Scope of Work and Reporting in Rockstar Agency-Client Relationships
Are you an agency who is celebrating a new client – or a client celebrating a new hire? Congratulations! Now the fun – and the really important stuff- begins in earnest. We’re talking, of course, about two important components of any successful marketing agency-client relationship:
One:A thoughtfully-developed scope of work.
Two:Clearly-defined expectations about reporting.
Let’s get down to business by first discussing:
Scope of work.
Simply put, this is the understanding between an agency and a client about the work products that need to be produced in order to fulfill a contract or service agreement. Elements of a scope of work document might include:
– Pricing and payment terms
– Assumptions (like turnaround time and client input)
– Resources (both needed and existing)
– Contingencies (what to do when something changes)
In many cases, the work can be scoped in a two part process: In Part 1, some of the questions (particularly related to pricing and conditions) have to be thought through in order for the agency to submit a bid or proposal for the client to consider in the first place.
Once the agency has been hired, you can move on to Part 2, which involves fleshing out the proposal with plenty of details, particularly as they relate to timelines and expected deliverables.
If you’re thinking, “Gee, a scope of work document sounds an awful lot like a project management document”, you’re on the right track. The process of scoping work is closely related to project management, which is why marketing or advertising agencies need a considerable amount of project management prowess, even if their primary service is creative.
It’s very important to get this part right. If you don’t, the scope of work agreement can serve as a source of misunderstanding and conflict that undermines good agency-client partnerships down the road.
Here are a couple of dig-deeper resources that can help you better understand what goes into the scoping process:
“Scope of Work Planning”
From the American Association of Advertising Agencies
Sample Scope of Work Document
From the Association of National Advertisers
Reporting is another area where agency–client relationships can be made or broken, so it’s definitely worth some in-advance attention on the part of both parties. Some of the reporting milestones agencies and clients need to hammer out are:
Frequency. Does the client need weekly reports, monthly reports, or something else? Does the agency have the capability to deliver on that expectation?
Format. In many cases, a bullet-point email on Friday afternoon will get the job done, while other cases may require a call or a formal presentation document.
Content. Does the client just need a bottom-line summary that identifies current project bottlenecks, outstanding deliverables, and the to-do list for next week? Do they want a rundown of current expenses? Or do they just need a summary of what’s been recently accomplished? Or all of the above?
Food for thought for clients: Just like it’s important for agencies to fulfill any reporting promises they’ve made, it’s also important for clients to actually read and digest reports submitted. An agency that is frequently asked to repeat themselves or respond to challenges that deliverables weren’t provided (when in fact they were) is an agency who is taking time away from your marketing problems to explain and justify itself – for no good reason.
Reporting expectations should be addressed in your scope of work or project management document, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be adjusted as time goes on. As long as both parties are committed to bringing up concerns or ideas as soon as they develop, you’ll have some protection against a minor reporting misunderstanding blowing into a full-fledged problem.
By the way, agencies, here’s a reporting resource for you to check out: Snap Reports, which provides dashboard-styled, analytics-driven, all-in-one ad agency reporting software that’s super easy to use. (We should know, because we use it ourselves!)
Looking for a new marketing/advertising agency partner? We’d love to know more, so let’s talk.