Stick to What You’re Good at: Why Agencies Should Collaborate

Jul 25, 2017

Have you ever tried something new that didn’t quite work out? For me, it was singing. I’m not exactly a mix between Fergie and Jesus (Step Brothers Reference) but I tried. I’d open my mouth and almost immediately I’d hear it, “Don’t quit your day job. Stick to what you’re good at.” Well, I don’t have some awesome success story to tell you about how I became the next American Idol but what I can tell you is that sometimes it truly is a good idea to know and stick to what you’re good at.

How in the world does this translate to advertising? I thought you’d never ask.

We’ve all been to a new client meeting where you realize the fit is right. You and the client seem to be communicating well. Everything they are asking for is 100% within your wheelhouse and you feel like this client-agency relationship is destined for greatness. You’re feeling like a million bucks. Then, like a rogue wave catching you from behind while taking a selfie by the seashore, they ask for something that is totally out of your realm of expertise. Your mind comes to a screeching halt. What now?

Those of us who have fostered relationships with other companies and agencies (both advertising and other) remain calm because, “We’ve got someone for that.” Would every agency like to be all things to all people? Sure. Could we probably fudge it and do everything this client is asking for in-house? Maybe. Should we? Probably not. Every company has strengths and weaknesses and if you truly want to deliver the best possible service and results, you need to know what yours are. Sometimes collaboration is the best answer.

Even mega-agencies with thousands of people that pride themselves on keeping everything in-house can benefit from sharing ideas with outside partners. If a client has a really tough challenge, circulating the same ideas around the same group of people rarely makes them better. More collaboration = More Heads + More Ideas.

But what does this all really boil down to? Don’t burn bridges. It is true that some agencies need to compete for clients but you never know when you might need to navigate the waters together.