Inbound Marketing Comparison: Hands on Vs. Hands Off Clients



Imagine you are building a new home. You are in the planning stages with your architect. I'm sure you have a lot of input on the layout of your home due to the fact that you are about to make a huge investment and ....well IT'S YOUR HOME FOR CRYING OUTLOUD. So you show up to the design meetings, you share your opinions, you review the blueprints, give your feedback and together the two of you come to an agreement on a final blueprint. Then the contractor shows up and implements the entire shebang. You do daily or weekly walk throughs to make sure everything is status qou. You're involved.

Now Imagine if you took a back seat in all of this. The Architect would draft up designs based on what he thinks is best and the contractor would implement them with no supervision. Then you show up to your new home. Did you know it is Gothic inspired because your architect fell in love with Gothic architecture in colleg? Yup, you have gargoyles loitering over your front door. Oh and the contractor built your walls with cement. You essentially live in a mini scary castle with no cell service. Congrats on that gem.

Where am I going with all of this? There is a difference between being a hands on client vs. a hands off client. When you are hands off you tend to have no idea what is going on and at the end of the day you won't see the value in the work that was done.

This is something us inbound marketers struggle with. If you hire us to work for you then we want to get you results- it's in our blood. How can you find value in our results though if you have no idea how we got them for you? I personally don't think you can.

The Hands on Client

Inbound Marketing works seamlessly when there is a healthy partnership between the client and the agency (Jesse and Walt were a bit unhealthy but we love them none-the-less).  At the beginning of the relationship, communication guidelines are established and the client agrees to be an active participant in the inbound marketing process.  The hands on client keeps that promise throughout the engagement.

Benefits of being the Hands on Client

You never feel clueless.  You are involved with your marketing efforts so you feel very comfortable with the agency that is working for you because you know what they are currently working on and their plans for that project.

You help bridge the gap between sales and marketing. In order to have a clear ROI of your inbound marketing effort, agencies need to know how sales are going within your business. We don't work in your sales department so it is important that this information is communicated to us on a routine basis (monthly, quarterly).  The hands on client will then be able to see a very clear ROI.

There are no surprises. Perhaps you have a tradeshow coming up. Since you are involved and talk to your agency about future events your business is attending your inbound marketing agency can now aid in making those events more valuable. This even applies to new tools your business is working with and other marketing efforts you are doing in-house.

Your Inbound Agency doesn't feel clueless. We don't know what's changing inside your company unless we are told. We don't want to be the last to know, it hinders our work. If we are in the know we can only help you.

The Hands off Client

No one is more hands off than Ron Swanson but I’ve witnessed some clients that come close. When a contract is signed the client is agreeing to allow the agency to do the work how it needs to be done. If this agreement stuck then I would not be writing this article. The hands off client tends to be unreliable and damaging to the inbound marketing process.

Disadvantages of being the hands off client

Frustration due to lack of communication. Your agency has been trying to get a hold of you for the past two weeks. Now that they finally did... the $*&! hits the fan essentially.  Nothing was able to get done on your account without the approval you said you wanted to give. So now they are behind and all of you are frustrated.

You always feel clueless. How can you not honestly? If you take no initiative to be involved with your inbound agency and ignore their attempts to engage then you will have zero ideas about what they are doing. This will only hurt your relationship in the end because you will end your partnership due to ignorance of the work being done and their benefits

No clear ROI. You run a business, your business does sales, somewhere those sales and juicy numbers are recorded. Your agency needs those. If you decided not to take the time to get them to the agency or delegate this responsibility to someone inside your business to communicate this to the agency then you will never have a clear ROI.  You are wasting your money in my opinion.

Surprise!! Whether it be you surprising your agency or they are surprising you- these surprises are never good. “I have lead nurturing campaigns saying what?!”  “You are launching a sister company next week?!”. Yeah... it’s not pretty. When you are this disconnected from your marketing agency they tend to disconnect themselves as well so they can get their jobs done. This puts the two of you on different pages that will hurt most marketing efforts being implemented. At this point the relationship is better off terminated.

Let me wrap this up...

Agencies like working with hands on clients. It’s important  that you know what we are doing and that we know what your business is doing. If communication becomes sparse, phone calls go unanswered and campaigns go unfinished then no one is winning.  Be the hands on client like you would with most services you pay for- don't let us build the house by ourselves, we can, but you won't like it.

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