Here are 3 tips on how creative teams can build stronger relationships with their marketing partners.
If your creative team is struggling to build or maintain great relationships with your marketing partners, you’re not alone. According to the 2019 Creative Management Report conducted by inMotionNow and InSource, 17% of creatives say their relationship with their marketing partners has gotten worse. And only half of those creatives surveyed say their relationship with marketing is effective.
If you fall into one or both of these categories, it may be time to pull back the curtain. Sometimes what is perceived as lack of respect is really lack of understanding. And not following the process is less about ignoring the process and more about not KNOWING the process. Here are some helpful tips I’ve used over the years to break through the barriers with marketing partners as well as other stakeholders.
- Strut Your Stuff
- The “Big Reveal” Days are Over
- Set the Process Rules Early and Often
Strut Your Stuff
I know it can feel awkward “bragging” about your work, but it is necessary to shed light on the wide range of work that is being done by the creative team. Every client feels like they are your only client, and their work is ALL that you are working on. Your marketing team can fall into this trap as well. Sharing your work, a good, broad representation of it, can do a lot in terms of getting your team more visibility in the organization.
It shows the outside world how many different types of jobs your team is working on.
- It reminds your leadership that you have a lot going on (which can help with staffing requests, etc.) Looking at numbers is great, but showing the work that goes into those numbers can be quite insightful.
- It reminds the creative team that they are good at what they do. Seeing pieces and parts of projects throughout the days and weeks doesn’t do the work justice. Seeing finished, quality work displayed can be a real morale booster.
- It shows your marketing partners that you are more than numbers. Marketing teams can glean learning from testing different types of creative. Sometimes it’s good to remind folks of the range of work you’re capable of, and that can inspire your stakeholders as well!
There are a number of ways you can share your work. On one of my teams, we rotated work on large monitors that we hung near our Agile board. We spent time near those boards every day (and so did marketing and client teams) so it was a highly visible area to display the work. It also was a great way to show progress for the jobs being discussed during the morning stand ups. On another team, we held a “Gallery Show” once a quarter and invited our marketing partners and clients. We displayed artwork all around our work area and brought in sweet treats and beverages. We partnered with marketing to add results data next to each piece of “art” adding a partnering element to the event. The creative team loved this event and went all out with custom invites, themes, etc. The point is to display work you all feel proud of that is a good representation of how the team spends its time.
The “Big Reveal” Days Are Over
Shows like Mad Men make us all long for the days when creative teams kept the curtain closed to clients until they revealed the punchy headline and final art. Sorry to tell you, but those days are over. The best way to win over your marketing partners is to treat them like partners and share with them your progress along the way. Worried about constant changes? There are ways to control that as well. Show them how you’ve used their input from the creative brief to drive your creative direction. Plus spend time on your creative rationale. A solid rationale document can stop unnecessary changes in their tracks. The purpose of the rationale is to shed light as to why you did what you did. I always brought it back to the creative brief. “You said your main goal was to increase traffic to your store, and here is the way we propose you do that.” “You said your number one problem is that no one knows how to reach you, so we’ve put your url on a lower third throughout the video.” You get the point.
Set the Process Rules Early and Often
One of the biggest derailers to any creative project is when stakeholders fail to follow the process. As an Operations Director, that drives me crazy. We jump through hoops to get work done on a tight deadline only to have it sit on someone’s desk for a week. Not cool. But more often than not the break in the process is largely due to a lack of understanding. Make sure you make it clear at the kick off meeting for every project exactly what the process is going to be and what everyone’s role in the process is. Everyone is busy, so don’t expect them to remember it after the meeting. Have a workflow in place that makes your process transparent, allows you to communicate throughout the life cycle of the project, and helps you nudge people when they are taking too long to get back to you. Transparency works in your favor.
In summary, if you want to improve your relationship with your marketing team, share…
About the author: Debbie Kennedy is former Head of Advertising Operations with CarMax, and is currently Product Marketing Manager for Capital One, and CEO of Write for You, a Digital Content and Creative Workflow Consulting Firm based in Richmond, Virginia. She’s been a power user and advocate of inMotionNow since 2014.