If a truly seamless, integrated approach is the "holy grail" of a marketing and communication campaign, then no wonder it is so hard. So many of us today are working across multiple disciplines to write plans for clients, and we have the scars to prove it. As much as we all try to stay in our lanes and collaborate, our offerings overlap. What's more, each agency is ultimately incentivized to win more of the pie for reasons that don't have to do with the success of the campaign.
In PR, I have found we are often also struggling to justify the additional planning costs of an integrated team. Alignment, brainstorming with several agencies, and then consolidation of plans take more time than just writing your plan. The outcome will hopefully produce greater ROI, but there is also a greater cost upfront.
What advice can I give in 250 words? One, make sure the brief is strong and clear about expected outcomes. Two, clarify who is the lead in developing the plan to be presented. Three, clients should assign someone to play the integrator role to help facilitate and streamline the process wherever possible. Four, debate is good, but ultimately merging ideas is the goal, so have an agreed-upon process. Five, discuss the upfront costs to integration early on so the client is not surprised. And finally (for now), have strong measurement in place to help inform what drives success.
I can't say slicing the pie will soon get any easier, but I can say it is an interesting experience. I can also say that if the campaign works, you will all get more slices.
Barri Rafferty is senior partner and director at Ketchum New York.