Outsourcing: Why should I consider retaining a full-service agency?
May 17, 2018
Some small and mid-sized businesses are reluctant to retain an agency. Most often, people think of full-service agencies as managing multi-million-dollar ad campaigns for big consumer brands and associate them with hefty retainer fees. Others have spent decades coordinating all advertising, marketing and PR in-house, making it difficult to trust an outside firm and introduce an entirely new process to their complex corporate culture. But change is often necessary to take your business to a higher level.
Most companies don’t think twice about outsourcing certain critical functions, such as legal, accounting, financial consulting, sales, etc. So why not marketing? Finding the right agency and establishing a partnership that really works is not an easy task, but there are many advantages to using a third-party marketing firm. And, not all agencies require super-sized budgets or charge high fees.
The key is to find a reputable small or mid-sized firm that can develop and implement a fully integrated marketing communications plan based on your short- and long-term goals. The true value of an agency lies in the creation of a customized and holistic marketing strategy — above and beyond clever advertising. Beware of agencies that proudly showcase their creative awards, but shy away from showing their results. Case studies and client references that speak to profitability and growth are far more important. Ideally, the firm you select should be your agency for many years – growing by helping you grow – so look for one that has a history of long client tenure. Once you find a worthy agency, treat and educate those working on your business like a valuable extension of your sales/marketing team and your company will reap many benefits.
Six Reasons to Consider Retaining a Full-Service Ad Agency
1. Team of Experts: Many businesses turn to agencies for specialized knowledge. Small businesses, in particular, may not have their own marketing department and can greatly benefit from the depth of experience an agency can bring to the table. When you retain an agency, the account is usually assigned a team of experts to work on your business including media buyers, graphic artists, copywriters, account supervisors, PR specialists and web designers/developers. These marketing professionals provide expertise that most businesses can’t afford to bring on board as employees. In fact, depending on the size of the agency and scope of work, the retainer fee may actually be less than the salary and benefit package associated with hiring just one internal marketing person.
2. Time Savings: Rather than coordinating numerous projects with multiple vendors, using an agency allows all projects to flow through a single point of contact, usually the account executive (AE). The benefit? You only need to manage one relationship. The agency’s AE collaborates with all team members and vendors; they are responsible for keeping track of everything. Managing all or most of your marketing projects through one firm saves time, provides synergy and helps ensure that all outbound materials are strategically aligned and consistently branded. A good agency will complement your existing staff, supplement your marketing efforts and maximize your ROI.
3. Cost Savings: Because agencies usually receive retainer fees and media commissions for their services, many small and mid-sized businesses assume these added costs will hurt their bottom line. Actually, the opposite is true. Hiring an agency can save both time and money. Since agencies book advertising for numerous clients, they are able to leverage their media relationships and secure steep discounts. Savvy media buyers also negotiate package deals, value added opportunities, premium positions, and complimentary media placements. They are experts at analyzing media options and finding the best media mix to reach your target audience and maximize your ROI. In addition, they stay abreast of new media vehicles and proactively provide highly-targeted opportunities throughout the year.
4. Brand Buzz: Public relations is often a media discipline that is granted minimal resources, yet it’s one of the most cost-effective means to increase your brand awareness and create “buzz” in your industry. On an ad hoc basis, most small businesses simply write a press release, email it to a few media outlets and hope for the best. There is way more to PR than that. When looking for a full-service agency, try to find one with strong in-house PR capabilities that can create and execute a comprehensive proactive and reactive program for the entire year. PR professionals have exceptional writing skills and can craft releases, feature stories, case studies and pitch materials that will pique an editor’s interest in covering the topic. They also have daily contact with editors and valuable media relationships that a typical marketing person simply does not have time to cultivate.
5. Brand Freshness: Well-established brands often need a “facelift” to stay relevant in the marketplace and to align their current corporate mission and vision with their existing brand perception. Agencies can help refresh your brand image by developing a new company logo, tagline and set of corporate identity guidelines. When is the last time your business updated its website? Does it look dated? Most full-service agencies have experienced web designers and developers (either in-house or on-call) that can refresh your site, teach you how to update its content, and perform behind-the-scenes coding and search engine optimization which will improve your organic search results. Is your brand “fresh”?
6. New Ideas: Some businesses worry that a third-party marketing firm is not going to really “get” who they are or know how to market their products/services in a way that differentiates them from their competitors. When searching for an agency, it would be ideal to find one with very specific and extensive knowledge in your industry. However, that’s not always necessary. General agencies with experience in a variety of industries often provide a fresh perspective and an unbiased opinion. Unlike internal employees, agency teams do not feel compelled to agree with clients when they truly believe that their interests will be better served with a different solution. Agencies learn from their experiences with other clients and proactively recommend new strategies and media vehicles.
To learn more about how a full-service agency can help your business grow, give us a call at 973-227-8080 or submit an inquiry at www.turchette.com/contact-us/.