Over at the In House Agency Forum (IHAF), they have a great resource for creative teams looking to build stronger relationships with their clients. The IHAF Performance Evaluator is an online survey tool that “enables in-house agencies to measure their effectiveness as marketing communications solutions providers to the businesses they support.” To supplement your team’s assessment, IHAF also provides a variety of benchmarking reports so you can see how your team stacks up to other in-house agencies.
We dug into some of the benchmarking data on project and workflow management, which IHAF has allowed us to share here. Below, you’ll see how IHAF members’ clients rate their in-house teams against six key attributes.
While about half of the clients polled feel that their in-house agencies exceed expectations, about a third feel that their in-house agency is just meeting expectations—and for one out of five clients, their in-house agencies fail to meet expectations.
This data doesn’t necessarily indicate that half of in-house agencies are great and the other half is mediocre or worse but rather, it speaks to the perceptions clients have about agency performance. Many creative leaders can attest to the fact that clients often have unrealistic expectations of the production process. And certainly clients can have a negative impact on a creative team’s abilities to manage projects and workflow efficiently. In fact, InSource’s Creative Services Industry Report shows that 68% of in-house creative leaders report that their top challenge is affecting client behaviors.
So then the challenge for creative teams is threefold:
- Where expectations are reasonable but are unmet because of issues internal to the creative team, the creative team needs to identify and address both the efficiency leaks in their workflow and gaps in their communication with clients.
- Where expectations are reasonable but are unmet because of issues related to the client, the creative team needs to help clients understand their shared responsibility for the outcome of the creative process and how their behaviors (like sloppy creative briefs, review delays, vague feedback, etc.) cause friction in the creative workflow.
- Where expectations are unmet because they are simply unreasonable, creative teams need to clear up misperceptions about their processes, timelines, pitfalls, and bandwidth to help clients understand the realities of their team’s workflow.
You can learn more about these strategies by registering for our June 26th webinar, Turning Clients into Creative Partners, offered through IHAF. Until then, share your challenges and successes in the comments.