Every so often, we get the question, “Why do I have to pay for client management,” or “Can’t the team working on the project manage themselves?” And while it sounds like a good idea to save money/resources, this typically turns into costly dysfunction between the client and agency, resulting in slower ROI.
Why is Client Management Important for Marketing Strategies?
Here’s an example of what it looks like when your digital marketing agency is not your trusted partner:
There’s a client, let’s call them, Green Bay Packing Co., and they’ve engaged our team to work on a Content Marketing Strategy and various SEO services. While our digital marketing strategist is working through their strategy, our SEO strategist is performing the onsite SEO audit, and your internal team member is making unchecked changes to the website.
Everyone involved isn’t communicating as a real partner. Instead, they’re focusing on their own deliverables, they don’t stop to collaborate and share feedback with each other. They overlap work, waste time, make mistakes, and ultimately, end up with lackluster results.
With the team not aligning on website updates, our SEO strategist is spending 20+ hours digging into new issues instead of working on the backlink analysis that was scoped for the month. And your team is scrambling to fix other items, when there might be a better process to avoid unnecessary work. This isn’t in the best interest of the client or agency, but there’s nobody responsible for controlling scope for the account.
The story could go on, but now you see my point.
For this reason, the Vertical Measures team worked very hard on their own internal processes to avoid such scenarios. We ensure there’s a single point of contact to oversee high-level strategy and all deliverables that are planned month-by-month… as a team.
How Does Vertical Measures Define Client Management?
We like to think of our client management team (account managers and project managers), as partners to our clients. Their combined role is to prioritize, design, and direct execution on deliverables within our statement of work, as well as manage team collaboration both internal and external.
They’re also tasked with ensuring deliverables are up to quality standards, communicated in a timely-manner and aligned with your business goals or KPIs. The client management team is the direct point of contact for any project correspondence, strategic and tactical planning, project schedules, measurement and deliverable needs. In short, they maintain the client relationship, oversee the high-level strategy, and are responsible for directing execution.
How Will Client Management Contribute to My ROI?
1. Offers Strategic Leadership and Execution
In football, you have the head coach who calls the plays, and the quarterback who then acts as “the coach on the field” to lead the team and execute on the field. Think of account managers and project managers this way.
The account manager acts as the head coach. To craft a winning strategy, they use all the information they know from you, the client, and whatever opportunities they believe will make the biggest impact on your KPIs. It’s then up to the project manager (quarterback) to direct the execution of the strategy with the internal subject matter experts who will be completing the work.
2. Manages Expectations Both Internally and Externally
The account manager and project manager are responsible for managing expectations, but in different ways. The account manager sets expectations in terms of overall strategy:
- Plans the services and deliverables the team will be working on
- Sets KPIs that align with your business goals
- Identifies opportunities to grow your digital footprint
The project manager sets expectations that relate directly to the project timeline and scope. He/she communicates what’s needed directly to the subject matter experts, and then communicates the timeline to you.
3. Increases Collaboration and Communication
As mentioned in the example above, it’s hard to collaborate when you don’t have a person responsible for encouraging it. The account manager finds opportunities to cross-collaborate on future opportunities or recommendations for the client. They also try to communicate or stay informed on what your other agency partners are doing, where applicable, to encourage collaboration across all of your marketing services.
The project manager encourages cross-collaboration amongst the internal team on current deliverables/tasks resulting in increased quality and recommendations. Better collaboration, therefore, contributes to your overall digital marketing success.
Not only does the communication increase internally, but within your client/agency relationship. The account manager and project manager don’t execute on the scoped work, so they have more time to respond quickly to your emails, questions, requests, etc.
Of course, there will be times when they need to ask the subject matter expert and get back to you, but this allows the internal team of subject matter experts to focus on executing the work.
4. Acts Like an Extension of Your Marketing Team
Account managers think strategically, but they’re also able to anticipate your needs before you’re even aware of them and offer solutions. The project managers keep the team organized, and make sure all tasks are on-track. Collectively, this team is responsible for ensuring deliverables meet your quality standards, so you don’t have to. In essence, they’re here to make your job easier – and damn good at it.
Are you still asking yourself why you may need a client management team to oversee your digital marketing campaigns? I hope not. These are only 4 areas where a client management team can bring value to your digital marketing success, but there is an abundance of other ways the account manager and project manager can bring value to your campaigns. Client management boils down to the partnership, and making sure the team is building and maintaining successful relationships with you.
What to Know Before Engaging with a Digital Marketing Agency
There’s a lot to consider before investing time, money and resources into a marketing agency that, at least for now, feels more like an additional obstacle to your goals, rather than a trusted partner. We’ve compiled a list of the most important questions to ask yourself before engaging with an agency.