As a pet store marketing agency, this post might seem a bit… two-faced? Maybe that’s not the right word, but regardless, we are all about helping. Ensuring that pet stores get the most out of their marketing agencies is part of that, whether they are full service (like us) and handling everything from social to email to websites, or a simple cut and paste job agency that only manages search and SEO.
We are all about partnership, and these are our guidelines to building the best partnerships with our pet store clients. We’d be delighted if you wanted to learn in person! Reach out to us and see what we’re all about.
Working with an agency should be a partnership, and a partnership is just another type of relationship. And relationships are HARD. WORK. They go up, they go down, there’s questions, conflict, fun, growth, and everything else. Sometimes you have to go through many relationships before you settle on the one.
Hopefully this guide will help you cultvate a long, fruitful relationship with the pet store marketing agency you work with, whether it’s us or another group.
6 Ways to Get The
Most from your Agency
Think Long Term
Quality agencies typically won't engage on small, limited-time, or one-off projects. They want to sink their teeth into a meaty, long-term engagement. They want to be your partner and share in your success.
Remember that results take time. Agencies want to work with companies that understand that and won't threaten their contract if leads aren't delivered in Week Two.
Trust the Process
As a pet store owner, it can be difficult to disconnect with areas of your business and pass them off to others. The transition can be rough for some, loosening grip and control over areas of your pet store.
If you're having trouble with the transition, lean on your agency. At Pet Engine Marketing, we’ve dealt with dozens of clients and done this hundreds of times. Trust in your agency’s processes, abilities, and experience within the pet industry.
Share, Share, and Overshare
Don’t hold back on things. Your relationship is going to be most fruitful when there's trust and openness from both sides.
You'll see the best results when you move on from transactional, project-based agency relationships to true partnerships — partnerships that are built on trust, openness, and honesty.
Don’t forget to share your current messaging, brand guidelines, collateral, likes and dislikes, aspirations, where you've come up short, and where you've succeeded. Nobody likes to find skeletons in the closet down the road. Sharing these items will make it working with your pet store more effective and more efficient as things come along.
Stay on the Balance Beam
Realistically, your agency should have as much “agency” over this area as you do. Ensure that goals are always being worked towards and are verbalized, remembered, and documented, and ultimately that you and your agency are staying on track towards these goals.
You might not need weekly strategy calls (or maybe you do), but full autonomy is rarely the correct way to manage any type of relationship. You don’t leave your dog at the park without a leash do you?
Similarly, your agency shouldn’t need a permanent micromanager, and as a pet store owner you shouldn’t have to be one. Finding a balance in these areas is oftentimes difficult, but rewarding.
Conflict is inevitable, and while some errors may be considered inexcusable, most aren’t and can be worked out. Experienced agencies will know how to pivot, make good on an error, or change the team dynamic to better meet client expectations and working styles. Most disagreements are 100% repairable when calm, sensible heads prevail.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater - remember how hard it can be to start over from square one with another agency.
If small issues and problems build up over time, it is imperative that these are communicated before they explode due to bottling them up. Give each other room to grow and improve.
Last and not least, not every meeting will be a “home run.” You are in it for the long haul, and sometimes the less-fun, tedious items that are taken care of help set the foundation for future successes. It’s okay to have high expectations - just consider them as part of the long term vision.
Respect is #1
Last, and certainly not least, respect is the most critical thing in this relationship. Verbal respect, financial respect, respect for each other’s time, opinions, effort, and schedule, and so on.
As a pet store owner, you are the subject-matter expert, no matter how much industry-relevant experience the agency has. Every pet store has it’s own unique idiosyncrasies that make it a bit different from the next one. Regardless, your agency is the marketing expert. Each side has its strengths and should respect the other's expertise.
A little bit of mutual respect will go a long way.
So, how does your agency stack up? Are you getting the most from them? Is your pet store’s marketing active, and your cash register thriving? Is it a relationship, or is it transactional?
If you’re not getting the answers you want from those questions or this Insider post, maybe you should start looking elsewhere! Hit that contact button, or join our free community for pet store owners if you need more convincing that we are the right pet store marketing agency for you!