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Carlton PR and Marketing Teams Up With Its Clients

The challenge: unique clients, unique team

Carlton Public Relations & Marketing, a boutique firm in MA, works with clients in a variety of industries, with vastly different business models. Every client has its own unique, often home-grown, way of getting things done. Consequently, each client brings a wide array of technologies and business processes into play. In the fast-moving marketing and PR agency world, the firm needed to find the best way to hit the ground running, producing results quickly while causing minimal disruption for its clients.

CPRM’s internal challenges were similar. To meet its clients’ eclectic needs, CPRM had hired a team with skills in a broad array of marketing disciplines. Each team member’s work methods were different, fitting their style and marketing niche. The situation called for a highly flexible, collaborative workplace solution. After an initial project to consolidate all CPRM’s files from multiple locations into a single SharePoint site, WSC Senior Consultant Mike Dixon recommended Microsoft Teams.  

Because CPRM was collaborating closely on press releases and marketing documents with so many clients, the agency had to adapt to a huge number of technologies. One client might use Dropbox, while another used Google Drive and a third OneDrive. 

WSC had already migrated CPRM’s files and email from Google to Office 365. All of their client data was in a single SharePoint site CPRM could only use internally. This was a problem. CPRM could use its SharePoint site to share files with clients, but the site’s structure exposed them to the risk of sharing the wrong data with an external user. Plus, keeping track of what CPRM stored internally and what was in CPRM’s clients’ own data systems created chaos. CPRM needed a better, more flexible way to collaborate, store data, and share documents.

Approach: Microsoft Teams for a marketing and PR agency extranet 

Teams was the perfect solution. Since WSC had done CPRM’s previous migration, we were familiar with their environment. We could tell that Teams would be a great solution, especially for CPRM’s extranet needs.  Because Teams is built on SharePoint, CPRM’s Teams tenant would inherit their SharePoint site’s safeties and redundancies.

For a proof of concept, we had CPRM onboard a new client directly into Teams, eliminating the need to migrate any old data into Teams. We paid close attention to CPRM’s Teams usage and checked in frequently to identify what was working and what wasn’t. Using what we learned, we iterated on and refined the template for client Teams channels. Then, we laid out a plan for migrating the rest of CPRM’s data. 

Because CPRM is a technologically savvy company, its team had been experimenting with a precursor to Teams called Microsoft Groups. Their experimentations left an odd hodgepodge of tasks to complete, with the client Groups halfway ready to be Teams and the rest to migrate from SharePoint. So, WSC created a large spreadsheet to track which components were ready for Teams and which we needed to build. 

We planned extensively, aiming to finish the migration in as short a time span as possible. The migration took just three days. There was no downtime and there were no hiccups. We were in close communication all through the migration, so if there had been a hiccup, WSC could have addressed it immediately. 

Benefits: an organized and secure home base

The migration’s biggest win was individual Teams for each client. CPRM can manage each Team separately, customize it to the client’s needs, and share it externally with the client. For clients using Google Drive or Dropbox, WSC added a Google Drive or Dropbox connector to the client’s Team. That way, the PR agency’s staff could seamlessly access each client’s data from within their Teams client. One client had a large number of video files; we ported them into Stream and added a Stream tab for that client. Now, everything was all in one place, making it easy for CPRM to collaborate internally and to work with each of its clients without risking exposing the wrong data. 

“Mike came in and not only migrated our email and upgraded our technology, but he also watched us at work and strategically suggested changes and improvements to how we work. Without a major disruption to the business. Incredible.”

Bobbie Carlton, CEO and founder, Carlton PR and Marketing

WSC continues to work with CPRM. With so many clients, each with their unique tech stack and processes, there’s always a fun new challenge to tackle.