Ad Agency and Vendor Relationships Can Make or Break a Project

5 Tips to Help Get You On-Track…and Keep You There

In an advertising agency we constantly are working to communicate our brand position and standards to clients, prospects, team members, and the public in general. But what about properly communicating these factors to vendors?

As an Account Executive I work with different vendors every day on a variety of different project. We put our trust in them to execute projects in a way that is consistent with both our standards as an agency and the standards of our clients while doing it in the agreed upon time frame and on-budget. If you’re like me, you don’t want to trust just anyone with your project’s implementation. After all, the work they do is representing your agency. So how do you ensure that the vendor you choose to work with fully understands and works to execute your goals and expectation? Below are five tips to use when choosing your vendors.

  • Give them a mini-interview – Ask them what their standards are within their business and how they prevent bad work from getting out the door. Do these standards match those at your agency?
  • Ask what their strengths are – Their company may have a strength in one area, but fall flat in another. Don’t be afraid to ask what their weakness are too. It will save you the time of having to find out the hard way.
  • Talk to their other customers or ask for referrals – A company that works hard to protect their reputation tends to go above and beyond to make sure only good things are said about them. These are the companies you want to work with.
  • Communicate effectively – Make sure the vendor knows the goals of your agency and that no questions exist on what your expectations are. When discussing these details, pay attention to how well they listen.
  • Find out their process – If they skip a step that is key in your process, you may be left having to follow-up and holding their hands to make sure things are done properly. Remember, you are their client and just as you take care of every detail for your clients, a vendor should do the same thing for you.

One thing that bad agencies have in common is their tendency to bully and beat up vendors. Perhaps it is a natural reaction to pick on someone smaller than you after you’ve been picked on. We tend to treat vendors like fellow employees. The advertising business is contained within a small, small circle and word gets around about how you behave within that circle. We want to be the kind of agency that vendors want to work with, regardless of budget, or timing, or scope of the job, just because they’ve heard we’re great to work with…as long as they adhere to our standards.