Working with other agencies on a project or a long term basis may seem daunting. As well as maintaining good relations with a client, it's also important to do the same with any and all the other agencies involved in the process - which can make things complicated.
Successful collaboration is key in these instances - to ensure a positive working relationship and also, ultimately and perhaps most importantly, to achieve the best possible outcome for the client. So, if you are about to embark on your first inter-agency partnership what is the best way to manage this arrangement to achieve such results?
Firstly, let’s take a look at the term inter-agency. What is inter-agency working? This is an adjective which effectively means something with involvement from multiple agencies.
You may already be thinking about the pros and cons of inter-agency working. Why would you opt for multiple parties? The short answer is specialisms and expertise, but there may be several other factors which may equate to this outcome.
A successful large-scale project could be compared with renovating a house. Lots of different skills are required and you want to be assured each aspect is completed by an expert to prevent any unexpected surprises down the line. In an ideal world, you would not ask a decorator to rewire the electrics in the kitchen even if they did have some level of knowledge.
In terms of a digital project, working with a single agency may still result in multiple points of contact which is probably what people perceive as the negative of a multi-agency approach. There is then the risk that you lose out on the specialist knowledge of different agencies.
The main inter-agency practice which Zazzle Media is involved in is working with a separate web development/design agency who may be experts within a certain field or have strong existing relationships. Other instances might be two separate entities for PPC and organic search, and content creation and technical SEO.
Through our experience of inter-agency working we have developed an opinion on the best practice which should be followed to obtain optimum results for the client. To support this theory, we wanted to get the thoughts of a professional who has experience of managing these partnerships.
We asked the Head of Brand Marketing at Travel Republic, about why they prefer an inter-agency approach and if they had a golden rule for managing these partnerships.
Alison told us:
Inter-agency projects allow us to benefit from specialists across different fields to all contribute in the development of activity.
I prefer this way of working as I believe it can deliver the best, fully integrated results. Personal experience tells me that the best way to manage this is open communication lines and clear plans which everyone is brought into.
Making sure everyone has a personal relationship with each other if possible also helps with smooth and productive progress.
With all the above considered and lots of experience in mind, here are nine tips for how to manage inter-agency partnerships effectively and achieve the best results:
To summarise, inter-agency partnerships are of growing importance from a client perspective. They enable you to benefit from specialisms of different agencies and ultimately maximise results and learnings. An agile approach to working is key with regular communication. A non-iterative waterfall project management style can leave things disjointed and result in obstacles which could have been moved through regular progress updates and communication.
Providing all parties are brought in from the start of the project the management of it should be relatively seamless. This should be true even if changes of scope and direction present themselves on route to successful completion. With multiple parties involved, it is not always in the numbers where the strength lies but in the unity. Inevitably, it will be the strength of the unity which will achieve the optimum results.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media for the latest news.