires looking back at what hasn’t worked previously. Allow your agency to challenge you and the status quo of working to provide useful feedback and direction.
10. Trust your agency
“Everyone at the agency truly immerses themselves into the account they are working with. What’s clear from my short time here is that we care about our client’s success as much as the clients themselves.”