How to Get the Most Value from Your Agencies

August 9, 2021

By Bruno Gralpois, ANA Faculty

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Why do some partnerships thrive and produce great work while others seem out-of-sync, with mediocre results? Partnership building, brief writing, reviewing proposals, negotiating with agencies, and evaluating creative work are all essential everyday activities conducted by marketers with their agency partners. They also happen to be among the critical, practical skills that are lacking in university programs.

Today’s marketers are asked to think strategically while driving operational excellence in every facet of their job, and that includes the important tasks and responsibilities they must take on to collaborate with agencies and produce great work. They must build strong, mutually rewarding relationships with all of the agencies they rely on to execute and meet their bold business objectives.

 

Great Marketing Requires Greater Partnerships — Period

The world’s largest brand advertisers would not be the successful companies they are today without strong agency partners. Great marketing is only achievable with great partners. And partnerships are not inherited, they are built. I have seen many high potential organizations fail to execute on their vision because they failed to inspire their agencies to deliver outstanding work. They failed to guide them or to treat them as valuable partners. Everyone in marketing seems to agree that by failing to harness partnerships, a company’s marketing investment is at risk.

 

Building a New Marketing Muscle

Marketers are looking for ways to answer questions about their daily interactions with agencies and improve the process by which they get things done. After working with some of the world’s largest brands to guide marketers on how to get the most value from their agencies, here is what we know marketers must do:

  • Be nimble to navigate the complex and fast changing world of agencies
  • Build a sound agency strategy to come up with the best mix of internal and external talent
  • Conduct a successful agency search and onboard a new agency productively
  • Determine the right compensation and negotiate more effectively with agencies
  • Set clear expectations, build strong scopes of work and brief agencies accurately
  • Evaluate creative work objectively and produce better work
  • Measure performance and provide feedback that improves performance and collaboration

These skills are competencies that can be acquired and strengthened over time. Learning to work effectively with an agency partner has never been more essential to effective marketing.

Bruno Gralpois is an ANA Instructor for the Marketing Training and Development Center. For more on this approach be sure to view Bruno’s workshop, Effective Agency Management.


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