4 Things for an effective Agency-Client Relationship

Author Dan Lifton 4 min read time

Thinking about taking on an agency but not sure about how to gauge if they are right for you? Have an agency but it doesn’t feel quite right? Let’s be honest business can be weird. It can be a bit like speed dating where you have to make snap decisions on who you work with based on a relatively small amount of interactions. Or it can be like your first relationship where you don’t really know what a good Agency-Client relationship is supposed to look like.

When working with clients or an agency, the most critical element is creating a partnership. When both parties are 100% aligned with what you are trying to achieve this is the foundation of a solid partnership and the best pathway to success.

So, with this in mind, how should you approach working with clients or an agency?

Let us break it down for you with our 4 most important elements to consider when taking on an agency (or considering the current agency you are working with).

1. Is it the right fit (goes both ways)?

Much like in dating your gut is a powerful tool and usually doesn’t let you down.

The first thing to consider takes you right back to the initial conversations and pitch process. As you go through the initial discussions, you’ll understand pretty quickly whether the chemistry is right and whether you believe you are a good cultural fit.

This is the same for the pitch process, if you come out of that session (as the agency pitching or the client) excited to work together and get the “feeling”, this again is a good barometer that the “can we work together” test has been passed.

2. Understanding the client’s goals

The key to a strong Agency-Client relationship is to make sure there is no disconnect between what has been sold in the pitch process vs. the strategy during the onboarding process.

The onboarding process is the perfect time to make sure all expectations and business objectives are all agreed upon and aligned. If there is any doubt on any of this, this stage of the relationship is where you can all agree and get on the same page, ahead of the campaign launched.

The easiest way to do this is just to get on a call and find this out.

We have a two-stage process where we will send an initial on-boarding survey followed by a kick off call. This gives both sides the chance to discuss the KPIs way ahead of time.

3. Build trust, then challenge each other

The key to a strong relationship is trust in any walk of life. But how do you build this over time with a client? As an agency, we see this as:

  • Driving the strategy, not waiting for instructions from the client.
  • Proving your expertise with results and clear communication.
  • Don’t shy away from difficult conversations (approach negative performance head on).

Once you have established trust it is key to be able to constructively challenge each other. Always look to question each other, as this fosters better relationships and better ideas in the long term.

4. Show that you care

If you are an agency, it’s important to remember that a client is potentially taking a performance risk by hiring you. From our experience, clients want to know that you will be there, fighting their corner through the good and the bad times.

What’s most important is to show the client that you really care about their business. This sounds so simple but the fundamental basics really will get you 95% of the way there. For us, this includes:

  • Being responsive to emails – 24 hours or less
  • You never want a client chasing you for something
  • Be proactive in your approach to improving performance

We cover Agency-Client relationship and much more in our podcast where I discuss how we work with our clients to set us up for success and a long-term relationships. Take a listen to find out more. Available on SpotifyApple Podcasts and Youtube.

To find out if we are the right Agency for you, contact us today.


Dan has been working in Paid Media for 5+ years, and has extensive experience in managing strategies and campaigns both in-house and agency side, meaning he knows the best of both worlds.