Level up your Partnerships with Collaboration

In this Blog:

  • Articulate the distinct value each partner brings
  • Don’t share pricing and terms
  • Create opportunities for communication and celebration

If we’re being honest, marketers make the best partners.  We know we have limited resources and high demand for our capacity.  Because of this, marketing directors have figured out how to curate teams that expand bandwidth and meet demand (all within budget).  Consultants in public relations, media buying, and creative services are some of the most common, but specialization in strategic planning, trade show exhibitions, research, sustainability, branding, digital analytics, and other emerging technologies like AR/VR, AI integration, or animation are more commonplace than ever before.  While we are great at managing the 1:1 relationships – what you may not be doing is unifying everyone under your common goals and focus – aka collaborating.

Collaboration is defined as the action of working with someone to produce or create something.  What if that “something” was to solve a unique brand challenge?  Sure, you are likely noodling out ideas and innovation one partner at a time, but harnessing the collective brain-trust of internal teams and external partners through focused collaboration could significantly level up your marketing efforts.  Here are three recommendations to get the most out of collaboration efforts and help forge new bonds between your partners.

Articulate the distinct value each partner brings

It is not uncommon for multiple agencies to offer complementary and/or competing services.  For instance, your creative agency may also place media.  Acknowledge this upfront and clearly articulate the distinct value that each partner brings to the relationship.  Define what discipline each is responsible for and reinforce why you selected the partners that you have.  Insure everyone that you need their voice and unique perspective in the collaborative discussion. 

Don’t share pricing and terms

Just like you wouldn’t share salary information between co-workers, you want to keep pricing and agreement terms confidential.  While you can share overarching information like the percentage of the budget for advertising tactics, the breakdown of costs and services has no place in collaborative conversations as it can foster misunderstanding and unhealthy competition. Every agency has a different approach to business and pricing models.  Collaboration should focus on advancing your marketing goals, not determining how to allocate resources.

Create opportunities for communication and celebration

Think you’ve got this box checked if you cc your partners on an email every once in a while or have them opted into the company email?  Think again.  Collaborative communication is two-way and focused.  Intentionally carve out time to meet with all partners at the same time, so they are all working with the same information.  Make room in the agenda for them to share what they are working on for you and define at least one desired outcome of your time together.  Ideas may include:  messaging for a new product/service; defining audience personas; engaging new audiences; community initiatives; inter-departmental communications; getting an edge on the competition; etc. 

After an initial collab, then keep the conversation going.  Finally, and most importantly, give all the partners access to the work that others are doing regularly and celebrate the wins resulting from said collaboration.  Things like launching a new campaign, hitting your goals, or being featured through PR efforts are just a few examples.  This could be a shared drive or project management portal. 

Intentional collaboration allows partners to get to know one another, exchange information, and learn from each other in ways that will spark new ideas and build rapport so that each collaborative conversation gets richer and more innovative.

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