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Published September 22nd 2014

Q&A: Speaking to Jono Marcus on ‘50 Ways To Happier Clients’

Why did you feel the need to write 50 Ways To Happier Clients? This book was born out of endless cross agency meetings I have sat in where I witnessed people employed as account handlers and often specifically digital account handlers who were not fit for purpose. They were wasted space at the table.

Many agencies we work with use the Brandwatch platform to help their clients make better business decisions, and ultimately, make them happier. However, sometimes this isn’t enough. We caught up with Jono Marcus who has quite literally written the book on client handling – ’50 Ways To Happier Clients’ – and asked him a few questions.

As a digital expert is there a reason you haven’t chosen to focus solely on digital business in your book ’50 Ways To Happier Clients’?

Most of the briefs that have come into my agency over the last two years have required a fully digital or partly digital response, also incorporating experiential, paid media, PR and content creation elements.

Great client handling involves navigating these briefs through and providing cross-discipline work, not just giving a standalone solution to every brief.

Whatever will solve that client’s business challenge.

Great cliens handlers have as much in common with management consultants as they have with experts in more specific strands of marketing, like social media.

What is the key piece of advice you would urge those all the way from juniors to CEOs in agencies to take out of your book?

Whatever level you are at in your agency take it on yourself to lead – put in the time to stay one step ahead in terms of knowledge and keep your word.

The importance of keeping your word is massively underestimated, but gravitas (which is crucial to a great client handler) comes not only from your position in a company or natural energy, but from evidencing that you take your word seriously.

Or as my old English teacher used to say: “I choose my words carefully. As such I say what I mean; and I mean what I say”.

You say in the book that an agency should never “fee-grab”, but isn’t generating more fee a crucial part of the job?

A client will spend far more money with your agency over a five year relationship, where they trust that you have their best interests at heart, than can ever be achieved in a one or two year fee grabbing splurge.

Agencies that don’t believe in their own ability to attract clients, try and grab fees in fast.

Those that know they do great work and that they will more often than not win and keep clients, focus solely on making decisions in regard to their clients that show integrity from start to finish.

If you do even half the things in my book on a day to day basis you will automatically grow clients spend with your agency.

Which tech/software adds value for agencies clients? 

Any technology or software that allows the agency to provide time or resource efficiencies, without quality falling, saving the client money, makes them happy.

However, to be specific, a number of my clients now use Facebook management solutions in-house, such as Buddy Media and Wildfire. For high level reporting some of my clients like Sprout Social combined with Google Analytics.


Historically, I have worked with my agencies to create new tools bespoke for major clients, that will allow them to most usefully evaluate their brand’s performance online, assess who their key influencers are or share content, assets or information over the course of web development and design projects.

How important is it for an agency to innovate?

Innovation is not the 100% be all and end all, despite it being the coolest thing to discuss and certainly an important component.

To quote my friend whom I much admire, Faris Yakob:

“That which was new before soon becomes old, especially in an industry rife with neophilia and internal inspiration”.

An agency must try to be the best at what it is offering a client right now and it must keep an eye on what the future may hold for its clients. I am certainly unimpressed by agency CEOs who say “well we can’t really invest in innovation or new areas, because we live in an age where no one knows what the future holds”.

Agencies must be bold and tread where their clients may fear to and then reach a guiding hand back to support them on that journey.

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