User Surveys for Outside Marketing Services Relationships

I’ve been discussing relationships with public relations and advertising firms.  In each case, it is important for the parties to regularly evaluate the progress of the relationship.  One way to do this is to have involved parties from the “client” (i.e., the company that has contracted for services from the public relations and/or advertising firm) answer a series of standard questions such as the following:

  1. Has the firm fulfilled the promises made during the selection process regarding staffing of the account?  Are the people working on the account responsive?  Does the client have ready access to senior level executives and managers from firm?
  2. Has the firm adhered to the budget agreed upon by the parties for marketing-related activities?  Does the firm keep detailed records of the work performed and provide the client with clear and fully itemized invoices?  Are the charges in each invoice consistent with written activity reports for the same period?
  3. Do the people working on the account communicate regularly and proactively with the client regarding the status of various projects?
  4. Has the agency consistently completed projects on a timely basis and within the budget parameters agreed upon in advance by the parties?  Has the amount of rework and revisions to materials prepared by the agency been minimal or extensive?
  5. Has the agency been providing the client with new and creative ideas during the course of the relationship, as opposed to simply executing the originally-agreed statement of work?  How well has the agency done in identifying opportunities and offering innovative solutions?
  6. Has the agency demonstrated that it has adequate knowledge and understanding of the client, its organization, and the industry within which the client is operating?  Has the agency worked effectively with other functional groups within the client organization (e.g. sales)?
  7. Has the agency been open and transparent in its dealings with the client?  Has the agency made an effort to understand and adhere to the client’s ethical values and policies?  Has the agency fairly represented the client in communications and relationships with third parties (e.g., media outlets and advertising agencies)?
  8. Has the agency cooperated in the development and use of mutually agreed metrics to assess the performance of the agency and specific campaigns and tactics in achieving the marketing objectives of the client?

The results of this survey should be used to create an agenda for regular meetings between the principals from both sides to discuss how the relationship is going and to make necessary adjustments in the way that the parties interact with one another.

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