If you ask any client whether or not they would like their agency account managers to be "proactive" they will probably say "of course!". But, what would each party understand by the word "proactive" and how vital is it to ensure you and your client are on the same (dictionary) page?
Vocabulary.com defines being proactive as:
"You make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen to you."
When this definition is considered in an agency/client context, it could apply to things such as:
Does your client truly like their agency to be proactive? Well, yes…and no. A lot has to do with the agenda that lies behind the proactivity.
Clients like to be kept abreast of the latest and greatest industry information. Freely sharing knowledge without requiring payment in return is a great way of forging closer relationships.
Your client likes to know that you care about her business, and that you spend time thinking about her marketing needs beyond the remit of your current campaign.
What a client does not like is when you treat her as if there's a dollar sign strapped to her forehead. She will soon be able to tell if you present an idea, or campaign concept, or shiny new technology, which does not relate to her business needs or goals, or if she feels like you are deliberately trying to drive more sales.
To ensure that time you spend on developing proactive ideas will be worth the effort, try answering the following questions:
Clients commission (and pay) agencies for their ideas. Presenting well-timed and relevant ideas that your clients do not expect, or creating moments when your proactivity exceeds your client's expectations, are golden in the agency/client relationship.
If you have a deep understanding of your client's business then you should be savvy enough to present only those ideas that you know will be well-received. This will save you a whole lot of time, effort and valuable credibility.
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Research activities are typically initiated and conducted by your client, as part of their marketing remit. However, there is another type of research that is advertising-specific and is more likely to be initiated (or at least recommended) by your agency rather than by your client. The two main areas of research that an agency would get involved with are ‘pre-testing’ and ‘post-testing’.
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