m+ in the News: 5 ways creative and media agencies can partner better

As a media agency dedicated to creative strategy, Media+ collaborates with creative agencies often. Such collaboration is a powerful force — when a few factors are in place. Media+ managing partner Lauren Ramaska recently offered five guidelines for effective agency collaboration to Campaign.

5 ways creative and media agencies can partner better
by Lauren Ramaska – October 12, 2023

The real power lies in specialists who can offer best-in-class service in their respective fields to meet clients’ specific needs.

The separation of media and creative offerings that took place several decades ago has since undergone a significant change, as many agencies now look to recouple these services. 

While I understand the appeal of having media and creative under one roof, I believe the real power lies in specialists who can offer best-in-class service in their respective fields to meet clients’ specific needs and goals.

As an independent media agency, we often partner with creative agencies on behalf of our clients. We love working with creative teams. As they say, good fences make for good neighbors. 

But while we’re pleased that many partnerships have been successful, there are equally as many which haven’t gone in the way we would have hoped. So if you’re a creative agency and looking to collaborate with a media partner for an upcoming campaign or project, here’s what we want you to know.

1. Media isn’t an afterthought

We always say, the best way to work with a media agency is to see us as equal partners. Our most successful partnerships are those with early collaboration and clear communication. 

Aligning upfront allows both agencies to coordinate on their objectives and strategies, rather than one being dictated by the other. This also allows creatives to develop concepts with the media strategy in mind and ensures the work can be effectively translated across different media channels. 

Understanding the media agency’s insights about the target audience, market trends and channels also helps craft content to most successfully meet campaign goals and objectives. 

2. Direct lines of communication are key 

It’s important that each team lead their work and have their own direct relationship with the client. Creative account teams are rarely successful in selling through the media strategy, as it can become an unfortunate game of telephone. The same goes for creative agencies; as the experts in storytelling, idea generation and design, we want them to own that sector. 

When possible, we’ve found great success with presenting a unified plan showcasing how the media and creative were developed and will work together.

3. Look to your media agency as a source of education

Media agencies excel in understanding the media landscape, identifying the best channels to reach a brand’s target audience and optimizing spend. They can provide detailed insights about consumer behavior, trends and performance across platforms. 

This information can contribute significantly to the creative process, enabling creative agencies to tailor their ideas and messages to the realities of the media environment. Media agencies should be looked at as a source of education. Bring us on at the onset and let us help you decide on the most effective channels and platforms for different ideas.

4. Data and analytics can help sell through ideas

Clients love audience insights. As media professionals, we have access to so many data points and insights to build personas and media strategies. However, a media partner with an analytics capability is like cooking without a recipe. 

When you present creative ideas to clients rooted in real data and analysis, the justification for the idea tends to sell the ideas more effectively. 

5. Ongoing communication and flexibility is crucial

Both agencies should be prepared to adapt their strategies based on real-time data and feedback. This is enabled by regular communication and two-way feedback loops to review campaign performance, discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions. This could lead to adjusting creative elements or media placement based on performance.

The best creative and media agency partnerships are exactly that: true, equal partnerships. Creative and media agencies each bring a unique set of skills, so value the other team’s expertise and let them do what they do best. Partner with them to test and learn. 

They are specialists for a reason. 

Lauren Ramaska is managing partner at Media+.

Read the full Campaign article here.

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