Taking and giving feedback is never easy. When you give constructive feedback you have to be careful about how you phrase certain words. Sounding mean and bitter is something that you never want to do, especially in a business partnership.
But still, you need to share your point of view so your collaboration with other businesses can be as fruitful as possible. After all, your partner (in this case being the marketing agency you are doing business with) needs to be aligned with your business goals and know what to do to stay on brand. On your brand more exactly.
Receiving feedback is just as hard. Whenever we hear words of criticism, we tend to take them personally. It takes a lot of time, confidence, and self-control to not let feedback negatively impact the way you see yourself, the way you see your work, and the way you see your business partner.
But even with all the confidence, it’s hard to trust that you’re doing a good job when feedback is given in a brash or fleeting manner. This is why learning how to deliver constructive criticism is a skill that every business needs to master.
The Importance of Good Feedback
We keep hearing time and time again that receiving feedback is important. But hearing this might not be enough for you. Because if you are anything like us, you might wonder why exactly is feedback so important?
Now, feedback is something that we start receiving from childhood. We first receive it from our family, usually our parents, grandparents, or siblings. Then we receive it from our teachers, and then from employers and friends.
Notice that just above we mentioned employers. This is because we know feedback holds a lot of significance in the workplace. 96% of employees say that they want to hear feedback regularly. And your marketing agency partners are no different.
As long as it is given positively, people love hearing feedback on their work. The main reason for this is because, in the workplace, employees are always striving to improve the quality of their work and their skills. But these are not the only benefits.
Receiving feedback has a lot of advantages, especially in a business partnership, and we’re here to cover some of those benefits:
1. Feedback Keeps Everybody on Track
Imagine this scenario: you hire a marketing agency and you give them all of the materials that you think they might need. But from there on, you stop being involved and invested in their progress. After all, isn’t this why you hired a team of digital marketers in the first place? To get this marketing business off of your shoulders?
Well, not exactly. Although getting digital marketing services will help you overall, you can’t rip yourself from the whole process. Especially in the beginning, when the marketing team is still learning more about your business.
Going back to the previous scenario, you finally take a look at the marketing campaigns that you have running and you realize that it’s not even remotely something that you wanted.
This can be blamed on the lack of feedback. You didn’t tell your team of digital marketers what you liked and didn’t like about their ideas and now it’s already too late.
This is why checking what your marketing team is doing and giving feedback regularly is a must.
2. Feedback Improves Business Partnerships
Giving feedback doesn’t only ensure that everybody is on board with the marketing campaigns and strategies that are being crafted by the marketing team. It also creates solid business bonds between your business and the marketing agency you hired.
By giving (and in some cases receiving) feedback, you will be able to:
- Keep communication going between your business and the marketing or social media marketing companies.
- Promote transparency and create a relationship built on trust, respect, and communication.
- Enable a long-lasting partnership between your business and the marketing agency.
3. Feedback Motivates your Marketing Team
Did this ever happen to you?
You start a long-term project and at first, you’re excited, motivated, productive, and ready to take any challenge head-on. But as you work more and more on that project, you start getting discouraged.
Why is that?
You are good at your job and you know that for a fact. But it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook when you are receiving little to no feedback. You will start doubting yourself and your work, and you will see your motivation decrease with each passing day.
This can happen with your digital marketing team. Now, let’s change the situation a little bit. Let’s say that you were given constant feedback on your work. You have been told you’re doing good, and you have been told the areas that you need to improve.
Wouldn’t this make you feel more confident in your abilities as a marketer? The answer is more likely yes.
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4. Feedback Stimulates Learning
People who have received a lot of feedback will know that not all feedback is positive. Maybe you didn’t have a good day or week, or maybe you just didn’t understand your assignment. There might be something that slipped through the cracks and you didn’t notice. It happens to the best of us.
But somebody else will notice it. And they will give you constructive criticism. This is the perfect opportunity to take a look at your work, analyze it, and see how you can improve it.
