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…
Risk to ROI
All participants acknowledged the risk of spending limited marketing budgets with a creative partner, especially if lead-times end up being protracted, meaning there could be a long wait for any ROI. One participant cited a lack of budget control on big ideas as a risk. “They will often not end up having to bear the full responsibility for it, that’s always on my shoulders”.
There was a consensus on the danger of being too reliant on a creative partner, which can end up being very costly. They also debated the advantages if you understand why, what for and what you want to get out of the relationship.
One participant shared how they used creative partners to help with strategic direction and concepts, saying, “I find it’s a cost-effective way to use my budgets. Agencies don’t have to fulfil all my marketing needs, they just do what they do best”. Another participant commented, “I’ve always seen the best work produced using a mixture of agency and my in-house team.”
The MA takeaway
Each creative business works in their own way when it comes to managing client budgets. Managing client risk and minimising unexpected costs is a factor with every project. We believe transparency and openness up-front and throughout makes a big difference. As do descriptive quotes and scopes that cover as much detail as possible – the more detail the less assumption, the less risk.
With regards to being too reliant, it all comes down to what value everyone is getting out of the relationship. From a client’s perspective, they have to know they are getting value for money and a dedicated extension to the team. From the creative partner’s perspective, they have to be true to themselves in what they are bringing to the party. Ultimately, if apathy has crept in and the relationship is lacking a proactiveness from both parties, it’s time to review.
In our experience, the best work, the best results and the best relationships are forged in collaboration with the marketing team – a rich mix of creative experience and in-house practicality wins the day, every time.
Proper, meaningful, success metrics are notorious to attain from a creative partner’s perspective. There are so many working parts to a campaign or communication strategy that rely on other departments and colleagues that it can sometimes be like trying to align the planets. It’s not an excuse, more a reality. That’s why by ensuring all stakeholders are aligned and bought in from the beginning (including sales teams, etc) everyone is more invested in working together on achieving the right kind of results. Then everyone proves their worth.