Setting Expectations in Your Agency

So now that you have the client on track, you, as the client-facing individual – which for simplicity I’ll call the AE – are charged with getting the ball rolling by outlining your own set of expectations inside the agency. (I know that in some agencies the client can have contact with anybody – I can’t even go there.)

So it should go like this: I want X (defined in a brief or at least a job order), by Y specified date and time, there are Z dollars to get this done. You have just set your expectations. What. When. Budget.

In my world, the PM would review the specifics, get you an estimate and confirm resources – right away – and notify you whether it is a GO or a NO.

But you would know that already, because you checked with the PM first. Can we do X by Y date for Z dollars? You are my favorite AE already.

If you have fulfilled the troika of essentials, the job is good to go.

But, alas – how many times have any of the three essentials been either tweaked, violated or completely ignored in your agency?

If you have good agency management tools in place, and people are playin’ by the rules (aka compliance), the deviation is quickly detectable.

As I mentioned here before – no one has a right to spend agency money without approval. That means, scope, timeline and budget are not defiled by an individuals’ decision to tweak a project.

If there’s a better idea, better anything – just have a discussion with the AE and PM – that’s all it takes to ensure there is room, or time, and/or budget to give the client…more.

Expectations can be the minimum, but when we’re dealing with what the client asked for, what we agreed to – exceeding them – especially in a creative environment – does need advance clearance if it affects scope, timeline or budget. It’s a quick conversation. Got it?

The dark side is not setting expectations. No regard for time or budget – and you walk over to someone who’s busy and you’re giving them direction – verbally – bypassing your PM.

Because it was faster

Well this causes grief, confusion and additional cost – jeopardizing the projects with expectations.

Have you ever noticed how well that usually works out? Rarely cost effective.

Be a good citizen. Set clear expectations. That means, do your paperwork, and engage your PM. You will get what you want, when you want it, at the specified budget.

How easy is that? Be my favorite AE.