A guide to: Setting goals and expectations when working with an agency
Here are our top considerations to set you up for success.
Setting goals and expectations are key to a healthy client-agency relationship, enabling you to align on the same vision for individual projects and partnerships alike. Here are our top considerations to set you up for success.
The first date
Roles & responsibilities
The best client-relationships are those where there is mutual understanding of one-another’s capabilities. Knowing where yours end and your agency’s begin will facilitate a seamless workflow and ensure a symbiotic relationship. To this end, defining roles and responsibilities early on is key to tempering expectations; allowing your agency to plug skill and knowledge gaps in a way which delivers you the best value and results.
You might like to use something like a ‘RACI’ matrix to map out who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed throughout a project to help keep everything working smoothly.
Encouraging open and honest communication sets the tone for a healthy client-agency relationship. Transparency about aspirations and apprehensions allows for collaborative problem-solving and establishes trust. When both parties share information candidly, it paves the way for goal and expectation setting as well as fostering an environment that enables the most creative solutions.
At the end of the day, both you and your agency want to deliver brilliant work. Developing a shared strategic vision of what you want to achieve is the cornerstone of a successful client-agency relationship. By aligning your long-term vision, you can work with your agency towards the same end.
This shared vision keeps both teams aligned, no matter the context, team member or project, and helps you make informed decisions along the way. Discussing potential long-term implications and opportunities resulting from a project's success can help you and your agency prepare for what lies ahead.
The honeymoon phase
Goals & objectives
Everything’s great, and you and your agency are ‘official’ - it’s time to look to the future. What does success look like for you both? The answer lies in the goals and objectives you define early on. Establishing clear and measurable metrics off the back of your goals and objectives is essential to not only evaluate your project's outcomes, but keep everyone working in the same direction. Much like your strategic vision, but now we’re getting down to brass tacks.
Whether it's an improvement in conversion rate, increased organic traffic, or an optimised user experience; defining specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals helps track progress and celebrate successes. You might also be interested in OKRs - whatever floats your boat.
Focussing on what matters
Goals and objectives are great, but we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. Setting priorities is crucial for efficient resource allocation and timely delivery which both have directly correspond with either party’s expectations. Collaboratively identifying and ranking tasks based on their impact and effort enables your agency to make informed decisions through the process and deliver on your goals and objectives without getting sidetracked by less critical matters.
‘Scope’ is a scary word, especially when paired with ‘creep’, but it shouldn’t be! Clearly defining and being realistic about what is achievable within budget is crucial to manage expectations effectively. This includes discussing budget constraints, deadlines, and anything else that may impact the project's progress. That’s not to say that you can’t plan your project in a way that leaves the door open for additional scope in future phases - client-agency relationships are all about growth and new opportunities!
Down the road(map)
Looking at the big picture
Having a comprehensive view of the project timeline is crucial for both you and your agency. Mapping the entire process (within reason… we know things can change!), from the project's inception to its conclusion, allows for better planning and management of your project team’s time.
Providing visibility of and access to a project plan, which includes milestones and deliverables, then ensures that everyone involved is on the same page. This helps manage expectations and facilitates smooth progress towards your goals throughout the project.
Keep track of decisions & actions
Keeping a record of decisions and actions ensures that both you and your agency are aware of what is needed from one another. Maintaining a log of this information serves as a reference point which helps you stay on track and hold one another accountable.
You don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of tried-and-tested tools, frameworks and processes that countless teams have used to facilitate goal and expectation setting. From project management softwares and spreadsheets to industry-standard metrics and processes, streamlined communication and collaboration is the ultimate aim. That said, no matter how or what you use to get there, as long as you and your agency are on a smooth and enjoyable journey that suits both parties, you will keep moving forward towards success.
Put simply, a successful client-agency partnership hinges on collaboration. Setting clear goals and expectations from the outset are simply an effective means to facilitate a healthy working relationship that you and your agency benefit from. Clear roles and responsibilities, well-defined objectives, and a structured project timeline are vital elements to ensure a fruitful and productive partnership. By understanding each other's communication styles, agreeing on tools and channels, establishing your boundaries, and working towards a shared vision, you and your agency will deliver value and create a positive impact.
Want to know more? Let’s chat!
Want to know more about us or just have a quick chat before putting pen to paper? Then let’s chat!