All companies should be building internal digital marketing as their core competence. This is ultimately the way that companies will achieve and sustain the highest net profit, so it’s vitally important to build this internal skill set in order to understand how to maximize revenue.
At the same time, there is tremendous strategic value in benchmarking the internal team against external marketing teams. The values are that it will help management both validate the performance of the internal team, and it will increase intensity or competition, but in a healthy way so that the business owners understand that everyone is really putting in their best efforts and that they’re not resting on their laurels.
This will allow both the internal team and the external team to gather new ideas, both on the media buying side and on the creative execution side, and this helps eliminate tunnel vision. Further, internal teams that work in a silo for months will understand quickly what tactics work and what doesn’t work, and then they can often stop thinking outside the box, and get stuck in a rut in coming up with very similar variations of concepts, instead of new concepts, or similar media buying strategies. So, the idea is to constantly be generating new creative ideas.
Here are the best practices on structuring the internal and external marketing teams to work effectively together for excellent results:
Start with Transparency
We believe in 100% in transparency and open communication. Internal marketing teams and external agencies working together should share their ideas, their strategies, and creative wins with one another in order to build trust and generate more successes together. Ultimately, the internal marketing team owns all of these ideas and strategies.
These two teams should be speaking weekly, as it’s an opportunity to share the work done over the course of the prior week, and also share objectives for the next week. Most importantly, it allows the external agency to pull information from the internal team on what new objectives or marketing initiatives they’re working on to ensure that both sides have the most recent information and both sides stay on track.
Using Chat and Project Management Tools Between External Teams
Team communications are an essential part of any business, and unfortunately, today, emails can be cluttered ineffective at delivering productivity. For urgent or frequent intraday communication, team chat tools like Slack channels, Google Hangouts, Hive, Fuze and more are the new way of communicating quickly and efficiently across teams. This allows user acquisition and design teams to make sure that information is staying out of email and it can be efficiently exchanged so that teams can execute appropriately.
For creative reviews and approvals, a project management system like Trello can be effective due to its very simple UI. The idea is to share drafts of designs and ads and to have a simple place to gather and centralize feedback. And again, this keeps information out of email. It allows both sides to operate efficiently for creative reviews and approvals. For intellectual property holders of television shows or feature films that have celebrity or athlete endorsements, they often have a multitude of external sources that need to contribute to feedback, and an infrastructure that makes that simple is key.
Creative and Media Buying Benefits of External Supplemental Teams
An external agency’s objective is not to replace internal marketing teams, yet this a significant concern. Marketers are often apprehensive that if an agency outperforms them, they’ll be fired. That’s certainly not the objective of an agency, and is rarely the case.
External teams help ensure that internal teams are running at peak efficiency, and as equally important, make sure that the management team has a sense of comfort in knowing that that team is running at peak efficiency.
On the creative side, agencies are often leveraged for the very heavy creative brainstorming process in order to deliver new concepts. When they find a winner, they share it to the internal teams to create variations and vice versa. Both teams are working very tightly together into a cohesive whole. Further, the testing strategies for finding these creatives is recorded and shared between teams. This also benefits internal teams to efficiently bring on new employees and new partners, and share the lessons of what has worked and what has failed, which prevents people from making the same mistakes over and over again and wasting money.
Media Buying Benefits:
This allows the two user acquisition teams to benchmark each other. It happens all the time where one account will go into a test bucket at Facebook and then something stops performing as efficiently. It’s always good to have one or two or several accounts running. It’s also much more efficient to have one account spending less money because you’re not reaching as far, so you can run more efficiently. So, giving some of the money to an external third party allows an internal team to separate that budget and run it very efficiently when split into two. That’s this concept of shifting budgets.
Ultimately, internal teams and external teams can work harmoniously together to learn, push, and drive results. To accelerate the growth of internal marketing skills and knowledge base in 2019, consider pairing with an external agency to push your team further.