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21 Apr 2014

May 2014 Newsletter


"How to be a Good Client: Creating a Healthy Client-Agency Relationship"

Agencies rely on their clients and clients rely on their agencies. It's a two-way relationship that must be healthy in order for both to be successful.

Our May breakfast will feature a panel of local marketing and communication professionals discussing the right and wrong ways to work with clients and agencies.

Our panelists are:

  • Shawn Davis, Zipline Interactive
  • Lucinda Kay, Let it Shine
  • Dave Sonntag, Gonzaga University

Friday, May 2
7:00 am - 7:45 am Networking & Breakfast
7:45 am - 9:00 am Introductions & Program
The Lincoln Center* – 1316 N. Lincoln Street *Parking is free!
Register Now



Each year MARCOM matches the highest caliber communications, marketing and PR students in our area with our own pool of member organizations for a once in a lifetime paid internship opportunity. This program is one of the few remaining paid scholarships in our area, made possible by the generosity of our membership, sponsors and attendees of the Spark Awards. Now, here are this year’s outstanding scholarship recipients:

Samantha Smith
Samantha, a Business Management and Marketing major at Whitworth University, will be bringing her passion and design skills to Visit Spokane. She’ll be honing her professional skills working on a variety of design and marketing projects this summer.

Shannon Sparks
Shannon will be lending her talents to BHW1 this summer, where this Gonzaga University PR major will be working in a fast-pace agency environment. She’ll have hands-on experience researching and working on campaign plans and supporting the team with an assortment of projects and responsibilities.
A special thanks to Barb Comito from the Union Gospel Mission, Sinead Voorhees from Whitworth University, and Todd Zeidler of Desautel Hege Communications for their hard work on the MarCom Internship Committee.



Thank you to all who came to honor the best and brightest marketing and communications projects from our region! Gonzaga University’s “125th Anniversary campaign,” RESCUE! Pest Control Products’ “April Fool/Stink Bug Trap,” Desautel Hege Communications and Coordinated Care’s billboards, and Gonzaga University’s “To Build Up a Great University: Report of the President” were the stars of the Spark Awards on April 16.

We appreciate all who submitted entries to make this year's Spark Awards so memorable. To see a full list of 2014 Spark Award winners, click here.

Also, thank you to the sponsors who made the awards possible!



Pillow Talk

It’s finally here! The last season of Mad Men has begun giving us one last chance to see how things were like in the good old days. Daytime drinking, smoking the client’s cigarettes during pitch meetings, lipstick focus groups and lots of pillow talk. Gee, I wish I could be Don Draper’s secretary!

Well, not really. I suck at making coffee. Personally, I prefer being on the client end of things. As much as we need to do daily for our companies, we can’t do it all so partnering with pros whose expertise fills in the gaps is a strategic move. While the agency experience today has less boozing, smoking and cavorting than it once did, the client/agency relationship is still key to the creative process. Working together is what will get you that dazzling ad, kickass website or Spark Award winning commercial. Whether you’ve just started dating an agency, have been in bed with them for years, or are playing the field with a variety of teams, good relationship rules will always apply. Don’t expect the agency to do all the work to keep the relationship solid especially when we get really fickle.
“We like the direction you’re going, but we just don’t feel it yet. What else have you got?”
“We want a full blown website with all the bells and whistles. What can we get for $2000?”
“Yeah, I know our deadline was in three months but things have changed. Can we go live tomorrow?”
“Love the package design but we aren’t going to launch the new product. Thanks anyway!”

(Hmm… maybe agencies need to bring back daytime drinking after all.)

So what can we as the client do to make sure we aren’t crushing the souls of our creative partners? It’s actually pretty simple.

Be honest – when you start a project, give all the deets to your agency so they can quote it correctly. Being on the same page when you start will help prevent scope creep and unexpected costs. If something changes, let them know. Good agencies will do what they can to make things work and great agencies will let you know when you’re asking for the impossible.

Ask for what you need – agencies can’t read our minds. If you have a specific vision for the project, tell them. It will keep the creative process on track. Only a few of us are willing to give up all creative control to an agency. Trust them to bring to life what you have stuck in your head even if you think you can’t explain it. And if you don’t have something in mind, let them run with it. The end result can be pretty amazing!

Split the bills – sometimes things go haywire. Two creative pitches turn into ten, your boss changes their mind constantly or final designs are altered because someone doesn’t like a color. If you cause the derailment, you need to pay. That additional time spent on your project was time away from other clients and money out of their pocket. If the extra cost is too big of a shock, see if your agency is willing to split the bill. Dine and dash with your agency isn’t recommended.

Be thoughtful – like it or not, you aren’t their only client. Agencies do a great job of making you feel like you’re their one and only. I mean, who doesn’t love being courted? On the flip side of that, a successful agency works with a number of companies all with deadlines just as important as yours. If yours gets bumped for another company’s deadline, try to be understanding. The agency still has a ton of work to get through (your project included) so do what you can to help them. Freshly baked cookies, some Fireball Whiskey or a really nice wine will always brighten their faces after really long days.


When you find a good agency, try not to screw things up. It won’t always be perfect, but then perfect is boring. Instead, aim for the right pairing and your agency will decide they’re never gonna give you up




How to Be A Good Client (and Agency)
The art of the client/agency relationship

By Kelly Fry, MarCom Membership Chair

Agency creatives and account staff (whether it be advertising, public relations, design, etc.) earn their living building brands, implementing campaigns and coming up with “The Big Idea.”

But without clients, an agency is nothing but great lighting and fancy computers. A good relationship results in stronger brands, satisfied partners and loyalty. A bad relationship causes heartache, missed deadlines and frustration. Read more...



Entering its 25th year in business, North by Northwest (NXNW) has evolved into a full service digital studio focusing on web design, video production, custom photography, and creating compelling integrated digital solutions. With over 50 employees between our Spokane and Boise offices, we have recruited and retained highly talented media specialists focusing on various disciplines within the digital space.