In-house marketing teams and outsourced marketing agencies can work together harmoniously. Even famously. The right partner agency can help to propel existing in-house staff to be even more efficient… and even more effective.
The result of such cross pollination is often the sparking of new insights and the discovery of “big ideas” that stand out creatively and move audiences in meaningful ways.
Notably, it’s becoming increasingly common for startups and large corporations alike to partner with highly specialized marketing agencies. And to accomplish stronger results through close collaboration with existing in-house marketing departments.
And why not? Wise organizations know that agencies can bring in highly specialized resources — and skill sets that currently might not be optimized in-house — to deliver well documented channel expertise and best practices.
To extend an existing team, there are several important steps to take to help ensure that marketing, content and related campaigns and processes run smoothly.
It all begins with defined goals and clearly communicated expectations. Developing templates and procedures to determine how and when you’ll communicate. Agreeing on what types of tools you’ll use to collaborate. And deciding how all team members will exchange knowledge and assets.
Develop a Communication Plan
It’s vital to establish a mutually agreed upon communication plan.
First step: set up recurring meetings to establish priorities, discuss strategy and review the status of all campaigns. When working on an upcoming event — like a local showroom activation or national trade show — altering that schedule to allow for more frequent meetings is recommended.
While face-to-face meetings can be beneficial, they’re not essential — as most everyone has successfully adapted to remote and hybrid work models. Zoom, Teams and Google Meet are all useful video conferencing tools… allowing for multiple participants, screen sharing and recording. Across regions and around the globe.
Determine who the point people are on each side — to ensure streamlined communication channels and protocols, along with ownership of responsibilities.
Transparent communication and two-way listening is key.
Choose Collaboration Tools
Optimizing digital communication and connection is also integral to success. Online collaboration tools simplify workflow, enabling agencies and in-house marketing departments to efficiently collaborate, share documents and track tasks.
Agencies are fully accustomed to leveraging collaboration and project management tools and can make recommendations, if the in-house team isn’t already using these types of tools.
Smartsheets and Basecamp, for example, provide our clients with integrated access — so that they can view specific files, notes and task lists — for individual projects, file sharing and archiving. Dropbox and Google Drive are also convenient resources.
We’d be happy to help you review popular resources based on scalability, user-friendliness, email integration… and how those tools can be used by sales and marketing teams, on-the-go.
Exchange Resources and Knowledge
Complementary knowledge and skills are some of the ROI/benefits of teaming with an outside agency. An agency will have access to a range of databases, contacts and information distribution networks that can help your organization make better-informed marketing decisions.
Agency team members may also bring with them more advanced knowledge of Google Analytics, for example — or other tools your company may be already leveraging — allowing your brand to use those tools more effectively.
In return, an in-house marketing team brings to the table a deeper, day-to-day understanding of the company and its competitors.
To ensure that the combined teams align, both groups will need to exchange knowledge… through reports, presentations, interviews and product evaluations.
Consider together how an existing internal team will share the following assets and information with your new outsourced marketing agency:
- Marketing initiatives/campaigns calendar
- Content style guide and/or direction on brand voice and tone
- Media files (logos, photography, videos) and style guide
- Updates on product launches, technology advances, upcoming webinars, presentations and other company news
- Sales and lead data/CRM
Agency + In-House: Happily Ever After
Now more than ever, marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams are working together seamlessly. A wide range of evolving communication and collaboration processes and tools make that possible.
Both in-house and agency team members deliver valuable strengths, making it possible for any company to expand its marketing efforts in a cost-effective manner while securing measurable results.
Hear what Shaw Floors had to say about our recent collaboration with the company’s in-house marketing and content team on an integrated PR, thought leadership and content marketing program — including development of a new brand voice and content for Shaw’s reimagined Builder + Multifamily website.
Want to learn more about how your in-house marketing team can partner with an experienced building product-focused communications agency to increase efficiency and elevate brand awareness? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.