The Agency Roadmap: The Expense of Going the Extra Mile

Posted by Deltek on November 19, 2021

Deltek Marketing Agencies Blog

The stated objective of so many advertising and marketing agencies is not merely to meet customer expectations, but to -- say it with us -- exceed customer expectations. It’s language that permeates proposals and is worked into plenty of sales pitches. And that sounds like a great way to win over prospective customers. Who doesn’t want to be convinced that they will get more for their money? 

The problem with that over-promising is that it fuels a culture that works itself to exhaustion in its determination to deliver quality service. When things begin to drift off course, if there is scope-creep, unexpected changes in objectives, or any disconnect that adds up to an unhappy client, your teams can feel duty bound to get things back on track. That’s a recipe for major frustration for both team and client, and a surefire path to fiscal misery for your agency.

This creates a scenario with which any agency decision maker is likely familiar. The client immediately expects increased effort at no increased expense. Creative resources get stretched thin. It becomes difficult to manage scope, deadlines get dropped and milestones missed as everyone scrambles to deliver on changing, often unclear priorities. And in the midst of this confusion, the folks managing the budget watch the profit margin get whittled away.

Thankfully, this is all avoidable provided you have the systems and procedures in place to keep everyone on task and on budget from the beginning. And should priorities change, your shop is ready to respond with realistic, well-justified adjustments to the budget. 


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Setting project parameters from the beginning, and sticking to them, has to be the imperative. Follow these five steps to establish them, and you’re bound to put any project on a path to success and realistic realization of everyone’s expectations.

Set a Clear Scope

Don’t begin if there is any ambiguity about what is being done. Ensure that everyone understands the deliverables and corresponding timetables. 

Create an Accurate Service Level Agreement

Everyone knows the perils of low-balling. Underpricing might get you the business, but it won’t keep you in business. 

Identify the Key Stakeholders

You know who is going to sign the agreement, but do you know who is ultimately holding your agency accountable and evaluating the relationship? 

Evaluate Your Business Model

Are there any internal disconnects that are making it difficult for your teams to interact at their best? Are there unaddressed inefficiencies eating into your financial resources? 

Balance is Key

While overservicing is costly, under-servicing poses just as much of a risk in terms of creating unhappy clients. Find the best way to do your best work so you can consistently deliver on projects while optimizing profit.

Trust Your Experts

Management may be the face of your agency, but your teams are the muscle. Find the right way to assess their impact so you can accurately demonstrate their value -- both to clients and in terms of internal performance evaluation.

Keep these concepts in mind as you scope out every project, and your shop is taking a huge step toward optimizing operations. That’s proving to be the difference for agile, adaptive agencies that stand out in today’s marketplace, versus those that are either unable or unwilling to find the best way to meet customer expectations.

For a deeper understanding of how to get your agency on that aware, optimized level, you’ll want to download Deltek’s Agency Roadmap and move forward on building an advertising agency that stands the best chance of being outstanding.