Why Meeting Face-to-Face Is Important for Digital Agency Relationships
The comedian John Mulaney has a great bit on how unrealistic movies are about people with amnesia. You don’t wake up in a room full of people you don’t recognize and immediately question them with an abrasive “Who are you?!”
That would be rude.
But it is an important question to ask, especially when you’ll be spending a good portion of time (and money) with a person. It’s an important question for us at 9 Clouds, and we hope it’s an important question for our clients.
Who are you going to be working with?
How Can You Trust Digital Agency Relationships?
These days, it’s almost rare for you to live in the same city as your marketing agency, your bank, your insurance provider, etc. It’s the digital age, and computers are king, so communication can take place anywhere.
With increasingly more remote employees, sometimes it’s even rare for a person to work in the same building as their own team!
So how can you trust something — or someone — you can’t see?
1. Be Transparent
Being transparent doesn’t mean being invisible. It actually means letting yourself be seen. At 9 Clouds, we believe firmly in being transparent with our clients (and with each other).
What’s a great way to accomplish this transparency? You guessed it. Meet face-to-face.
Our staff includes several remote employees, and the majority of our clients are out of state — or even out of the country. It’s vital for us to hold in-person meetings for all these digital relationships to make sure we really understand one another.
In the office, for instance, it’s important to know if our coworkers are introverts or extroverts. It’s even helpful to learn what the stickers on everyone’s laptops signify to them. Sitting down for meetings is exactly how to learn these types of nuances.
Sure, I have tools to assist my digital project management, like Slack, phone calls, or web conferences — but nothing beats sitting down with someone IRL. You can check in to see if they’re listening while you speak, staying engaged in the subject matter, or having a strong reaction to an idea or question.
2. Believe in the Process
Part of the process at 9 Clouds is being available and at the office for as many meetings as possible. Quite frankly, more gets accomplished when we meet in person.
It’s also part of our process to meet face-to-face with clients as early in the relationship as possible (if that’s possible at all). This may seem like common sense, but it does come as a surprise to some people.
I have found that looking someone in the eye and shaking their hand solidifies a level of trust that isn’t as easily obtainable via a phone call. Walking with them through their workspace, seeing their day-to-day process and the staff involved in the planning, and sitting down to discuss aspects of our upcoming strategy are all crucial pieces that would be left out over a simple call.
3. Make Powerful Personal Connections
In the past, I had the experience of taking on a new client without an initial in-person meeting. Mostly due to scheduling conflicts, it took a full four months before I could sit down face-to-face with those folks.
That was not a great start to our working relationship.
It was difficult to set expectations with the client and understand how their business ran day-to-day. I wasn’t able to learn the challenges they faced with their physical building location and their opportunities for success given their available inventory.
Those four months were challenging, to say the least. It was hard for the client to understand everything 9 Clouds had to offer and equally hard for us to deliver on what they needed most.
After our eventual in-person meeting, regular communication increased, and our strategies became better targeted to the client’s market — which, in turn, increased the success of their campaigns. They were more receptive and attentive to our reporting because they had a direct hand in the strategy that we had sat down and planned together.
Even in a digital world, a handshake still means something!
How Do You Know What to Do Next?
Sitting down together isn’t a one-time deal. It’s important to continue checking in and scheduling periodic in-person meetings. Quarterly or biannual meetings have rejuvenated our digital strategies and working relationships with our clients.
So how do you know if a digital agency relationship is the right fit? Meet with a human. Putting a face and name behind a website or phone call makes all the difference.
Get in touch with us, and we’ll start the process with your free digital audit. Hope to see you soon!