How 90 Works: Cross-Functional Marketing
“Being easy to work with is a seriously underestimated skill.”
I read that sentiment on LinkedIn recently and it got me to thinking about how people at 90octane work together—which is to say, closely.
Whereas silos are the bane of many organizations’ existence, at 90, it’s integrated marketing personified. Sure, there are times when colleagues debate over approach or maybe just don’t click. But considering the deeply interconnected nature of our work, being easy to work with is truly the path of least resistance.
The concept of “brand-to-demand” marketing has gained popularity recently, but we’ve been doing it in practice (if not in name) for a long time. That’s because we’re not just committed to an idea. We’re committed to seeing that idea all the way through, seeing what works and what doesn’t, how to optimize along the way, and what learnings we can apply later—frequently with the same client, with one campaign fueling another.
Because at 90, we pride ourselves on being a long-term partner, building deep knowledge of the inevitably complex solutions and audiences that define B2B.
Read on to see how creatives at 90 work with other teams.
Our CE (AKA “account”) team is the primary contact for—you guessed it—clients. In this respect, it’s not so different from what you’d see at most agencies.
What is different from many, however, is they’re not just taking a client’s plan and seeing that it’s executed as envisioned. No, instead CE takes an active role in planning programs from scratch, based on the objectives, audiences, budgets, etc. at hand—and constantly consulting the other teams at 90 along the way.
It’s rare that we simply execute on a pre-defined strategy. Sometimes clients will even “park” money with us, knowing that we’ll figure out a way to make the most of those funds when the time is right. When reviewing creative output, our CE team will view the work through the clients’ lens—asking how certain decisions advance the program’s goal or pointing out phrasing or visuals a client might take issue with.
Strategy and insights
If CE is the voice of the client, our strategy and insights team is the voice of the customer. Using a mix of primary and secondary research, they uncover findings on our target audiences and connect dots that may at first seem to have no connection at all. This underpins subsequent creative, ensuring that messaging and concepts are grounded in what’s valuable and true to the audiences we’re trying to reach.
Our IM team spans a variety of disciplines including paid search, social media and traditional/new media—from print and out-of-home to podcasts and Reddit. They’re the ones who find said audiences and determine the most effective ways to activate the work we produce. If emails are unlikely to garner response, maybe a LinkedIn Conversation will work better instead. A high-impact placement may not have the desired, well, impact on the New York Times, but may work well on the Wall Street Journal. We work closely with IM to tailor creative to the platform. Along the way, IM is keeping tabs on performance and we use metrics to further lean into what’s working and sometimes pull altogether what’s not.
Our PMs are the unsung heroes at 90. They’re the ones creating timelines, balancing competing priorities and taking a 10,000-foot view (there’s a reason for the name of our resource management software) across the agency to ensure the various accounts have the support they need. Sometimes you’ll hear about the crazy hours of “agency life”—and I’ve experienced it firsthand myself. At 90, we’re lucky that’s very much the exception, not the rule. And it’s thanks to the PM team. If we’re completely overstretched or a certain deadline just won’t happen, they’re always ready and willing to shift things around and get us what we need to make the best work happen.
We can’t forget how creatives work with others on the creative team—a mix of writers, designers, developers, and practitioners in our burgeoning experiential practice. The whole team gets together frequently to share what’s happening across accounts—sometimes this can be as sexy as a hologram-based campaign, other times it’s as mundane as a content brief. But all of it is valuable knowledge-sharing to help us generate new ideas, best practices and ultimately, great work.
“At 90, we pride ourselves on being a long-term partner, building deep knowledge of the inevitably complex solutions and audiences that define B2B. ”