When I think of any relationship, I always believe that it is meant to last. Otherwise it should not have begun. While the initial phase of any relationship is certainly a testing time (as for human being involved, equally so for partnerships) but you need to have realistic benchmark to judge efficacy of a relation.
My views are in specific context of client agency relationship which can be a beautiful partnership, or can be a failed relationship. A lot depends on deliverables from both the partner in any relationship.
As a client one is expected to deliver very critical component of the deal - and no it is NOT BUDGETS. Need for the communication and objectives to be achieved from the communication according to me are the most important deliverables from the client.
Agency has to gear up to deliver this to the client, which becomes a second important step towards a succesful partnership. Invariably problems start at this stage.
As a media practitioner I often wonder about my deliverables to the client. Being in a service Industry, beyond the concrete deliverables, I think the key differentiator is deliverables on time.
As a service provider it is very important to respect deadlines,and commit to the job taken in hand. Afterall a lot depends on your commitment to a client. Client makes his assesments/deadline setting post you committing to him.
This however starts a new debate in my mind.
What if the agency is expected to deliver quality service, at impossible pricing, and at break neck speed.
And if that becomes your benchmarking tool against a not so worthy competitor.
This however is the way few clients perceive at agency business. And I dont blame clients for that. Onus is on us agency guys to understand what we stand for. We certainly are not factories delivering a batch of media deliverables at 24 x 7 x 365 pace.
If I step back and look at my deliverables as an OOH Media professional, it is impactful, meaningful and competitive media deliverables. I think the deliverables are strictly in that order. Any change in priority of deliverables is not an agency working, it is a production unit with low cost inputs to deliver a sub standard product.
While I subscribe to the views that budgets may vary from campaign to campaign, but the basic premise should remain the same. Because being competitive does not neseccarily mean being "Cheap" or "Lesser Priced".