Yandex.Metrica

” What is the most important piece of advice you would give to your clients?”

Be open, honest, and transparent. The agency’s job is to make your life easier – if we’re chasing moving targets we’ll likely never win.

 

“A Satisfied Customer is the best Business Strategy of all.”

The Manager of Client Strategy works with a team of experts within the Client Strategy team as well as taking full responsibility for a number of key accounts within their portfolio!

The Manager of Client Strategy spends significant time working with clients, gaining deep insight into their business and becoming a trusted, strategic partner and advisor.

Our interview today is with a Manager of Client Strategy – Meet Aaron Levy

Aaron started working in digital marketing in the middle of college, largely because he loved marketing & computers. He has been in the digital space ever since! He developed strategies for clients as large as publicly traded Fortune 500 beasts & internationally recognized retailers, to small as local plumbers & regional adoption agencies.

He has spent time in just about every channel online, from media buying and email campaigns to affiliate and beyond. He has run teams of 20, managed enterprise (and tiny) client relationships and provided online marketing strategies for businesses of all types.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide, usually around one a month. He tries to be selective with em though, as he greatly prefers speaking to students & career changers. He wants to bring as many rising stars as possible into this lovely digital ad world.

Sharing some of his Client Relation Strategies, it’s truly an honor to host Aaron Levy in our Agency expert interview series:

 

1. What do you believe your strongest tactical and/or client relation skill is? Why?

I’m less interested in the raw numbers and more interested in the important ones. For me as an agency guy, my job is to provide value to clients by making their lives easier. Agencies are fired because they stop delivering on the promise of adding value. My biggest retention skill for clients is seeking to understand how I can be an assistant and a partner rather than a burden.

 

 

2. Where do you think the most miscommunication with clients happen? (and why?)

Assumptions are the bane of our existence (both agencies and clients). Always make sure meetings are clearly recapped with clear next steps, clear targets, clear expectations and clear follow up times. When expectations are assumed is when all get into trouble.

 

3. From a client relationship perspective, how do you keep things fresh?

It’s important to challenge what was true in the past, especially when you have a long standing relationship with a client. There’s a number of tricks we use to keep new ideas coming, but the two main ones are audits and re-reviewing past strategies.

First, we have an in-team audit process. Team members audit each account at least quarterly both for a QA perspective and to drive new ideas. We’re working on a strategy where team members will “pitch” the existing account manager for their business liek a new agency would to get big picture ideas.
Second, we make sure we challenge what was rejected before. In a lot of ways good client management is a bit of lather – rinse – repeat. You take what worked and repeat, take what didn’t and stop doing it. The problem isn’t that things are a bit repetitive, it comes when we stop the process because we think our assumptions hold true.

 

 

4. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to your clients?

Be open, honest, and transparent. The agency’s job is to make your life easier – if we’re chasing moving targets we’ll likely never win.

 

5. Are there warning signs about a client relationship falling apart that you recognise now? What is your best advice if you feel a client relationship fracturing?

The biggest warning sign (aside from a new party joining) is when either party gets complacent. If a client stops participating, stops engaging or otherwise “checks out” it’s a sign we’re not speaking to what’s important to them.
On the same token, if the client becomes excessively combative it’s a sign that we’re not presenting our ideas in the right way, or we’re not understanding their business needs. We expect and ask for our ideas to be challenged, but when it gets constant it’s a sign the bow is about to break.

 

 

6. Talk about a failure or mistake that helped shape your work for the better?

I spent about $20k in the wrong place for a client. I found the mistake after about ten days, immediately fixed it but had to do a good chunk of analysis to keep them. I had to review what happened and why, explain it to the client (not sugarcoated) and come up with a process as to how it’ll never happen again.

Mistakes happen. We’re human. If we have automation, automation breaks. Clients understand that, but what they don’t like is if a mistake has a huge impact. I learned to develop a series of checks that only take a minute or two, but will make sure a test is headed in the right direction and that any mistakes or breaks are caught early. For every major test, I double check implementation the next day, “direction” in 3-7 days (e.g. is the test doing what it’s supposed to) and schedule a full blown evaluation in 15-30 days.
The big mistake helped me develop a process that worked for me and kept my brain in check.

 

7. Have you ever had to break up with a client? How, specifically, did you handle the situation (ending things)?

I’ve broken up with a few clients in my day; while the reasons varied, they almost all boiled down to one thing – the clients were being disrespectful to my teams. We’re all under a ton of pressure and strive to do well, but the most important thing to me is that we all have an avenue to succeed. Being stern, arguing and pushing my team is accepted if not encouraged, but disrespect or abuse in any form is grounds for dismissal. I’ll work with my team to offboard the client in a way they can succeed with a new partner, helping them to transition and share what we learned, but there’s no place for disrespect in the agency world anymore.
That said, a “breakup” isn’t always a horrible thing – I’ve had occasions where I made  the decision for the client to move away from an agency or to stop marketing on the channel all together because it wasn’t fiscally responsible or in their best interests. I have an idea as to whether or not a channel will work or not based on trends, so sometimes it’s my responsibility to make the call vs. collecting another check.

 

8. What do you believe has been your greatest career accomplishment? Why?

My proudest career “metric” is my client retention rate. In my almost 10 year agency career, I’ve had precisely two clients leave my teams for other agencies. Sure there were clients going in house, but having my clients know i give it everything i have is a huge point of pride for me.

Today we got to know a few Client Relation Strategies to boost up your client relationships from the expert – Aaron Levy. Going forward there are many more specialists that we want to chat with. We will resume our discussion with another expert in our next post.

Until then, Happy Marketing!!

Vasu P

About Vasu P