Playing Nice: Why multi-agency collaboration is a must

Katie Peters

Account Director

Monday, April 2, 2018

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To us marketers, it goes without saying that our job has to be collaborative. At Intrinzic, our entire business model is built around this. But, collaborating isn’t just imperative to the work we do with each other and with our clients, it is a skill we need to hone with partners and even our competitors. Because no matter what the form, and whether we’re creating traditional or digital marketing, the need for collaboration and unification across design, content and media is stronger than ever. And with the complexity and choice of media channels, there are a lot more moving parts than ever before.

One of the first things we can do to be successful partners with our clients is recognize our own limitations and work around them. Our clients are the experts in their fields. We, as agency partners, are not. Which means we have to get up to speed quickly by researching and asking questions, defining success criteria based on our findings, and utilizing the resources necessary to execute against that criteria. Gone are the days of the “one stop shop” agencies, which means those resources aren’t at our fingertips or even in our office, so we have to rely on strategic partnerships outside of our four walls.

Intrinzic recently had the opportunity to partner with an architecture and interior design firm to create the brand strategy and design aesthetic for a premium boutique hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. This collaboration allowed us to work side by side with the interior design group at Cincinnati-based CR Architecture + Design to create the vision for the hotel.

The partnership came about organically, as CR had been a client of ours previously. They had been hired by a hospitality company to execute the design for a newly acquired hotel, but the hotel needed more than just a new look for its physical space, it needed a reason to be — a positioning, a story, a name, and a strategy — to bring it to life across multiple marketing channels including its website. CR knew that the branding and marketing aspect was outside their field of expertise. Because of the work we did with creating CR’s brand messaging, they reached out to us to help them with the job. The opportunity allowed us to work not just with the hotel owners, but also with the CR’s interior designers to collaboratively bring the new hotel to life.

The need for collaboration goes beyond just in the traditional marketing and advertising spaces. There is an even greater need for collaboration when it comes to managing content marketing for clients who need to deliver customized content to specific audiences based on real-time analytics and constantly changing data. While this data informs media decisions, it also informs creative, whether we’re promoting products or services. Clients need the best creative across all consumer touchpoints, which requires many areas of expertise working in tandem.

Reflecting back on the hotel branding and design project, I think back to why it went so smoothly and how together, our partner agencies were able to get to quick alignment from the client. It comes down to these 5 basic principles that should be employed no matter what type of partnership:

1 Establish Connection & Ensure all partners are present

Use the initial discovery phase to listen to client needs and align to the goals, strategies and tactics needed to execute.

2 Align Early

Review each partner’s recommendations and plans early on to ensure strategies align.

3 Connect Often

Schedule regular touchpoints to share creative from all partners and refine as necessary.

4 Create a Path

Create detailed timelines with clear deadlines for all parties.

5 Plan and Execute

Review final recommendations with all agency partners before presenting to the client. Use that meeting to align all partners to the presentation style and flow.

Working collaboratively for a shared client is critical to their success, especially as clients have leaner marketing departments and more responsibilities than in years past. Thus, the burden is on us, their agencies, to know our limitations and ensure collaboration, because when we share a client, we also share the ultimate responsibility of helping those clients win in their markets.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

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