To better understand the challenges that Marketing Managers’ face when working with a creative partner, we asked a group of senior marketing professionals for their thoughts.
The feedback was rich with over-lapping experiences. So, we thought we would share them with you, adding our perspective too.
Here’s what they said…
One of our participants hit the nail on the head by saying, “I really like working with agencies because it gives us a completely unbiased view.” This was echoed by others who stated that, whatever the job, when you’re too close to something it’s difficult to be balanced in how you tackle things. A fresh pair of eyes can really help.
Another participant said, “I prefer working with agencies to help with the strategic direction. It’s a good way to use my budgets.” Then adding, “only using in-house knowledge runs the risk of not pushing things far enough or doing anything different because ‘that’s what we’ve always done’. So, to have that external lens, it gives us a different perspective.”
Outside looking in
On the flipside, some participants commented on the external nature of a creative partner as having the potential to be negative. For example, “They won’t be fully immersed in the company and therefore won’t fully ‘get’ what the business is trying to achieve.” This is seen as a big risk to the marketing team’s credibility. They went further by saying “Even if the agency has previous experience in our sector, they can’t know it as well as the in-house team and this is where mistakes can be made, and time wasted.”
The MA takeaway
One of the big advantages of being on the outside, working cross-sector, is being able to see the bigger picture. Creative partners are in a unique position to aggregate their experiences and knowledge accrued in multiple arenas and use them to solve problems in a completely different space. A lot of what marketing is about is still very human-centric. Therefore, understanding people and what’s important to them is not necessarily sector specific.
Another advantage is that we can come at a problem afresh, untainted by internal political opinion or the weight of ‘how things were done before’.
It’s true, external creative partners can’t be fully immersed without a costly deep-dive, and even then there’s likely to be weak pockets in knowledge. However, with broad experience there comes an awareness of how each new challenge tends to echo familiar patterns. So, you don’t necessarily always start from a first base.
Also, we have found that if you use that ready-supply of in-house knowledge and combine it with a broader world-view, you get a more rounded approach that leads to better outcomes.