Fostering Client & Agency Relationships In The Volatile Project World

By Jamie Lamora, Posted on Nov 27, 2018

Three reasons why proper scoping will save the day

It’s no secret that agency retainers are quickly diminishing and project work is the new normal. While this shift undoubtedly allows brands more flexibility and budget freedom by trying on new agencies, it also means agencies live and die off of successful projects. And the first place a project succeeds or fails isn’t in the insightful strategy or some uncharted communications plan; it’s not even in the creative. The success of a project all relies on the scope of work.

This shift has created a new opportunity to foster and develop the client/agency relationship with every new project – even amongst long-time clients. After all, we know that brands hire agencies they like and trust, and what better way to grow the relationship than to put your best foot forward every time, starting with the scoping phase.

1. Setting clear expectations up front

In the world of project work, preventing scope creep by developing clear, detailed scopes takes priority because there’s no assumption you’ll make up any losses on the next project. Unlike a retainer, there is no, “we’ll work out the kinks next month.” It puts you on your A-game to approach the project with the process that will yield the best results, while still allowing for creative freedom and exploration. Scopes should be presented to clients, providing the opportunity for a conversation to ensure both parties are getting what they need. This attention to detail does not go unrecognized by clients.

2. One size doesn’t fit all

This approach creates win-win situations over and over again for both agency and clients. Project work affords the opportunity to provide your recommended approach based on how you work best and the unique needs of each project. It allows you to accurately value your work, and conversely, allows clients to push and demand creative excellence.

3. Scope for nimbleness and efficiency

By developing a clear channel of communication and defined expectations through the scope of work, agencies are able to become more nimble and projects can be completed faster. The scope also serves as a detailed roadmap that provides transparency, saving clients money by avoiding change orders due to unclear deliverable expectations.

While agencies surely miss the security of the retainer, we must learn to embrace and thrive in the project world by seizing the opportunity to foster trusting, open and transparent relationships with clients; creating lasting partnerships that lead to repeat work and award-winning creative.


Jamie Lamora is Associate Director of Project Management at Cactus, a Denver-based agency and One Club for Creativity Corporate Member.



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