An Open Letter to a Marketing Director from an Agency

To whichever marketing director, CMO, or other marketing head honcho it may concern,

It’s us, your friendly neighborhood marketing agency. We know, we haven’t always gotten along, but remember: we’re on the same team! We’re both very good at sniffing out insights and turning them into action, and we’re both proud of it, which is why we have a history of butting heads sometimes. 

But it doesn’t have to be like that — we’re all going for the same thing, and that’s the success of your company. To that end, we decided to write this letter with some ideas for how we can best get along going forward.

Communication Style

First things first: we’re going to have to talk to each other a lot, so it’ll help if we know how to do that. That’s going to be different for every company, every client, and every account, so we can’t make assumptions about the best way to handle our communication practices.

For example, some clients want to get constant updates, while some would rather have a recap at the end of the month or the end of the quarter. Some want to have a phone conversation about how everything is going, but some just want to read it in an email. Before we dig too deep into strategy and execution, we should settle on a way to share our goals, ideas, and progress.

We’re On Your Team

Yes, you’re hiring us to do a job for you, but we’re so much more than just a content farm for hire. We’ve got important insights, from the granular knowledge of which channels and ads are working to the broad strategies and direction for your company over the next few years.

That means we want a seat at the table for big decisions. If you think something we’re doing isn’t working and you want to change direction, don’t just spring it on us! Let’s sit down, have a meeting, discuss whether our goals are aligned with your company’s goals, and figure out the best way to approach our next steps.

Show Us What Success Looks Like

It’s one thing to pick a goal, like increased web engagement, more qualified leads coming down the pipeline, or simply increased sales. It’s another to actually put numbers on those goals.

The thing is, you’re likely to have many goals, and it’s not realistic to focus on all of them at once. You might want to build awareness of your new product, but also increase your percentage of subscription renewals, and it’s unlikely that one campaign can accomplish both ends.

That’s why we need to know what success looks like to you. We’ll help you put numbers to your objectives — once we hit 70 percent renewal, we can focus on awareness of the new product, for example — and thereby give both you and ourselves a clearer direction of which priorities to address first.

Communicate Courageously

If we’re doing something wrong, we absolutely want to hear about it. We’re going to be doing a lot of work that will go out in the world with your name on it, and you deserve to have a final say in what that content looks like. If a blog post feels like the wrong tone or a website just doesn’t feel right, let us know!

Just one thing: make sure the feedback is constructive. We want to improve, we really do, but we can’t do that if you’re holding back or being intentionally vague to avoid ruffling any feathers. Be clear, assertive, and direct with the feedback you bring to the table, and we’ll create the best content and strategy your brand has ever seen.

Another aspect of courageous communication is sharing information with us — the more the better! If your sales teams have insight into which customers are hardest to convert, let us know and we can work on a new strategy for them. If your service teams are hearing a lot of the same complaints, we can set up better onboarding documentation to make sure people learn to use your product quickly and easily.

There are no bad ideas here — anything you share with us might be useful, so share it all! If it doesn’t do us any good, then no harm done. But there might be a nugget of brilliance in there that we can use to turn a good campaign into a great one.

Trust Us

This is the big one. No working relationship is going to work if neither side trusts that the other is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Luckily, we both have our areas of expertise. You’re an expert in your business. You know the inner workings of your operations, your strengths and shortcomings, and the state of the industry at large.

We, on the other hand, are expert marketers. We know how to craft the most compelling content, design blazing-fast, high-tech websites, create engaging social media accounts, and chase the latest trends and rising channels.

That’s what makes the relationship between a marketing director and an agency so powerful.

Together, we can attack any problem from multiple angles and come up with insights and strategies that neither side would have figured out on their own. When marketers and marketing directors come together, we’re unstoppable.

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