The Key to Managing Multiple Advertising Agencies? Dive In!

August 8, 2019 | Lorraine Stewart

Ever feel the energy of an end-of-summer competitive swim meet? Seasoned swimmers cut fast through the water, striving towards achieving their personal best. They know their individual effort also contributes to overall team performance. Swimmers will realize the smoothest glide when they stay centered in their lane. If they stray off the mark they become less efficient (and risk serious head butting).

Marketers today manage their teams of resources in fluid, agile work environments. Information continuously flows from one marketing supplier to the next and back again. Their creative and media agency partners strive for their personal best but are required to execute in tandem with others. CMOs who direct the efforts of multiple advertising agencies can win big with good practice habits and clear swim lanes. Everyone can succeed, and get along (swimmingly).

Try these five strategies to impact better agency integration and realize epic team performance.

#1. Setting the Race Pace

A single, system-wide calendaring framework helps multiple advertising agencies get organized, find their mark and pace their efforts. Everyone benefits from a holistic view of all planned marketing activity.

  • Use a marketing scheduling platform all suppliers can access to understand integrated marketing activity and milestones. Check out Monday.com
  • Break out a version of the planned schedule by discipline; e.g., media channels/platforms, public relations, digital campaigns, promotional periods, localized efforts.
  • Enable agencies to “streamline their form” with a RACI responsibility legend used to describe the role of every partner in completing tasks for a project or process. Delineate the primary agency Responsible for the activity on the schedule. Note agency teams that are Accountable, Consulted or Informed.

#2. Touch Pads for Progress

The best swimmers hit the touch pad each time they turn, recording time intervals of their progress.

  • Schedule regular status check-ins with the key leaders across agency partners;
  • Conduct group calls to review the current calendar, plan efforts for upcoming campaigns and agree to other actions for making key dates and deliverables.
  • Rotate the agency integration team leader or moderator role so everyone can shine.
  • Agencies that are accountable to each other and present to others will apply their best efforts.

#3. The Practice Log Book

Good practice habits often influence the way we perform when it counts. It’s hard for multiple advertising agencies to practice good habits together until a client defines the work flow inter-dependencies that apply across the team.

  • Create visual integrated work flow process maps 
  • Designate enough lead time for approval processes and client check points.
  • Share quality Data to monitor the progress towards the things that matter the most
  • Address team conflicts and problems with agreed-upon methods

#4. Eye The Finish Line

When swimming backstroke, athletes gauge how close they are to the finish using flags that hang above the pool. Agency partners also benefit from knowing how close they are to the finish line – but to do so requires an understanding of what defines the win. Start with a clear definition the advertiser’s goals.

These goals in turn influence the external integrated agency team goals.

  • Structure a measurement framework as part of the team culture.
  • Establish common benchmarks/KPIs. This task can be complicated so start with the top three outcomes that everyone can understand and align to; You can’t go wrong with sales increases, new customer acquisition or brand health measures to start.
  • Add in seasonal campaign goals /digital metrics that should be easy to identify.
  • Design a team scorecard and publish it across the roster of agency partners.

#5. Banquets, Blue Ribbons & Bonuses

Marketing leaders who manage multiple agency resources can cultivate a more collaborative culture by rewarding team behavior and performance.  There are many ways to motivate, recognize, and reward agency teams that work well together.

Let’s Do Lunch

When is the last time you invited all of your agency partners to lunch, together? If never, why not?

A well- functioning team requires that agency partners feel valued and secure in their roles. Creating a collaborative team-based culture requires recruiting the right mix of partners, and then investing effort in full team building and agency appreciation events.

  • Name the team of agency partners that are a part of your coalition
  • Invite the team of agency partners into the organization for increased visibility
  • Publicly thank high performing agency partners for their good work

Yes, Money Matters

Agency partners that feel fairly compensated are in a position to assign their top talent to the business.

Implementing an agency peer review is a great way to provide feedback and improve performance among current suppliers, with the intent of identifying continuous improvement opportunities.

It’s also important to:

Standardize the compensation methodology across the external supplier set for consistency and equity.

  • Use industry rate data to benchmark agency fees
  • Negotiate reasonable contractual terms; pays agency invoices on time
  • Budget for a financial bonus for achievement of team goals

Dive In~ the Water’s fine

The good news is today’s marketing leaders can develop the skills and culture to rewire their many agency partners and enable faster collaboration. They do so by thinking holistically about their roster of agency partners, defining swim lanes, and then developing good practice habits on how to work together towards successful outcomes.

Yikes! Not able to lunch with all your agency partners together without a little indigestion?

ROJEK Consulting offers brand-building companies a proven and proprietary agency recruitment process called CultureScan as a way to build a talented team of agency partners across all disciplines; ones that will align with your company culture and work well with each other on your behalf.

Head into 2020 with confidence you have the right marketing and advertising partners in place dedicated to your success.