Marketing Mixology: Concoting the Perfect In-House and Agency Partnership

June 28, 2023by Hiebing

Carefully crafting the right marketing talent mix takes finesse – much like stirring up the perfect cocktail. Just as a mixologist understands the importance of choosing the right ingredients and striking a balance between flavors, marketing teams – both in-house departments and external agencies – are tasked with skillfully blending their talents to create marketing momentum.

In-house marketing departments and agency collaborations can carry the stigma of being two entirely separate worlds, each vying for control over a brand’s marketing strategy. This adversarial dynamic can lead to an inefficient, costly and fragmented approach to marketing.  In reality, these two factions combined create the perfect aperitif to hook audiences. In-house departments possess a proven, in-depth understanding of the brand, industry and company culture, while agencies bring a fresh perspective of what’s possible and a team with unique, specialized skills.

In our ever-evolving world, fusing the proven and possible to foster strong, collaborative environments between external agencies and in-house teams is more advantageous than ever. Here are a few benefits and tips to fuel a marketing concoction that delivers measurable success.

Define Shared Goals:

Defining shared goals is the cornerstone of a successful collaboration between in-house marketing departments and agency partnerships. It aligns both entities to work towards a common vision. By establishing clear, specific, and measurable goals that reflect the overarching business objectives, in-house teams and agencies can ensure that their efforts are synchronized and maximizing the impact of their marketing strategies.

  • Include representatives from both the in-house team and the agency in the strategic planning process. This opens the door to diverse perspectives about the best marketing combination possible and aligns goals with the brands vision for their story.
  • Define specific and measurable objectives that are understood by both teams. Ensure that they are challenging yet realistic and directly contribute to the company’s overall marketing and business goals.
  • Use data-driven insights to identify areas for improvement and adjust strategies as needed. Set timelines to conduct periodic performance reviews to assess progress toward shared goals.

Designate Teammates

The synergy between in-house marketing departments and external agencies can unlock powerful campaigns that drive awareness and growth. Forging a long-lasting partnership takes open lines of communication and clear expectations about what your collaboration is trying to achieve in both the short and long term. This is the most crucial ingredient in your marketing mix.

Ensure all parties are clear on who the subject matter experts are on each team. We believe in a multi-faceted approach as opposed to a single-source relationship. This allows teams to be smarter, more nimble and more efficient in taking action to drive momentum.  

Communicate Early, Communicate Often:
To be successful, communication around projects must be clear and frequent. There are a few key components to keeping the lines of communication open, such as:

  • Provide comprehensive project briefs that outline objectives, target audience, key messages, and expected outcomes. Clear and concise briefs serve as a reference point for both in-house teams and agencies. At times, we generate these briefs collaboratively between teams to ensure there is alignment on the front end from both sides.
  • Agree upon realistic timelines and deadlines to avoid misunderstandings. Define milestones, deliverables and review processes to ensure smooth progress. We call this process Roadmapping to be sure all parties who will participate in a project know what is happening when – and their role in it.
  • Establish a regular cadence for face-to-face meetings or virtual conferences to foster open lines of communication. Discuss ongoing projects, address challenges and ensure everyone is on the same page.

People Do Business with People:

Just like any good long-term relationship, great partnerships take work to ensure a consistent, collaborative environment:

  • Implement a culture of constructive feedback. Regularly evaluate project outcomes, share insights, and provide suggestions for improvement. This continuous feedback loop promotes growth and enhances the overall partnership.
  • Find time to build strong relationships about more than just the work. Engage in team-building activities, joint workshops, or collaborative projects to foster trust and understanding.

Striking the right balance between an in-house marketing department and agency team can result in a more holistic and innovative marketing approach that creates meaningful brand stories. Cheers to finding the perfect mix!

On the hunt for an external partner that can augment your in-house marketing department with an infusion of creativity, strategy and collaboration? Hiebing can help. Email Nate Tredinnick at to set up a call.


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