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What Type of Marketing Agency Should I Be Working With?

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).

Related Post: 4 Ways to Build an Effective Relationship With Your 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., all areas within web development). 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 grow your business.

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4 Ways to Build an Effective Relationship With Your Marketing Agency


Building an effective relationship 

You’ve signed a contract and are ready to get started with a new marketing agency. Now what? The relationship you have with your agency is not unlike any other meaningful relationship in your life: it requires open communication, trust, and managing expectations. It’s important to go into this partnership with the right attitude so that everyone can be successful together. Let’s explore some ways in which you can have a more effective, healthy relationship with your marketing agency.


1. Start your relationship with trust

Like any relationship, trust is crucial when it comes to dealing with your marketing team. You’ve trusted us to be the experts, so trust that we want to succeed as much as you do! We’re your partner, not just a vendor. After the initial client onboarding, we get to work on our deliverables—but at certain points, just because you can’t see something happening, it doesn’t mean it isn’t getting done. Treat us like you would any other employee that you work with in your office: you’ve given us tasks to complete, and now it’s our job to get them done. Always remember that we are here to make your life easier and better. Ask questions as they arise, but trust that as your partner, we’re working on your account and determined to help you succeed. We partnered together because you had a pain-point in your business, so now you can exhale and focus on what you’re most passionate about and let us handle the rest.


2. Keep communication open

While trust is important, as you navigate a new relationship, open communication is equally essential. Don’t assume we can read your mind; tell us, openly, what you are expecting from us. Let’s have a conversation together about if it is feasible and let us explain how we will get it accomplished or why it might not be possible. Not to mention, if you’d like to know something, just ask! We’d love to help you learn about what we’re doing and shed light on any step of the process that you’d like more information on. It’s important to have open communication and complete transparency from the very beginning. Tell us what we’re doing well, but also feel free to offer constructive criticism. What can we do better to make this a more effective, healthy relationship?


3. Tell us your work style preferences

Everyone works a little differently and going back to the fact that we can’t read your mind, it’s important that you let us know your individual preferences. Is there an ideal time of day to contact you? Is there a preferred mode of communication? For some people, hopping on a five-minute call is preferable to emailing back and forth, while others greatly prefer email. Who should be our point of contact for different deliverables? Do you want to be CC’d on certain updates? Are there specific metrics you prioritize over others? From the very start, it’s important that you let us know your preferences, so we can make this the best working relationship possible.


4. Don’t let resentment pile up

Just like in any other relationship, if you let small grievances pile up and fester, they breed long-term resentment. Don’t let this happen! If something bothers you, tell us. It’s much easier to fix problems as they come up rather than have resentment build over things that were not properly addressed at the time. At that point, the relationship can be much harder to repair. If something bothers you or goes wrong, let’s hash it out in the moment instead of waiting until something else happens to trigger that frustration. By addressing the main problem as it occurs, we can have a healthier relationship with fewer hiccups and more success.

At the end of the day, your marketing agency is your partner—treat us like an extension of your team, not a vendor. Pretend as though we’re employees that sit next to you at your office and offer us the same trust, open communication, and transparency you would anyone else. When you succeed, it means we succeed. We’re all in it together!

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