The Art of the Agency/Client Relationship

Agencies need clients, and clients need agencies. It’s an age old symbiotic partnership. When you combine two companies, no matter the scale, it is important for both parties to consider the variables at play.

Here’s a short list of key considerations when commencing this relationship.

Business Alignment

Agencies are an excellent solution to outsourced tasks that demand expertise, such as PPC, SEO, and display advertising. Beyond this base necessity is another layer; the agency’s understanding of the client’s business.

In the best interest of everyone, it is beneficial for the agency to know the client’s industry, business model, and KPIs. This understanding can come from past experience or an open ability to learn and adapt. The agency and the client must identify how each entity operates, and only then can they be primed for success.

Communication Style

Communication preferences can often be lost in the excitement of prospect business, but it may be one of the most important attributes of a healthy partnership.

Personalities come in many shapes and sizes; it’s best to recognize early how both parties fit with each other. Some people like constant updates instead of monthly emails. Some people like brief overviews instead of in depth reports. And besides working styles, social meshing is worth considering too as one hopes to be ‘friends’ in this endeavor.

Just make sure you culturally click, because as with any relationship you hope to enjoy it.


Not to be forgotten is the necessity to align on financial expectations in the beginning stages. The client needs to know that they can afford the agency’s services, and the agency needs to know this will be a worthwhile time investment. A few factors come into play here:

  1. The amount of people necessary for the project
  2. The amount of time necessary for the project
  3. The room for growth of the project

If both parties are comfortable and fair about expectations, move on forward.

Mutual Gain

I have been part of numerous client relationships now, and it is clear when it works well and when it doesn’t.

The #1 feature of a solid partnership is a team oriented pursuit of a shared goal.

If both parties can look past the fact that they work for separate companies, they can better perform as one unit. The goal here is to maximize various backgrounds and multiple perspectives, and maintain a common intent of hitting results and growing business, together.


Now, after all the deliberation, will this be a good relationship? This is an important choice, one that will impact many future hours and pay checks. Be confident in your decision that the client and the agency can function well together. If the check marks add up, and the feelings are mutual, you could be on your way to a fruitful partnership.

Benji Hill About the author

Benji Hill (@HillBenji) is a Client Manager at Point It. With a background ranging from Startups to Fortune 500s, Benji has helped numerous companies expand their digital strategy. Benji spends most of his time playing sax in a funk rock jam band called Caveman Ego, and dominating the office (especially Evan Barocas) in ping pong.

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