Rethinking the client-agency relationship in the age of digital

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Rethinking the client-agency relationship in the age of digital

The client-agency relationships of yesterday are no more. And as the days go by, what was once a clear distinction is becoming increasingly blurry. Here are some ways the client-agency relationships we once knew has been challenged — and how we’ve had to rethink the client-agency relationship of today in the age of digital.

Marketing can no longer act as a separate silo anymore

At the core of the client-agency relationship is understanding the role of marketing for a business. Marketing should be completely integrated throughout in order to be as effective as possible. This means two-way visibility across the entire business. At its core, marketing is about problem solving and as we know, problems are rarely isolated to one singular point. A leads to B leads to C, and so on. 

In order to obtain the desired outcome, marketing needs to consider other nodes of the structure as well as be considered by other nodes of the structure. In the case of working with an agency, this can be accomplished with something as simple as looping them into the existing reporting, letting them take a look at the numbers, and occasionally sitting down for a frank discussion about how things are going. A client should be comfortable enough to share this much with their agency.

Client-agency trust is now more important than ever

According to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, confidence in media agency partnerships has declined by 11% between the years of 2016 to 2018. As much as 40% of participants admitted to having a “low” trust levels, while only 37% rated their trust levels as “average.” A comparatively steep decline from the 85% of respondents who rated their trust levels as “average” in 2016.

Client-agency trust is now more important than ever. Not just in the general sense of familiarity. Trust as in:

  • A client being assured that the agency possess the necessary capabilities to deliver.
  • A client being certain the chosen direction of their brand is the correct one.
  • All parties involved being offered full transparency throughout the entire collaborative process (good faith).

A lack of trust makes working towards marketing objectives a tug of war when it should be a sled pull. How can a client and an agency possibly achieve any desired outcomes when they’re actively competing against each other? When all is said and done, all clients and agencies need to remember is that they’re on the same team. 

At headmark, we care deeply about this client-agency relationship trend, as we pride ourselves on being trusted advisers to our clients. We have deep relationships with the clients in our portfolio, cultivated over years of working with them and going through the evolution of their businesses in the question for growth in a digital era. We take great care in understanding their individual businesses and how we can find success in digital that supports real business outcomes. How can we help your business grow?


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