Why Personalization Matters for Creative Agencies

Personalization is essential today for every business — creative agencies included. Research in the B2B marketing industry shows that buyers significantly value ideas that are personalized, and therefore more relevant and engaging, to their business. They want to work with providers who can personalize services to their specific industry, needs, geographic area, competitive landscape and more.

Alt-Text: ITSMA survey results showing that B2B buyers value personalized ideas.

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Personalization for creative agencies is also a multi-layered undertaking — they not only have to personalize for their direct clients, but for their client’s audiences as well. In this article, we’ll explore what that looks like in practice and 4 specific ways that you can execute personalization effectively for your clients.

Quick Takeaways

  • Personalization for creative agencies requires striking the right balance between best-practice standardization and meeting clients’ unique needs.
  • Thorough onboarding and briefing processes help agencies get to know their clients and personalize more effectively throughout their working relationship.
  • It’s helpful to define ICPs and buyer personas with your clients so you can craft content deliverables that resonate with their audiences.
  • Remaining flexible in small ways (that don’t impact results) can go a long way with clients.

What does personalization mean for creative agencies in practice?

For agencies, personalization is all about balance. It’s essential to personalize, but impossible to customize everything for every client — and it’s not a good idea to try.

Process standardization, proven best practices, and a new perspective from what the client is used to — these are all benefits that agencies deliver for clients and shouldn’t be sacrificed in an attempt to tailor to every single client request.

Instead, personalization for creative agencies is all about getting to know your client and their customers, understanding their goals, and aligning your services, processes, and other deliverables (within reason) to their unique goals and needs. Let’s look at some specific ways you can do this successfully for your clients.

How Agencies Can Nail their Personalization Strategy (and Help Clients Do the Same)

Execute an effective onboarding process

Onboarding new clients sets the foundation for a successful working relationship. It’s their first impression of you as your client (and not a potential buyer), and it gives you the opportunity to get to know their brand, their goals, and the team you’ll be working with.

From a personalization perspective, an onboarding process tells your client from the start that you’re willing to invest time and effort in them specifically to help them succeed.

It’s also the perfect time to establish the all-important balance mentioned in the last section. You can go over processes and best practices, establish expectations, and learn more about any questions, potential challenges, or preferences your client may have.

Have an excellent briefing process

A briefing process provides an opportunity for your client to share everything they want you to know about them. In the creative world, this typically comes in the form of a briefing document — a one- or two-page document in which your client gives an overview of their brand, goals, audience, competitors, challenges, current state, and more.

A briefing document often includes details and even examples for creators about the style of content your client prefers. It’s helpful in many cases for client and agency teams to complete the brief together and use it as a discussion guide through the process. 

When it’s complete, you can use it as a resource for personalizing content to align with your client’s unique brand and needs.

There are tons of great briefing document templates available to give you inspiration for your own or that you can customize for your agency (like the one below from HubSpot).

Alt-Text: Client creative brief template from HubSpot.

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Define the end-customer together

Just as you have ideal client profiles and buyer personas you target in your B2B marketing, your client has their own. The thing is, you can’t always know how well your client has defined them and/or how accurate they really are. This plays a significant role in how well you can craft personalized content to resonate with their audiences.

It’s a good idea to go through the ICP and buyer persona frameworks with your client as a preparation exercise for content creation or campaign development. Similarly to the briefing process, you can use ICP templates to ensure you get the right information from your client about their ideal customers.

Below is a good example that marketing agency Kalungi shares with their clients.

Alt-Text: ICP template from marketing agency Kalungi.

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Be flexible when you can

Finally, develop standardized options so that you can personalize the working relationship you have with your client while maintaining best practice standards that you know work best. In other words — be flexible when you can.

Some easy examples: Perhaps your team sends a monthly report with a standard set of metrics to measure progress, but there are a few additional KPIs your client wants to include. Sure thing — include them! In another case, you may conduct your monthly meetings during the first week of the month, but your client prefers a mid-month check-in. Adjust your calendar to do it!

Of course, you need to consider what your agency and team can handle, but the point is this: if your client has a request that doesn’t negatively impact their results or your bandwidth, try your best to meet their request. When clients feel like you’re willing to personalize the process to align with their needs, they’re likely to be more satisfied overall with your agency.

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