Agency Partnerships: Delivering Greater Value to Clients Through Collaboration

Agency Partnerships

By Stephanie Van Ness


The agency paradigm is shifting. Today’s businesses need far more than a catchy TV spot or a print ad. According to an article in Ad Age, businesses are marketing across devices and “serving customized ads to specific audiences based on real-time analysis of constantly changing data. That data must inform creative, CRM and media buying strategies tied to new commerce and brand experiences.”

At the same time client needs are evolving, the democratization of content creation means many of the services traditionally offered by agencies are now available from any number of sources — from mega marcom holding companies to consultants to specialty firms to media influencers to shopper-marketing teams to mobile carriers.

The entrance of all these new players has eroded the influence of traditional agencies. Yet, their clients continue to need exceptional creative and strategic insight so are seeking “radically different support from agency groups,” according to Ad Age.  

Bring New Ideas

To compete, agencies are challenged to bring fresh ideas to their clients. “One of the ways agencies do this is by partnering with other media properties on breakout ways to create content that is platform relevant, target-audience responsive, and adaptable,” said Boston University Advertising Professor Geoff Klapisch. “Ensuring messaging is relevant to the target audience is priority one. Delivering that messaging in a compelling way can help a particular agency set itself apart.”

Right now ‘quick response content/messaging teams’ are hot. “Major brands, and increasingly smaller businesses, are using these teams on their social media platforms," Klapisch said. “The teams enable brands to read, react and respond to customer/competitor messaging in real time.”

“Agencies are also making clients’ print campaigns and video adaptable so creative can be swapped out quickly to take advantage of latest trends or respond to changing customer expectations,” he added.

Agencies can raise the bar by bundling creative sourced from trusted partners — essentially white-labeling the services of a specialist firm to increase their firepower while decreasing complexity for their client. While AdAge contends that companies want one partner to "simplify fragmentation and data," Hubspot suggests that “the most desirable brands seek specialists rather than ‘full service’ in today’s market.”

Both are correct. “We all want to deliver exceptional creative across all channels, and that means finding interesting ways to engage an audience,” Klapisch said. For this reason, today's agencies excel when they partner with other outfits that can deliver added depth in a particular area yet present a unified front to their clients.

Benefit from Creative Partnerships

Creative partnerships are winners for everyone involved: agency, specialty provider and client, according to ViewPoint Interactive Solutions’ Director Philip Chila. “The agency remains the strategic driver and point of contact, but takes advantage of a niche player to provide targeted creative for a specific need.”

“This relationship allows the agency to focus on what it does best — the big picture view — while still bringing to the client something fresh and intriguing,” Chila said. “Agencies don’t need to become experts in every new marketing tactic or technology in order to give their clients access to the latest and greatest.”

“ViewPoint has established a number of successful agency partnerships where we provide a piece of the marketing puzzle,” Chila said. “For instance, we’ve developed interactive touchscreen experiences that support a customer’s overall marketing strategy for a specific event, and have even developed custom, interactive games that fit neatly into a company’s overall brand direction. While it’s only a piece of a larger campaign, it is a compelling and pivotal piece that really elevates the overall campaign.”

Become Indispensable to Clients

Marketers of all stripes are driven by the same goal: to be an indispensable resource to their clients. Doing so helps attract new clients, increase revenue from existing clients, and retain them longer. Agencies are increasingly interested in joining forces on a project basis to increase their value to their clients.

“From my perspective, the most successful agencies are evolving operations to be more like a concert maestro, deftly conducting a corps of talented and diverse musicians — creatives cultivated from a variety of owned and non-owned sources — who have come together to perform a stirring symphony,” Chila said. “We’ve seen firsthand how these collaborations benefit both clients and partners and are a big believer.”

If your agency is looking for new ideas to bring to your clients and share an appreciation for creative collaboration, get in touch at  

Stephanie Van Ness

Assoc. Director of Marketing and Chief Storyteller at ICS, Boston UX and ViewPoint Interactive Solutions

An experienced copywriter with a Boston University J-school degree, Stephanie Van Ness writes about user experience (UX) design and innovations in technology, from self-driving vehicles to gesture-controlled medical devices. Her work has appeared in a number of industry publications, including Medical Design & Outsourcing, Mass Device, Connected World,Medical Device + Diagnostics, UX Collective and Prototypr.