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Marketing Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork: Rules of the Road For Effective Interagency Collaboration

By Erin O'Driscoll | Aug 8 2023

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One of my favourite things about working in public relations is the chance to collaborate with exceptional professionals in various marketing disciplines. When you work with big brands with multiple creative agencies, as we do at Strategic Objectives, it’s becoming more and more common for clients to mandate interagency work groups on key projects, and even year-long strategies.

Enter the much-loved, and sometimes loathed, IAT – the Interagency Team. Ultimately reporting to the client, each agency is responsible for meeting and exceeding client objectives in their respective disciplines. The IAT may meet once a week, monthly, bi-annually, or only once a year, but members are expected to know and understand each other’s contributions, and take ownership of results as a whole.

Based on our considerable experience, we’ve put together three simple rules of the road for driving a happy, creative, and results-driven IAT where all parties feel seen and heard, and the client gets the biggest, best bang for their buck.

1. Sing from the same song sheet

Our first rule of the road is to sing from the same song sheet. Make sure from the outset that the client gives the same brief to all parties, with an outline of who does what. Establish roles and responsibilities at the beginning so everyone owns their own lane, and no one’s stepping on anyone’s toes.

Why is this important? Because many creative agencies do the same thing, albeit differently. For instance, Strategic Objectives does extensive work in influencer and experiential marketing, special events, social media and content creation as part of our PR services for big brands across the country. But so do many of our clients’ other creative agencies.

Establish roles and responsibilities early on for:

  • Who’s running the meetings
  • Building and presenting the strategy
  • Managing the timeline
  • Creating content
  • Producing special events
  • And the list goes on

For sure, there will be hiccups along the way, but they will be easily overcome when you work together as one team.

2. BYOI – Bring Your Own Ideas

The IAT can be a unique and inspiring meeting of creative minds. Harnessing the brainpower of the best marketing minds can spark breakthrough ideas. Never underestimate the power of “What If?”. Remember, your mutual marketing mission is to reach and resonate resoundingly with key audiences.

Ideation sessions are a collaborative way to get creative juices flowing:

  • Approach these meetings with an open mind
  • BYOI – Bring Your Own Ideas, don’t go to the party empty-handed
  • Practice active listening but don’t be afraid to build on a great idea or voice your own

Remember whether it’s your creative idea that sparks the fire that ignites the group or not, your client will take pride in the great work you do together to achieve results. 

3. Play nice in the sandbox

Shout out to Aretha Franklin who sang it best – R.E.S.P.E.C.T… that’s what IAT means to me. To make beautiful music together, it’s imperative to play nice in the sandbox, especially when you’re working on client business and you’re all there for the greater good. Be diplomatic and watch your language, respond politely to ideas, and play nice. Avoid any sidebar conversations that may influence or sway the client one way or another. Make sure you’re open and honest and you’ll produce a better, more effective result.

Sometimes IAT partner agencies can get defensive and guard their work and thinking. This impedes collaboration. It’s important to approach these situations with professional respect and kindness, and work together to find a solution.

At Strategic Objectives, we are proud to work collaboratively with our colleagues, clients, and their partners. In doing so, we optimize our creativity, and our productivity shines through. Working as an IAT deserves the same mindset.

A high-functioning marketing IAT brings many skillsets to the table and it’s imperative that everyone plays to their best strengths to deliver original, results-driven KPIs. What you need is a basic roadmap paved with respect, communication, and collaboration to arrive safely at your destination—success.

Are you looking for a creative, results-driven PR agency that thinks BIG and plays well with others? Contact us http://www.strategicobjectives.com/contact/ we’d love to help!

Erin O’Driscoll is an Account Manager at Strategic Objectives.

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