How to Be a Better Client

How to Be a Better Agency Client

Prominent Marketers Share How They've Improved Relationships and What They Resolve to Do Even Better in 2012

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Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark, Sr. VP-Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities, Coca-Cola

"Great clients are generally more concerned about their impact and output than on their greatness. That is our enduring focus in 2012. From my experience, great leaders make great clients. Sun Tzu identified five characteristics of great leaders that endure today -- brave, caring, disciplined, smart and trustworthy. If we focus on being better leaders, we'll ultimately be better clients, too."

John Costello
John Costello
John Costello, Chief Global Marketing-Innovation Officer, Dunkin' Brands

"The best way to be a better client is to be a better partner, with clear objectives, open communication, quick, thoughtful decisions and mutual respect, where you both listen to each other's point of view."

Marc Speichert
Marc Speichert
Marc Speichert, Chief Marketing Officer, L'Oreal USA

"To be as open to feedback as possible, we put in place an evaluation of ourselves as well as our agencies so we can identify the areas of opportunity the agency sees in the relationship, so we can go back and address it in the same way we give feedback to the agency."

Tony Pace
Tony Pace
Tony Pace, Chief Marketing Officer, Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust

"We are going to say 'thank you' more often. Our work stands out in a highly competitive and marketing-sensitive category. It drives our business. We appreciate that and need to continue to reaffirm that . We are also going to resolve to be even more precise in our creative briefs because we know that is the foundation of powerful work. And we are going to provide consolidated feedback so the basis for any revisions/ modifications to work is clear."

Martine Reardon
Martine Reardon
Martine Reardon, Exec VP-Marketing and Advertising, Macy's

"Everything moves so quickly now that we don't always take enough time early in planning to get all parties collectively thinking and grounded in the same information. I resolve to be more thoughtful in how we communicate with and educate everyone at the start of an effort so that we achieve the strongest and most strategic result.

As a team, we get most things right, but I think we could always benefit from spending more time and energy toward staying connected at a high level -- collaborating, idea sharing and brainstorming."

Tim Van Hoof
Tim Van Hoof
Tim Van Hoof, Director-Marketing Communications, State Farm

"I've started doing something a little differently with some of the key agencies. I'm calling it my ad-agency advisory counsel. I've picked a leader from each [lead shop] to dig into business matters -- more than just collaborating and integrating advertising, but looking at what are the business issues facing our brand, and some of the even more local challenges in marketing communications in advertising. For example, with retainers and production fees ... we all feel a downward pressure on that ... but we've not really engaged in conversations with agencies about how to best compensate them. We meet every month, and it's already brought some issues to the forefront that I wasn't realizing they were having."

Russell Weiner
Russell Weiner
Russell Weiner, Chief Marketing Officer, Domino's

"Involve [the agency] in your entire business, not just the advertising. Make them partners in the process, from planning to execution."

Clark Wood
Clark Wood
Clark Wood, Chief Marketing Officer, Autotrader.com

"We need our agency, Doner, to push us out of our comfort zone. ... One of the commitments I'd make to the agency is that we are open to being pushed, and I'm encouraging the team to be more open to ideas and opportunities to expand our marketing approach. I rely heavily on the agency to bring us really clear objective thinking. There's an expression, "you can't see the forest through the trees,' but sometimes we can't see the tree through the bark. We get so close to it that sometimes we can't step back. If the truth hurts, let's listen to it -- and have them give us a sanity check sometimes from the outside looking in. ... The question to my team if the work is off target is , was that the agency's fault or our fault? Chances are it's our fault."

Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard, Global Marketing and Brand-Building Officer, Procter & Gamble

"We are all dealing with constant change and the always-on, real-time nature of brand building. As a client, in 2012, I want P&G to become brilliant at creating big, creative ideas and adopting a "do-learn' approach to brand building. This means doing and learning simultaneously, rather than learning, learning, learning some more and then doing. It's more important than ever to act in real time with big ideas that engage the hearts and minds of every consumer we serve. We are on an exciting journey with our partners, and I'm excited to see what new opportunities 2012 will bring."

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