Creating Unity Between Brands and Agencies Through Feedback loops and Radical Candor

Posted on by Miles Marmo

Navigating the marketing world today is like keeping up with a never-ending game of trend-chasing. Things move fast, and staying in sync with clients is crucial. The current landscape reveals significant disconnects; over 50% of CEOs confess they’re not comfortable with modern marketing techniques, according to a McKinsey & Company study, and nearly 66% of CMOs feel that CEOs don’t fully grasp their job roles.

How do we fix this and get back to doing awesome work together? One of the best ways is by establishing strong feedback loops.

Using Radical Candor to Establish Feedback Loops

I’m a firm believer that our relationships are only as good as our communication, and radical candor is a good way to establish strong feedback loops, and thereby good communication, with your clients.

“Radical candor” is a concept developed by corporate executive and author Kim Scott, who describes it as a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of caring personally while challenging directly, and I think it’s a great paradigm to use when thinking about establishing a feedback loop within an agency-client relationship. Radical candor involves providing feedback that is both kind and clear, specific and sincere, and is delivered in a way that encourages growth and improvement.

When marketers offer honest yet empathetic feedback about a client’s unrealistic expectations or flawed strategies, they build trust and demonstrate their commitment to the client’s success. However, it’s important to challenge your clients respectfully, valuing their experience and contributions in order to prevent resentment from building.

For clients, receiving direct yet caring feedback fosters a growth mindset, encouraging them to embrace changes and innovation, keeping them competitive in a rapidly changing market and assuring them that their agency isn’t just telling them what they want to hear.

A transparent and open relationship where both parties feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns enhances collaboration, leading to more creative and effective campaigns in the long run.

Why Feedback Loops Matter—and How to Create Them

Feedback loops are critical in agency-client relationships. They align expectations, help you adjust strategies in real-time, and keep both parties on the same page as project goals evolve. This constant adaptation is key to staying relevant and effective. There are a few ways to create feedback loops.

One way is by hosting regular check-ins with your clients. Regular check-ins are essential, not just for project updates but for fostering open dialogue about what is and isn’t working. These sessions should occur regularly—bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly—tailored to the project’s pace and complexity. Real-time communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams or project management software like Trello are great channels to provide instant feedback and adjustments, keeping workflows dynamic and responsive.

After significant milestones, sending your clients structured feedback forms can provide detailed insights, as long as you encourage completely honest and constructive responses.

It’s important to learn from any critiques you receive from your clients through these feedback loops. Agencies will benefit from constructive criticism by creating better outcomes, while clients will come out on the other side by better aligning their expectations and project visions with market realities and agency expertise.

Making regular check-ins, real-time communication channels and structured feedback a part of every project member’s workflow will help to build team trust, rapport and productivity.

The Perks of a Solid Feedback Loop

Rather than fearing feedback loops, embrace them. Continuous feedback refines strategies and tactics, leads to more effective marketing campaigns as strategies are tweaked and optimized in response to real-time insights.

Maintaining open lines of communication fosters trust and transparency between agencies and clients. This is key for building long-term partnerships where both parties feel secure and valued. Transparency clarifies expectations and encourages honest discussions about project progress and challenges.

When team members from both sides feel heard and see their input influencing project decisions, their engagement and commitment to success naturally increase. This heightened engagement keeps energy levels high throughout the project, even during challenging phases.

A well-structured feedback loop also enables faster problem resolution. By identifying and addressing issues early, it helps prevent minor setbacks from becoming major obstacles, smoothing the path to project completion. This proactive problem-solving approach saves time and resources and avoids the stress of unexpected hurdles while strengthening the relationship.

Building a Collaborative Culture

Effective feedback loops are essential for successful agency-client relationships. They promote continuous improvement and adaptation, which are crucial in the fast-paced world of digital marketing. Investing in robust feedback mechanisms enhances collaboration, ensuring agencies and clients work together towards innovative solutions that meet and exceed market needs. Unity is fostered not by the absence of disagreements but through the constructive resolution of challenges, keeping every project on track and everyone honest in the process.

Miles Marmo is Co-Founder of Agency Squid.


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