Future of Media and Client Management

Matt Sullivan-Pond
Dennis Publishing

What challenges have you seen emerge as client relationships in digital media are managed primarily through digital channels?

When you can only convey things through digital channels, it's more difficult to convey nuance. I prefer a face to face discussion after an introductory email, before we take it 100% digital. Agencies are busy, buried in spreadsheets and unable to offer detailed feedback which makes it much tougher to build the kind of mutually beneficial long term relationships that would ultimately benefit the client.

In your experience, what are the pitfalls that stop teams from providing great client service to brand marketers that can be avoided?

Having to fit into a reporting template created by an agency can certainly stop a team from providing a great client service - not only are they time-consuming and difficult to understand, but ultimately they serve only as a method to understand performance, rather than providing valuable campaign insights that the client can learn from. I also find 'brand uplift' measurement underwhelming compared to the value they could provide, this is due to them relying on tools that as a user I would never fill out myself - like surveys, for example. Better customer service would come from working more collaboratively with the client marketing teams and the agency together.

In your experience, what are some best practices for teams that manage client relationships?

Regular verbal communication builds trust and allows for a freer flow of ideas, which always leads to better work and better results. Emails are fine, but it's tough to beat a vibrant weekly call and collaboration between teams.

How would you like to see AI solutions advance relationship management in digital media and marketing, and how do companies optimise client retention and growth?

We need an AI solution for pulling and understanding data - things like social numbers, page views, time on site, ad delivery. If an AI could understand this data and use it to populate the agency forms we’re sent we could focus more on delivering the product and improving customer service.

How can you make an organisation more client-centric so that all teams are vested in client results?

One thing I’d advise is to talk to relevant, on-brand clients. I find that if the brand is in the right place, then finding ways to integrate them across our business is a more natural thing - and users don't mind seeing marketing that fits.

Client Success teams are notoriously busy; managing lots of clients with lots of work-streams and having to interact with lots of different teams, how do you keep your team from burning out?

There needs to be effective delegation within the teams - strong communication across the board, so everyone knows what they’re doing, and how to do it well. Beyond this, I think it’s really important to make sure team members are celebrated for their efforts - to ensure they know much much they are valued. Similarly, as a business, I think you need to offer a range of incentives, both within the team and individually, as much as possible.

Lastly, for anyone starting a career in Client Success in digital media and marketing, what would be your advice to them?

Personality comes first - build your relationships with who you are as a person, and then back up who you are with what you know - the science should support you, but ultimately who you are as a person is what will create effective and long-lasting relationships.