Being Stuck in Marketing Can Be Lonely — Unstick with an Agency Partner
As a decision maker in your field, there will be times when you or your team feels stuck, lacking the inspiration or clear direction necessary to move forward. In these moments, an agency partner can be instrumental in helping you regain momentum. They can reinvigorate your marketing strategies. They can reveal your weak areas. I do share this from experience — I’ve walked side-by-side with clients through all of the below in my career. It may feel unattainable to reach the “unsticking” part now, but the best way to begin is to reach out and start with someone who you trust.
First, Recognizing the Clues of Being Stuck
Amid the chaos of deadlines, budget planning, and decision making, it’s easy to overlook the impact of feeling stuck. This may manifest in several ways, including:
- Uninspired creative from internal teams
- Underperforming marketing tactics
- No clear roadmap for the team to follow
- Limited vision for the next 6, 12, or 18 months
- Doubt about your target audience
- Difficulty in creating a brand community
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms may signal that it’s time to seek guidance from an external partner. Do take to heart: this doesn’t mean you are failing as a leader. It merely indicates that you need additional resources or insights to tackle challenges. Usually these need to be done, but the smaller, immediate outcome tasks take precedent. If you had a clearer outcome to any of the above, would you be a stronger leader? The likely answer is yes.
What Might an Agency Partner Do to Unstick?
A strong agency partner can help you break free from your marketing rut by being a shoulder to lean into. By giving them the torch to light the way forward, you’ll free up space to keep you focused on those business requirements. A solid strategic agency partner will help by:
- Conducting workshops to brainstorm and develop new ideas
- Gathering research to inform strategies
- Offering fresh perspectives on existing challenges
- Reframing concerns to identify opportunities
- Providing clear direction and actionable recommendations
And even if you don’t know how to ask for what you need, start the conversation. They should help you unwind to understand the needs to get unstuck.
What Should You Share? What State of Mind?
To make the most of your partnership, adopt an open, collaborative mindset. Know they cannot do this in the dark. They ultimately are not in your day-to-day. They absolutely don’t have mind-reading abilities. You do need to be prepared to onboard someone quickly if they’re new to your partnership — give the time investment early and it will reward you with wonderful outcomes later. Be prepared to:
- Share your business understanding, including why you’re in this situation and what you hope to achieve
- Be as honest and as transparent as you can, any background knowledge is more powerful insights from them
- Establish a strategic starting point, or work with your partner to develop a very clear one
- Offer perspective and context to help guide your partner’s recommendations
- Clearly state early in the process what you hope to have in your hands by the end of the engagement
- Give time — and if you don’t have time to give, share that fact. Take care of it all at once by scheduling a 2- to 3-hour session to let them pull out everything that they need so they can run
Is Your Current Agency Partner Unsticking You?
If you already have a long-term agency partner, they should be able to help you overcome challenges quickly. However, if you consistently find yourself feeling stuck with the same partner, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. To maximize the value of your partnership, consider implementing the following practices (something Experiences For Mankind regularly does for our partnerships to retain a healthy engagement):
- Conduct quarterly business reviews
- Hold bi-yearly in-person working sessions
- Develop a shared vision and roadmap
- Communicate openly about challenges
- Ask for recommendations when you need them most
- Make decisions together that align with your agreed goals
- Ensure your partner can provide the “how” to achieve your objectives, given that all agreements are in place
Know that feeling stuck is a common challenge for marketing leaders. By recognizing the signs and partnering with an agency that can provide fresh perspectives and strategic guidance, you can overcome these obstacles and drive your marketing initiatives forward. Embrace collaboration, share your business understanding, and maintain an open mindset to ensure a fruitful partnership that leads to marketing success.
Our Agency Can Help Unstick
We have a lot of experience in not only experiencing our clients being stuck, but also guiding them through the process to find support in their challenges. Here’s a few ways Experiences For Mankind has done this in our partnerships with great success:
- Audience research and guidance: We have worked with clients like Microsoft and Pink Taco to gain a better understanding of their target audiences, sometimes perspective is all you need to unlock your team’s power.
- Strategy workshops: Our workshops have benefited clients such as Rescu, Microsoft, and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians by guiding them through a journey of discovery. Report out presentations post-session result in specific actionable roads to take next.
Experiences For Mankind is an independent strategic and creative agency based in San Diego, CA. Learn more about our work on our website or contact us. We’re always looking for brilliant clients and teammates.