5 ways to fix the broken agency partnership model

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The theme of this year's iMedia Agency Summit was "Partnership: The New Agency Value." That's a big indicator of a major shift for our industry.

But it should come as no surprise. The entire business world has seen a shift to a collaborative economy. Whether it's crowdsourcing, outsourcing, in-sourcing, or shroud-sourcing, businesses across the globe are adopting new models of getting work done.

5 ways to fix the broken agency partnership model

In his book, Wikinomics, Don Tapscott writes:

"Due to deep changes in technology, demographics, business, the economy, and the world, we are entering a new age where people participate in the economy like never before. This new participation has reached a tipping point where new forms of mass collaboration are changing how goods and services are invented, produced, marketed, and distributed on a global basis. The change presents far-reaching opportunities for every company and for every person who gets connected."

So here we are in Agencyland, tasked with catching up with the rest of the world. We need to collaborate.

And we suck at it.

The perception of our industry is that agencies can't form effective partnerships. We can't work together. We are all money-hungry sharks. We throw each other under the bus every chance we get. We don't communicate. We don't collaborate.

That doesn't have to be true. We partner with technology vendors, publishers, production teams, and research firms every day. When I started my agency 11 years ago, practically all we did for the first couple of years was partner with larger agencies. And we were good at it. Today, we are one of those larger agencies, and we still find ourselves working within an ecosystem of partnerships more often than not.

How did we do it? Here are five ways.