Key Ingredients to a Productive Partnership

Picture of baking ingredients.

On a recent visit to Stark/Raving, a Boston-area branding firm, agency owner Matthew Stumm offered his take on strategic partnerships: “Clients and prospects are no longer put off by the concept of hiring a virtual agency.”

My colleague’s words reflect the noticeable trend away from the full-service advertising agency model of years’ past towards a more collaborative, individualized approach to team-building. No longer do we need to collapse the needs of our clients into a one-size-fits-all mold. Today’s clients demand the freedom to purchase just the right combination of professional talents they seek, and leave aside the services they do not.

As a strategic media planning and buying agency, we deliberately focus our energies on a particular slice of the advertising pie. We stay true to our core skills while seeking out partnerships with those whose capabilities complement our own. This allows us to increase our new business potential while providing our clients and prospects access to a customized, right-sized team, one infinitely better suited to the particular project at hand.

Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure to meet with and pursue strategic alliances with a wide range of branding, marketing, advertising and creative folks, from solopreneurs to much larger firms. Web developers, designers, brand strategists, copywriters, photographers, videographers, content managers, social media experts, public relations firms and a collection of top notch media partners have joined forces with us on interesting projects on behalf of mutual clients. We recently connected with a company that creates compelling brand experiences and had us walk out onto a virtual steel beam fifteen floors above the City of Boston. Throughout this process, we’re able to reflect on how other industry professionals perceive our company’s value.

It’s an exciting time for our agency as we celebrate these new connections.

We’ve also learned how to identify those we prefer not to partner with. For obvious reasons, not every professional referral is going to feel right and not everyone we meet will end up sharing our company’s intrinsic goals, values, or interests. It’s risky to overlook red flags that could turn into larger conflicts down the road.

Saying, “no” is just as important as saying, “yes.”

This type of strategic engagement-building involves careful research, online and in-person conversations, a willingness to take chances and a clear understanding of everyone’s roles and responsibilities. It’s hard work that can be extremely labor intensive and even discouraging at times.

We counter those potential negatives by embracing what we love to do and staying true to what sets us apart from others in our field. As our friend, Matt rightly observed, it’s the way the individual parts of a team work together that matters most to a successful client-agency partnership. As long as we bring our best selves to the table, with transparency and good intentions, we’ll find success together—almost every time.

Earlier this year, we launched a new blog series designed to highlight our agency partners and explore what makes our collaboration so beneficial.

Our first agency spotlight features Trigger Digital, a digital media shop in West Palm Beach, Florida. Next month, we’ll introduce you to kor group, a creative branding firm in Boston, Massachusetts, who, like us, brings extensive experience working with clients in the education space.

If you’re looking for a media planning partner, we encourage you to get in touch with us.

Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management, and SEO.


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Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.

In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts and hosts our BSuite podcast. Favorite topics for both platforms include the entrepreneurial journey, sustainability + social responsibility, media planning, media buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.