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Ross, David Wethey and the best Agency/Client relationships

Ross meets David Wethey, Chairman of Agency Assessments International, and finds out how to better his client/agency relationships.


David Wethey, Chairman of Agency Assessments InternationalSo yesterday was a pretty incredible day at Marketing Week’s “The Annual” conference, which Vicki has already started blogging about and I’m sure others will too.  But I’m a bit behind on the writing front, I’ve got a kind of blog post queue forming, so I’m a bit away from writing down my highlights…

First and foremost, I had a superb mentor session with David Wethey, Chairman of Agency Assessments International the other day.  David has had a long and successful career  – from the words “I started in the Mad Men era of advertising” I was pretty much hooked on his every word.  Sadly, he didn’t then offer me an Old Fashioned from a usefully positioned drinks trolley, but it was inspiring nonetheless.

Among the many things he gave me advice on was getting the best out of my agency relationships.  If anyone from Fallon, PHD or Red is reading this, I apologise.  I’ll be better from now on.

Understanding of the Business
Agencies do need to understand the business-side of the clients they work on, it’s what enables the proactive thinking that can lead to incredible results (see below).  But at the same time, the client needs to balance this with not over-loading – don’t pile every data source you have onto them, be insightful.

Be Accessible
The best thing the client can do is be accessible – spend time with your agency partners, don’t get to a point where your diary is so busy you can only get in to see them with six weeks notice.  It hurts the relationship, and it hurts the quality of work because of the pressure put on every conversation.

Start with the IPA Effectiveness Award
For every new relationship or project, start off by defining the first paragraph of the IPA Effectiveness Paper you’ll write at the end of it.  That way, you’ll identify the problem, align on the insight, and very clearly define success.

Set-up for Proactive Thinking
“Agencies used to not wait for briefs, now they’re obsessed with them.”  Briefs are useful, but they’re not the be all and end all.  If you’ve helped the agency truly understand your business, you’ve made yourself accessible, and you’ve told them “It’s OK to come to me with an idea, even if I’ve not asked you for it,” you’ll give them the breadth to come up with the transformational ideas you may not have known you needed, but later will wonder how you could have done without.

Thank you David, another excellent session.  I’m now off to consider how I get over the bombshell Mark Ritson dropped at The Annual that testosterone makes men worse marketers…



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