Client Agency Relationship Management

Finding Gold Through Quarterly Business Reviews

By Advertisers, Advertising Agencies, Client Agency Relationship Management, Marketing No Comments

moneyIf one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” –  Lucious Annaeus Seneca

Marketing is a complex, demanding, and time-consuming endeavor that deals with both strategic and executional elements. Often the resulting tasks seem to outnumber the time and resources available to address each effectively.

Once the annual planning process is complete and budgets are approved, marketers and their agency partners typically plunge headlong into implementing the strategies and programs that comprise those plans. There are deadlines to be met and stakeholder expectations to be addressed. So, it is seemingly tough to justify another meeting, additional reporting, or vouching for each agency partners financial management performance. Yet, this may be just what the doctor ordered to optimize marketing spend and keep all parties aligned on the organization’s goals and expectations.

The use of quarterly business reviews (QBRs) fosters critical dialog between cross-functional teams on both the client and agency side regarding key business strategies, challenges, performance expectations and opportunities that arise over the course of the budget year. Properly structured, QBRs help to ensure that both sides are aligned on the business and relationship priorities established at the beginning of the year. Further, they help to satisfy corporate governance standards for marketing budgets that represent a material expense.

Ideally, the financial leadership team is applying an appropriate level of pressure and installing strict requirements to improve transparency and accountability regarding a firm’s marketing spend. Yet we know that agency performance vouching simply does not receive the attention it deserves. Marketers can and should involve their peers in procurement, finance, and internal audit to assist in structuring and implementing quarterly reviews to complement the weekly status updates, monthly performance tracking discussions and financial management reporting that regularly occur. This type of cross-functional participation also helps to create buy-in and build confidence in an organization’s agency partners.

Further, involving financial team members from the agency in this process yields incremental benefit and provides the agency with the opportunity to broaden its relationship with the client. Experience reinforces that agency team’s welcome open communication and the opportunity to discuss and share feedback on business challenges and goals that occur in QBRs.

More than just an accountability tool, QBRs enable brainstorming and idea generation opportunities that can help refresh the organization’s marketing and advertising efforts… all the while building a basis for stronger client/ agency relationships.