Nobody knows your business as intimately as you do, that’s what makes the onboarding process so important. Onboarding allows your marketing agency to understand the ins and outs of your business, in order to develop a robust marketing strategy which delivers the results you need.
The onboarding process and initial communication strategy lay the foundations for a successful marketing campaign. Think about your relationship with your agency like building a house: if you don’t spend time laying solid foundations, you’re house might fall down in a storm.
If you’ve worked with an agency in the past, you’ll be familiar with how onboarding works. If not, then this article should give you a good idea of what to expect. Most importantly, this article will help you understand why the onboarding process is crucial to the success of both your advertising campaigns and your relationship with your agency.
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Read our article on the 6 surprising benefits of working with a marketing agency.
How does onboarding work, and why is it so important?
To be able to develop and implement a successful marketing strategy for your business, your agency needs to intimately understand your business.
The onboarding process helps your agency to get as close to your understanding of your business as possible.
During this process, your agency will do their best to understand your challenges, goals and ideal customers. This helps us develop a strategy that speaks directly to the pain points of your customers - helping them solve their problem, in order to help you hit your targets.
The initial communication strategy workshop is an in depth brainstorming session, with a couple of follow ups, during which your agency will get to know and understand your brand, your products and your services.
This also sets the tone for your relationship with your agency. It can give you a good idea as to whether the partnership will be a good fit - so both parties need to be as open and honest as possible.
How long does the onboarding process take?
This is a tough question to answer, as it varies greatly per client. The initial communication strategy and onboarding workshops take around two to three weeks, however this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Part of the process is getting to know each other’s working style - which doesn’t happen overnight -it could take two to three months. It all depends on how open each party is to building the relationship. It takes time to understand each other's preferences, quirks and peeves.
What to expect during the initial communication strategy workshop
If you’re wondering whether you need to prepare for the initial communication strategy, the answer is no. Try not to arrive with preconceived ideas - over preparation will kill your creativity.
Throw all your cards in the air and let your agency catch what's worth catching.
The communication strategy workshops help your agency uncover why you’re in business, what you want (and need) to achieve, how you’re perceived in the market, who your biggest competition is, and so on.
You should approach these workshops with a blank and open mind. Let your questions and answers flow naturally during the brainstorming session. This allows insights to be uncovered off the cuff. Treat your agency as you would a client who knows absolutely nothing about your products or services. Let them ask you the hard questions - this will give you a deeper understanding of how potential customers perceive your brand.
Tips to help the onboarding process go smoothly
- Trust and honesty are key to a successful partnership with your agency.
That’s right, your relationship with your agency should be partnership. When both parties are in it for the long haul, and have a shared vision and goals, based on open, honest communication, you’ll see superior results. This is the only way you’ll reap the full benefit of working with a marketing agency.
- Eliminate distractions during the communication strategy workshops.
One on our number one terms of engagement during the initial strategy phase is no technology or distractions. Focus and be present. These brainstorming sessions are critical to the success of your campaign - so everyone that’s involved in the process needs to participate fully.
- There’s no right or wrong answer.
Lay all your cards on the table and don’t be afraid to be the bearer of the unpopular opinion. Debating (and even arguing) is often the source of the deepest insight into your brand and products. The more diversity of opinion, the more holistic your final strategy will be. Debating will also help achieve everyone’s buy in because everyone got a chance to be heard. This means that when you settle on your strategy, everyone on your team will be on the same page.
- Give your agency all the information you can, and let us pick out the gems. Don’t be afraid to participate. It doesn’t benefit anyone for you to stay quiet. Be confident to “brain dump” the most ridiculous, out there ideas - this is what sparks creativity and innovation. We can’t tell you how many times a seemingly “far out” idea turned into marketing magic.
Looking for a long-term agency to partner with? We’d love to help you develop a winning marketing strategy that hits your targets and achieves your business goals.