You will have to perfect your work, and in many cases, this means learning new skills or gaining more knowledge about various fields. The more your marketing agency learns, the better they will do with marketing campaigns.
5. Feedback Is Great To Track Progress
There are many methods to track feedback, but one of the most efficient ways is by keeping reports of the feedback that you give. Once you do this, you can take a look in retrospect and notice the following things:
- A full picture of your progress, starting with the moment the project began and continuing to the present moment
- The way your marketing team adapted its marketing processes so they better fit your business
- The areas that had the most issues
- The areas they excelled in
- Your interaction with the marketing department
How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Marketing Agency Partner?
Now, we went over the benefits of having access to feedback, but there is a catch.
The catch is that to get all the benefits feedback has to offer, you must first give good, constructive feedback. If you word certain phrases wrong, you might come off as arrogant, brash, and demanding.
This is why you need to know how to deliver feedback in a way in which your marketing agency partner gets the message, but is not insulted by it. This is a balance that is difficult to reach, but we have a few tricks that will make you a pro at giving good feedback.
1. Be Consistent
We briefly talked about consistency when presenting the first benefit of feedback. We have seen that if you lack consistency, then your marketing team will not know the direction you want to take.
You will not be on the same page with your assigned marketing team and by the time you will look into their work, it will be too late. To prevent this from happening, try to give your marketing team consistent updates.
You can give your feedback weekly or biweekly, and in case you have some marketing campaigns that require a higher level of involvement, such as social media marketing, you can do it even more often.
It is advisable to give as much feedback as possible in the beginning so that your partnering marketing agency gets the hang of your brand. Once you see that they have mastered everything, from brand voice to brand image, you can try reducing the frequency of your involvement.
2. Organize Meetings
Don’t be afraid to meet your marketing team face to face, be that in the office, or in an online meeting. Although written communication has many perks (brief, to the point, trackable, etc), meetings are equally beneficial.
Meetings are a great way of exchanging information because tonality and facial expressions are present. Unlike messages or emails, where things can be easily misinterpreted, you will be able to speak your mind and clear out any misunderstandings or miscommunications.
This is also a perfect opportunity for you to get closer to your team of digital marketers and get to know them better.
3. Strive for Balance
In many ways, giving feedback is much harder than receiving it. You have to take into consideration a lot of factors. For example, you want your marketing team to know your opinion, but you don’t want to come off too strong.
A suggestive way of giving constructive feedback is by using the compliment sandwich. The concept behind this is pretty simple. You start out with a word of praise, then give your criticism. Once you finish with the criticism, you end the discussion with another praise.
What’s worth mentioning is that your praises and your criticisms should hold equal significance. This means that if you are going to offer rougher criticism, your praises need to hold value and make the person on the receiving end feel appreciated.
4. Never Make It Personal
When giving feedback, never make remarks about the person whose work you have analyzed. Be mindful of the fact that you are reviewing somebody’s work, and not somebody’s work practices and ethics.
Instead, try to get to the bottom of the issue at hand. Check to see if there have been some recurring mistakes and patterns and see what can be done to rectify the situation.
To put things into perspective, here’s an example: your digital marketer created some social media posts for your business. You noticed that they forgot to add the hashtags for the Instagram posts. Now, you won’t tell your marketer that they are careless. Instead, you can kindly ask them to proofread everything they post on social media from now on.
5. Make Use of Emotional Intelligence
Many times, the way we feel directly impacts the way others feel. Before delivering your feedback, make sure you are calm. Nervousness or anger are easy to pick up and you don’t want to worry your digital marketer.
Before delivering your feedback, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would they feel receiving your criticism? Will it make them feel bad, or will they be thankful for this learning opportunity?
Managing your emotions and practicing empathy and compassion with not only get you the trust of your team of marketers but will also increase productivity and motivation levels.
If you want to establish a great collaboration with your partnering marketing agency, then giving feedback is unavoidable. But we hope that with this set of tips that we have shared with you, you will be able to give constructive feedback and get the results that you want.
Now, you just need to find the perfect marketing agency partner.