The Case for Agency and Brand Collaboration to Bridge the Strategy-Execution Divide

Given the complex consumer journeys and marketing ecosystem that exists today, it is much better to have a collaborative mindset.

I recently read a post on Linkedin about how the CMO and the marketing teams are responsible for building their marketing strategy, and they expect the agency to just do the execution. They do not value agency teams spending time doing deep dives in understanding the market, audience, or brand – instead focus on quickly grasping it and doing what they are supposed to.

While arguments can be made for both sides, it does have a big downside.

To begin with, yes, the marketing team should build a strategy that should be in line with their larger business strategy. They should also, in turn, develop, highly focussed and well-articulated briefs for agencies they might work with across 4P’s.


 

Given the complex consumer journeys and marketing ecosystem that exists today, it is much better to have a collaborative mindset with Experience Design Strategists or Solution Architectson the agency side before jumping off into execution.

The pitfalls that I can see in the approach of not collaborating with agency partners on strategy are :

Lack of articulating an ask or writing a brief is the biggest issue which would usually build the biggest disconnect between the execution expected to solve the problem vs what gets lost in communication.

Working with cross-functional teams requires the marketing team to be a T-shaped professional forthe fact that they need to understand a lot of things about technology, AI, algorithms, and so on. Who else would translate these strategic asks into multiple streams of marketing execution?


 

Value of Agency Insights: Many agencies bring a wealth of experience from working across different sectors and brands, offering fresh perspectives that can enrich the client’s strategy. Not tapping into this strategic thinking might mean missing out on innovative ideas and approaches.

Collaborative Strategy Development: The most impactful strategies often come from a collaborative process where agencies and clients co-create, combining the client’s in-depth brand knowledge with the agency’s creative and strategic acumen. This can lead to more holistic and aligned campaigns.

To be fair, I understand the concerns of the person while making the above arguments are around – high costs spent on resources on the agency side as well as time lost to go to market.

It is a completely valid point but if the aim of marketing investments is effectiveness, then it will make more sense to design the whole process around collaboration by bringing in agency partners who have the right skill set earlier in the campaigns or launches.

This would result in having campaigns that are precise, and well-planned with higher effectiveness.


The views expressed in this article are personal, and not necessarily those of the author’s employer.

 

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