people working in modern full-service office at computers

As your business grows and changes, so do your marketing needs. You will need to find a more suitable and effective way of psychologically targeting your consumers, as discussed by universities similar to University of Southern California. But when deciding to partner with a marketing agency, how can you find the best fit?

A good place to start when choosing a marketing solution is deciding between two main types of agencies: full-service and specialists.

What’s the Difference?

Not all marketing agencies are the same, and it’s important to be aware of what differentiates them before deciding on one for your business.

Full-service agencies operate exactly as they sound — they offer a full range of marketing services. Specific offerings may vary between full-service agencies, but most provide some combination if not all of the following services:

  • Brand development and design
  • Formulating a marketing strategy
  • Website design and coding
  • Search engine optimization (seo) and seo audit
  • Marketing automation and digital promotion via email and social media
  • Content creation
  • Print Advertising
  • Sales collateral development
  • Packaging design and manufacturing

On the flip side of the coin, specialist marketing agencies provide single or a select few services. They might focus on providing just one of the services listed above, and they concentrate on a particular group of marketing channels. They may even direct their business towards specific industries; for example, law firms may seek out a marketing agency specializing in lawyers.

The Case for Full-Service

While specialized agencies may be a good fit for businesses with a very specific, single need, full-service is highly preferred for the comprehensive objectives of most people searching for marketing help.

Knowledge

One clear advantage of an integrated agency is the breadth of expertise it brings to marketing campaigns. Most full-service agencies have extensive experience in a range of fields.

This is especially useful for smaller companies and startups that are just getting off the ground because agency professionals are able to assist at every stage of branding and marketing. From naming and tagline creation to social media promotions, a full-service agency has the capabilities to advise and implement expert strategies that deliver measurable results.

In contrast, the narrow focus of a specialized agency allows for the development of skills and expertise in one certain area. The marketing landscape, especially when it comes to digital marketing, is ever-changing, and specialists stay up-to-date with changes and advancements in their field.

That being said, most companies face a wide distribution of marketing challenges, many of which full-service agencies can help tackle.

bar graph showing companies' top marketing needs

Source: HubSpot

Ease

It is likely that your company will have more than just a single marketing need in its lifetime, and each addition of a new specialist adds more complexity to the equation. Employing multiple specialist agencies means more work for you, as you will need to act as the middleman to manage them all.

Full-service agencies take on this responsibility and simplify the process so you can focus on managing, scaling, and building your business.

The more third parties are involved, the more complicated communication becomes. It is much easier to only have to communicate with a single agency that possesses all the capabilities you need under one roof, with a team that works together.

Coherence and Consistency

When a single entity oversees your branding and marketing strategy, you can be sure your brand’s messaging will be consistent across all channels.

If you go the specialist route, you may achieve consistency within a single platform, but as soon as you begin bringing on more specialists to handle different channels, you run the risk of confusing your brand’s message.

Furthermore, full-service agencies work on different layers of marketing simultaneously. This collaboration allows for a broader perspective of your overall brand and business, while the viewpoints of specialist agencies tend to be more myopic.

jay conrad levinson quote - marketing is not an event, but a process. you improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.

Trust

Specialists naturally favor the platforms they specialize in and will therefore push for driving more resources and energy toward those specific channels. Due to diverse offerings, full-service agencies are likely to be more objective when recommending which avenues are right for your objectives.

When multiple specialists are involved, it can become difficult to decide where to focus resources. They all may advocate for a level of creative direction, and it is ultimately easier to entrust this to a single company rather than splitting ownership between several.

Cost

The cost of marketing services can vary greatly depending on need.

If you only require a single marketing service, such as packaging design for your product, a specialist agency may fit the bill. Going to a specialist can cut out middleman costs and ensure you only pay for the service you need, but in doing so, you sacrifice the wide range of expertise and options that are available from full-service agencies.

Keep in mind that your needs may expand or contract. When they do, it would certainly be more cost-effective to have a full-service agency that you can use to add or remove services as your own internal capabilities evolve. This way, you don’t have to stop everything you had with one specialist. You can ramp up or down with one broad entity that knows where you are going, and expects changes along the way as it helps you get there.

Making the Choice

There are pros and cons to both full-service and specialist marketing agencies.

If your company already has a functioning marketing team with a wide range of capabilities, it might make sense to bring in a specialist to plug a specific hole of expertise. For most companies, however, full-service agencies are the way to go because of the simplicity of having one point of contact, along with their breadth of expertise and holistic perspective on your business.

At Deal Design, we understand that the needs of every brand and business are unique and dynamic. As a full-service agency, we offer a large spectrum of expertise in various industries and have showcased this diversity for our clients over a period of two decades.

We are happy to work with businesses at every stage of the creative process. Whether you are in need of a single service or are searching for help in building your brand from the ground up, Deal Design is here to help.

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