The importance of inter-agency relationships


There remain few clients who are brave enough to let their agencies liaise behind their backs, but when they take that leap of faith the results can be beneficial to all parties. Experience of working for clients who both do and don’t put this trust into their agencies enables me to confidently outline the pros and cons.

What do I mean by inter-agency relationships and liaising behind a client’s back? I don’t mean being disrespectful to the client by making decisions without their involvement. It’s about capitalising on the client’s trust in their agencies to work together, come up with solutions not problems and collaborate to drive stronger, fully integrated campaigns.

Working closely and collaboratively with the creative, digital and PR agency makes it so much easier to go above and beyond the client’s expectations. We can deliver ideas easily and with little resistance as all agencies are on board, and ultimately we all know we want the same outcome.

There are of course times when we have to bite our tongue with our agency friends, as I’m sure they do theirs. But once we all appreciate each other’s roles and respect the boundaries, it really can work!

Years of working in the industry always taught me that other agencies were lesser than us – that creative agencies didn’t understand media, PR agencies were a waste of time and digital agencies were looking to step on our toes. While it takes some adjustment to overcome that mentality it definitely is important to have an open mind so that we can work collaboratively with other agencies.

Working closely with a client’s agency partners helps to give us a much more holistic view of the client, to understand them from all angles, to gain deeper insight into their objectives and how those objectives interlink across each element of the marketing mix.

With respect and understanding for each other’s areas of expertise it makes our jobs much easier. For example, we have the confidence to advise the creative agency on which messages work best across which media channels, whilst they have the confidence to share their creative vision with us for the creative which we can then work into the media plans. PR agencies share with us the titles and sites they are hoping to get coverage on, and we can work with those titles to help influence their editorial decisions. Innovative digital formats can be easily executed when we have conversations with the digital agency, before we speak to the client, about exciting new formats and what is within the client’s retainer.

Understanding how each agency works and what their goals are has widened my knowledge of the industry, as well as my understanding of the client and their marketing vision.

The bottom line is that working together, as an agency family and aiming to service the client as one results in many more pros than cons, and is something all agencies and clients can benefit from.

• More efficient planning
• Joined up strategy and plans
• Fewer deadlines missed
• Fewer disputes
• More innovation
• Issues resolved much quicker
• Happier agencies
• Happier client

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