Strap on your seatbelts, folks, the wild ride that is marketing planning season is underway.
An important step in the annual planning process is determining what additional capabilities your marketing team needs in order to deploy strategies aligned with the business objectives planned for the year ahead.
Clearly each company has unique outside marketing support needs that stem from things like internal bandwidth and skillsets, evolving program needs, business/product maturity level and available budgets, etc.
For many B2B brands, it’s not uncommon to have multiple agency partners to help support larger initiatives and campaigns. Understandably, managing multiple agencies can be tricky and time consuming. However, when roles are well defined, having several partners can be incredibly valuable in generating new ideas, improving speed and scaling programs.
If you’re engaging multiple agencies with specialized services, such as PR, branding, design, video, digital/print advertising, etc., keep in mind you’ll get the most out of your agency partners when they too can collaborate on your behalf. And beware, some agencies “play nice in the sandbox” better than others.
To get the maximum benefit out of this collective agency approach, look for partners who are open to and comfortable with the following.
- Joint brainstorms and planning jam sessions – The adage that two heads are better than one holds true when agency teams bring their different areas of expertise together early on. Often times, our team at Inprela will participate in planning meetings with our client’s other agency partners to build a cohesive strategy that supports the client’s overarching marketing objectives. Joining forces right out of the gate – perhaps over a cold beer…or two – can help establish open lines of communication between teams and bring about program efficiencies at the project onset. That puts everyone on a clear path to success and makes your life as the client easier.
- Candidness about program planning – When agency partners are required to go through the planning process solo, it’s extremely helpful when plan highlights are shared amongst agency partners so teams can identify areas of synergy.
Each team is more productive when they’re aware of what others are working on and can integrate efforts. Sharing results, successes and areas that may need adjustment can also improve the overall program, while helping eliminate the, “I had no idea they were working on that,” surprise.
One of our clients helps facilitate this by hosting two All Agency Summits during the year – one that allows each agency the opportunity to share account-specific successes and best practices and another to present plans for the upcoming year. This provides insights into each marketing discipline’s strategies to support our client’s marketing objectives and the tactics they want to deploy. Hearing it first-hand helps guide inter-agency collaboration and more seamless execution.
- Connecting regularly on program updates – Keeping everyone in the loop can give each team’s work extra legs to perform better. From a PR standpoint, many thought leadership articles can be leveraged through a variety of channels to maximize the reach and impact. In order for your brand to be pervasive to your audiences, agencies should be open to connecting regularly on program updates and new content in the pipeline that can be shared across social channels, leveraged as a call to action in digital advertising, repurposed for owned and earned media or deployed in marketing automation programs.
Agency partners that check egos at the door and are willing to collaborate will reap efficiencies and goodwill that also benefit their clients.
If it’s difficult to know if your agency is a team player, make it a prerequisite to work with you and encourage a collaborative environment from the start. You’ll appreciate the results in the long run.
For B2B healthcare and manufacturing companies looking for a PR agency who can not only help elevate your marketing programs, but also collaborate well with other agency partners to develop high-impact, fully integrated programs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We enjoy making new friends!