Much of the work carried out by digital agencies is fairly low-tech, frequently hidden in a black box and wrapped up in a £££ invoice. Often, the operational marketing tasks in the digital world can be automated to a high degree, or bought-in as services in a very cost effective way. Spend the time looking for ways to cut the operational load and simplify/de-skill/speed-up/automate the work.
A good example of this is social media sharing; this is a low-tech task that involves an individual selecting some content to be shared and then posting it to various social authority channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google + et al). Except, there exists a plethora of tools to do all the hard work for you, automatically posting at scheduled times, recording clicks and shares etc. Use them, and use your in-house folks to deliver all the automation elements. It takes no time and it’s good to be in control of the big levers and switches as you might change suppliers and wrenching the control of levers can be painful, slow and frustrating.
If you can’t manage to create the operational levers in-house, then get your agency to set them up for you but make sure you take them back off them. It’s good to collaborate and it’s good that your partners can take the strain in time of trouble but all organisations should be digitally self-sufficient at an operational level.
The final element is around reporting and management. If the vision has converted into a gameplan that everyone understands then the whole team should be on top of delivery without the need to have draconian reporting measures (read: toxic meetings). With all information out in the open and accessible by the teams and the stakeholders there should be no surprises. If this sounds alien then you’ll need to allocate a project manager and add reporting lines and processes … or look to become more agile, maybe review your working environment and encourage time efficiency.
The old linear style of waterfall delivery is being replaced as new working environments and tools offer more flexible and faster ways of designing and delivering digital services.