The importance of meaningful client communication in digital marketing

Introduction

Timely, relevant, and personalized communication between an agency and its partners is critical to success. Often, the effectiveness of a marketing campaign can be compromised by the team that achieved them due to inadequate communication, whether it’s the failure to emphasize the steps that led to achieving desired results or the inability to translate complex metrics into tangible benefits for the brand. Conversely, fostering a solid foundation of trust can extend the lifetime value of a client or brand for an agency and transform a mere client into a long-term, valued partner.

The importance of communication in digital marketing

Regardless of their service offerings, marketing agencies are selling solutions for end-advertisers that translate into tangible results, such as a set number of leads or a specific increment in sales revenue over a timeframe. At each milestone, written or verbal client-facing communication presents an opportunity to reinforce confidence in the partnership, thus eliciting client satisfaction. Nevertheless, we’ve found this process to be one of the most misunderstood within the scope of account management teams.

Why are teams communicating?  

Perhaps addressing the matter of communication through reverse engineering is best; teams would benefit from understanding the outcome of crucial interactions during the lifecycle of a client. (Some examples are discovery calls, onboarding calls, monthly business reviews, etc.) So, starting with the objective of each interaction will define the preparation, structure, and, for the most part, delivery of the message in whichever format it presents.

Each time information is shared (general purpose), the receiving end of the communication could change the perception of a particular idea or even the individual delivering the message. Therefore, teams must go into the process knowing that their credibility and influence depend on how effective their delivery is.

One step further is to frame each process with the outcome in mind. Let’s simplify through an example:

A monthly business review meeting focuses on sharing information about a marketing campaign (s); the goal is for the partner to be satisfied with the resultsagree with the strategy moving forward, and express satisfaction with the services’ quality.

Suppose you deconstruct most calls where results are communicated within the agency environment. You will find these goals are mainly missed because they are an afterthought rather than the cause of the call. To prevent a litany of metrics, teams must frame results positively, instill credibility and authority on the facts presented, and appeal to the emotions of the receiving party. Otherwise, partners on the receiving end would be better off reading dashboard results, missing the vital connection and assurance that effective communication can provide.

Useful communication techniques.

These practical concepts contribute to better communication.

Framing

  • It is often interpreted as a cognitive bias that impacts the decision-making process of an individual when a fact is presented from a different viewpoint. In principle, it’s crucial to steer clear of portraying results in a negative light. For instance, when dealing with Google Ads, we should highlight the revenue increase even when the conversion volume has dropped. Similarly, suppose there’s a decline in conversion revenue. In that case, it’s essential to emphasize the revenue generated and the proactive measures taken to mitigate any further fluctuation rather than focusing on the negative. This isn’t a matter of half-truth or deceit; we operate within the supposition that the accounts are managed to the best of the individual’s capacity and that all measures have been taken to ensure positive results.

Managing misperceptions

When sharing results, it is not uncommon to be confronted with someone who interprets results differently, commonly due to a lack of understanding of marketing principles or how metrics are calculated within a platform.

  • A key component of managing misperceptions is to listen actively, letting the other party finish their argument, and not respond immediately but rather pause and allow time to formulate a clarifying question. Once the misperception is grasped, it is time to paraphrase and summarize so the concept is understood and permits reframing the misperception, then share your perspective, expressing concisely and accurately each viewpoint. Remember, this process might require multiple iterations until an agreement is met. Avoid focusing on winning the argument, as the outcome might equal losing a client. Thread carefully.

Responding to objections

  • Not a technique exclusive to sales, responding to objections around pricing (budgeting), product fit (solution), or (competitors) is frequent in the process of presenting quarterly business reviews when proposing solutions that require additional investment. While the proposal might be coherent, there are always opportunities to negotiate.
  • There is no lack of methods to handle objections, feel-felt-found, acknowledge and clarify, provide case studies, and so on. They all have listening actively in common, which is the quintessential communication skill and topic of another post. So, let’s dive into a process to deconstruct and manage objections. In this example, we are simply navigating through a common; our budget is below what needed objection. Let’s read on each step:
    • Acknowledge.” I appreciate your concern about the initial budget of $50,000. Ensuring your marketing campaign aligns with your goals and budget is crucial.”
    • Ask open-ended questions (preferably).
      • Please share more about your budget constraints and what specific goals you have in mind for this campaign.
    • Validate.
      • “I completely understand that managing costs is a priority for your company, especially when considering a significant investment like this.”
    • Provide Value.
      • Our comprehensive Google Ads management can significantly increase your online visibility, leading to more quality leads and potential revenue growth.”
    • Address Concerns
      • We can explore optimizing the campaign launch into phases so we don’t frontload spending and focus on achieving the initial milestone more efficiently within your budget.
    • Offer solutions.
      • “To accommodate your budget, we can discuss alternative payment structures or phased implementation to ensure we generate sufficient qualified leads within the budget.
    • Ask for commitment.
      • “Given the options we’ve discussed, how do you feel about launching the campaigns at the end of next week?

Consider using this simple process to unpack objections ahead of time.

Wrapping up communication importance in a sentence or two.

Please see beyond the task and ask:

What perception are you looking to change? How would you like the agency/ client to respond to this plan? What are some crucial terms that need to be agreed on? What is the outcome of a successful monthly business review?

To summarize, always have a clear communication goal, ensure your input positively impacts others, and remember that active listening is the common thread in all objection-handling techniques.