NOTE: There are dozens of different types of ad agencies; however, we’ve combined them into just a handful, so it’s easier to digest.
While there are many marketing/ad agencies out there that say they specialize in everything marketing related, odds are, their focus is only within a handful of areas of the general marketing bucket.
These can include website design, website development, application development, online marketing, SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media marketing, public relations, direct mail, email marketing, marketing automation, etc. Some of the marketing areas mentioned are more related and therefore more easily grouped together for an agency to specialize in (i.e., all areas within web development).
SELECTING THE RIGHT TYPE OF MARKETING AGENCY
In many ways, choosing a marketing firm is like picking which tool to use from a toolbox. In some instances, you may need a full set of tools. In others, you may need only one or two specific tools to get the job done. In marketing, the same rules apply. For some projects, you may only require a web developer and designer (i.e., website re-design). Other projects may focus on hitting SEO and content to drive users to your site, so they utilize a content marketer and SEO firm. The type of marketing project or goal you have will determine which type of marketing firm you partner with.
Below we’ve broken out the different types of marketing ad agencies with some pros and cons of each, to help you differentiate between your options.
1. WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
Web design and development specialize in building, developing and hosting websites. These agencies really focus on enhancing the user experience through functionality and user responsiveness. Further, for more specialized uses, if you’ve ever dreamed of developing an app for another vehicle for your product, these agencies can help.
Where web design and development come up short, are the areas of digital marketing. As design & development can create a user-friendly, beautiful website, they don’t have the SEO acumen to drive new users to that site.
2. PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) / BRANDING AGENCIES
A lot of companies go to PR or branding agencies either when they’re just starting out (think to develop a logo) or to get a boost in reinvigorating their brand. PR agencies specifically are very effective in helping get your name out to your target audience.
The downside for these agencies is if you don’t have the content or online presence to back up the PR claims, the message may fall short.
3. FULL-SERVICE AD AGENCIES
Traditionally these types of agencies are the large advertising and marketing agencies that offer a wide spectrum of services (i.e., tv, print, radio, online, PR, digital and online). Full-service ad agencies are wonderful for an all-encompassing portfolio of tools to help your company out in a broad way. This provides a simplistic approach to tackle everything under one umbrella.
As you can imagine, an agency that offers a one-stop shop for most, if not all your needs, loses a little in the specialization. You may also not receive the attention you feel one area requires over another.
4. INDUSTRY FOCUSED MARKETING AGENCIES
Industry-focused marketing agencies often time specialize in marketing for one or two specific industries (i.e., recruiting/ staffing firms). The focus here gives them a unique advantage of having a strong understanding of your overall industry and the marketing best practices for that industry. This comes as an advantage as you know you’re not the first business in your industry they’ve worked with and have had success with. Often, they’re able to offer a more customized marketing strategy with unique recommendations they’ve found to be valuable for other clients within that industry.
While industry focused agencies excel at marketing within their specific industry, they lack the diversity of other marketing/ad agencies have, who work with a range of clients/industries.
DON’T LET PRICE DICTATE WHICH MARKETING FIRM YOU CHOOSE
Once you’ve determined what type of marketing agency you’re going to partner with, next comes choosing exactly which marketing firm that is. Whatever qualifications you use when choosing is up to you; however, price is the one thing that should NOT be one of those factors.
In many situations price can often be a good indicator of quality, you need to choose the right marketing agency that best fits your business/marketing goals.
Keep in mind, your decision on which marketing agency to partner with doesn’t need to last forever but choosing the right marketing firm can help you more quickly grow your business.
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