Your Guide to Making Sure Client Goals and Objectives Don't Get Lost in Translation

Dec 07, 2023

Agencies often have one person in charge of client communication, which often leads to communication breakdowns and gaps in the work performed. Inside an agency many people are touching various aspects of a client account and miscommunication often happens because everyone doesn’t know the client’s goals and objectives. Agency partners are in the service business. At the end of the day, the level of service that a client receives directly correlates to how long the client stays with the agency and how many referrals for new clients the agency receives.

Everyone can’t be in every single meeting, so unification of the team needs to be a top priority. A great way to think about this is to imagine the coach of a football team not sharing the playbook. The game day strategy probably wouldn’t be executed very well and everyone from the players to team owners would be frustrated. When these communication breakdowns happen with an agency team, it frustrates clients and reflects poorly on the agency. 

Client Communication

Clients expect that their agency is acting as a cohesive unit and that if they give one person an update, the entire team will ultimately receive it. They assume that someone on the team is in charge of overseeing their account and treating it like their baby. This point person is responsible for sharing information across the agency team.

There are a few common reasons that a client’s goals and objectives typically get lost in translation. 

  • Missing context. Agencies typically do a great job of sharing facts and data, client requests and surface level goals and objectives with their teams. However, sharing underlying pieces of context affect the team’s success and how goals and objectives are met. Not discussing them can result in teams not being successful. Everyone comes to the table with different skill sets, experience levels, and backgrounds, causing them to look at the same client from a different lens. Context helps everyone stay on the same page and work towards the goal as a cohesive unit.
  • Poor timing. Client information should be shared when it’s received, not when issues arise. Not sharing client information until something goes wrong, creates a barrier to everyone on the team accomplishing goals.
  • Sometimes people forget. It sounds silly but it happens all the time. Agency teams have a lot going on and people can just forget to share things with the team before jumping into the next important activity. 
  • The client’s goals were never clearly defined. The client lead on an agency team needs to be clear on what the goals and objectives are in order to share them. 

Unification needs to be a core focus inside of agencies. The good news is that each of the reasons that client goals and objectives get lost in translation can be easily solved by implementing a few, simple strategies. 

The number one way to ensure that client goals and objectives are being clearly communicated across the team is to make information sharing a habit. Everyone working inside of an agency is busy, and making information sharing part of the team’s daily workflow ensures that information is being shared consistently and effectively. There are a few, key strategies we see agencies use and have the most success with when integrating information sharing into their workflows. 

  • Align the team during kick off meetings. Sharing information when client kick off meetings take place ensures that everyone has the information they need before the work even begins. Share the strategy presented to the client and tack on a few minutes to the end of the meeting to answer any questions or provide necessary context to your team.
  • Share all client assets when they are compiled. Make sure everyone has access to client assets to gain information on their own and use as a reference down the line. Having the ability to reference client information empowers the team to work as independently as possible before having to ask questions.   
  • Create project and campaign briefs. This is a great way to brief the team on all information relevant to a client. These briefs typically include a 2-3 sentence snapshot, goals and objectives, helpful context, key information the team can use, KPIs, metrics, a general timeline, roles, and responsibilities.

Our posts on crystal clear communication and a step by step guide to efficiently leading client meetings, both have helpful strategies that can be implemented here as well. 

Being a great agency partner requires the team to run like a well-oiled machine. Ensuring that the entire team is well informed on a client’s goals and objectives only increases the likelihood of success on client work and, ultimately, long-term client retention.

If you’d like to learn more from the Advocation team on best practices for PR & marketing agency teams, follow us on social media   Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.