When you have an international business with in-country teams speaking different languages and with different cultures, it is not easy to manage your company’s global digital activities, have one voice, keep your colleagues happy but also bring results.
Using a multilingual search agency definitely helps you save time, keep on top of everything, be consistent, but still run country specific activities and allow your in-country experts to communicate in their own language.
Getting the best out of your multilingual digital agency can sometimes be difficult, especially when there are a lot of internal stakeholders with different expectations and KPIs.
In this article I would like to focus on how to get the best of your meetings with your agency. I have a lot of clients and colleagues who says they are in meetings all day to the extent that they never get to do their jobs anymore and feel that some meetings could be avoided or structured differently to help them be more efficient.
Here is what you can do to avoid unnecessary follow-up meetings and get the best out of a meeting with your multilingual search agency:
Brief your Account Manager on who will attend the meeting
It is very important to inform your agency who is going to be in the meeting and what their roles are in the company. Make sure you highlight the role of each person and what they want to take away from the meeting.
If you invite one of your Country Managers, please let your agency know so that they can also get their language specialists in. This will not only help your agency “speak your language” (sometimes literally) but determine whether they should have a technical or top level approach when preparing for the meeting.
There are 2 aspects to keep in mind when communicating the list of attendees: seniority and what they are specialised in
A country manager would expect someone that can speak his/her language, understand his/her culture and can explain the performance in that country and what could have affected it.
A paid search specialist that takes care of a campaign in a specific country, will probably want to be able to discuss his/her concern with his counterpart within the agency.
And if you are bringing the big boss along, they probably will not want to hear all the detail, but might be looking for a high-level overview or want to focus on the results.
Define the agenda and put everything in context
Your Account Manager will need to prepare for the meeting but a successful meeting depends on you as well. Only if you tell him/her what you want to discuss will he/she be able to prepare accordingly.
The more detailed you can be the more likely it is that you will not waste your time in a meeting.
If you do not know what you want, do not expect your Account Manager to guess it. Do not assume that the agency will know what you want to achieve and how; they work with different clients on a day-to-day basis, each business is different has different KPIs, capacity and long term plans. The agency can offer you a strategy on how to achieve your goals but you need to know what your goals are.
Once you have decided what you want to discuss, please try to put everything in context.
For example if you had a drop in the traffic coming from a certain country and would like your agency to advise you what the issue may be and how to fix it, make sure you tell them everything you have done on your website. If you have migrated to a new CMS, moved to CcTLDs, or changed some URLs, please make sure you inform your agency about it. This can change the angle completely and avoid sending the discussion in the wrong direction. Getting the developers or specialists in the meeting may be a good idea if you do not feel comfortable explaining all these.
A lot of companies’ marketing efforts are split between different departments, but this does not mean digital marketing is isolated from your other marketing efforts; they influence each other and should be seen as a seamless process.
Make sure you inform your agency of any additional marketing activities you are working on or have just finished (even if it is just about distributing some flyers with your URL on them)
Advise on how much time you have
This will help your agency decide what to prepare, how detailed and in what format.
If they asses that the agenda is too long they might come back to suggest a longer meeting or splitting the content into 2 meetings (maybe discuss different countries in different meetings). Equally if they see there will be some time left, they can ask what else you would like to discuss
Communicate your priorities
If a particular point on the agenda is of special interest, please let your agency know so that they detail that as much as possible. The meeting can then start with that point to make sure it gets fully addressed.
If there is someone in your team that needs to leave earlier inform your Account Manager so that they ensure that person gets what they need from the meeting before leaving.
If, for some reason the meeting is shortened, make sure you establish your priorities; do not try to stick to the same agenda as you will not be able to cover anything in-depth.
Monthly manual report
When we are working on your PPC campaign, it can be useful for you to understand exactly what we are doing and the results our efforts are having on your campaign performance. At the end of every month, we will produce a report detailing our actions from the last month, our future action plan, and in-depth analysis of your campaign data including details about your KPI in graph and table form. This report will be sent to you in a PowerPoint, Word or PDF format.
Ask questions before the meeting
If you already have questions, there is no need to wait for the meeting to ask them, do it before. This way your agency has enough time to prepare and give you a comprehensive answer.
Any additional information that you can provide (e.g. documents, reports, examples, login details) would be useful in getting a comprehensive answer to your questions.
Discuss the next steps and be clear and realistic with deadlines
Before the meeting finishes make sure you discuss the next steps and what your expectations are. If your agency needs to follow up on a topic be realistic with the deadline you give them. Pushing your agency to do something quickly does not mean quality. If they do not have enough time to prepare, it is difficult to put together something comprehensive.
….and one more:
Do not be late!
Also, if you have a conference call and have invited some of your colleagues from other countries, keep in mind that they are from different time zones and it can be very late or early for them.
Working with a multilingual digital agency is a two-way relationship. By knowing what you need and explaining your concerns, needs and issues as detailed as possible will help you get the most out of this relationship.
By being very clear and well prepared when working with your agency, you can reduce the time you spend in meeting and increase productivity. It is just a matter of understanding that by doing your bit you help both sides save time and money and most importantly get the best results you can.
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