Who knows your business better than you do? Who wants it to succeed more than you? From small businesses to large corporations, the struggle is often how to find the right partner that will take your brand and your sales strategy and turn it into traffic boosting, brand enhancing, revenue raising marketing! But the line between ad agency and marketing agency is often confusing.
Typically, an advertising agency is charged with creating and publicizing the company’s brand by creating ads and then purchasing space for the ads in various media. But many marketing agencies take that “brand” and run with it—utilizing public relations, direct marketing and Web-based activity to target customers with specific offers to drive retail traffic for their clients. And like all businesses today, more and more such “marketing consultants” are changing their business model to encompass a broader scope of services, including digital marketing
and social media.
Marketing agencies typically center on leveraging the company’s brand and using it to create communications, offers, events, point-of-purchase displays, etc. that move customers to visit the retailer, utilize the service, purchase the goods or remain loyal to the brand. They utilize a wide array of multi-channel communications
from direct mail, to micro websites, emails, and video, to mobile/smart apps and social networks.
WHY OUTSOURCE WHEN YOU HAVE AN IN-HOUSE TEAM?
Marketing agencies utilize targeted, customized communications that are timely and measurable in terms of revenue generated and ROI. Customer data and industry knowledge that help you target the right customer at the right time with the right offer is the secret sauce behind good marketing agencies and their ability to deliver marketing ROI (return on investment) for you.
||Marketing Services Outsourcing
Given the above importance of industry knowledge and customer data (demographic, financial history, lifestyle habits, life stage, consumption propensities, after-sales service history, etc.), it is clear that technology and creativity will be equal partners in developing marketing strategy and execution.
Companies debate the value of keeping an in-house staff of marketing experts, or finding either an ad agency or outside marketing firm to help build awareness and loyalty for their products and services. It is important to note that some full-service outsourced marketing assistance
and services providers can go much farther than even the typical marketing agency discussed above.
And there are definite advantages that a marketing services provider can offer that an in-house team can’t.
- Broader view on strategy: An outside agency will normally bring you a broader view on strategy that may include different channels or media that an in-house team may have had limited experience or exposure to
- Full-service experience: Based on experience with other clients, the outside agency should have both a realistic understanding of your expected results and be able to set expectations too. A full-service provider will be able to provide outsourced marketing services (including creative), and technology support (Web hosting, SEO/SEM, etc.), dealer and channel support and consultancy, and event support—to name a few.
- Partnerships and best practices: The agency could also have a wider reach of potential partners to implement strategies. And, because an agency works with diverse clients, there is an opportunity to integrate best practices and methodologies across verticals. A full-service player will additionally bring you technology capabilities and a partner ecosystem that extends its capabilities even further!
- Innovation: While the in-house team brings its complete immersion in the brand and the objectives of their product or service to an outsourcedpartnership, an outside agency can provide the innovation to reach those goals and the experienced industrypeople who will take the ideas and turn them into marketing campaigns and verifiable results. A full-service marketing services provider like Aditya Birla Minacs can not only design and execute your direct marketing campaigns but can integrate incoming prospect inquiries to high touch contact centers.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO IS THE RIGHT FIT?
So how do you go about deciding who fits your requirements best? If we agree that the right fit brings energy, and new ideas, then a tactical roadmap to outsourcing and achieving measurable results is crucial:
- Does the proposed partner listen to what you’re saying? Are they deeply immersed in the market? There are broad-based marketing agencies which utilize a methodology that is applied across all industries. And there are targeted marketing agencies which develop products and services specific to industries and markets. Which suits your company’s needs? How much customization and integration do you need? Would having a deep understanding of metrics and competitors in your market help you develop a marketing strategy?
- Are they ahead of the curve in terms of innovation? The ability to use “buzzwords” should not be mistaken with results-based experience. Does the agency have demonstrated experience in moving brands forward through ROI, increased sales, loyalty management, etc.?
- Does the company spend time upfront understanding your business and your data (transactional, customer, demographic, etc.) so that they can set legitimate timelines to integrate communications and measure results? Is there a specific campaign or pilot project that can be used to test the partnership?
- As you ask questions, do they bring in subject matter experts that show there are a lot of brains and manpower beyond the sales team? What’s a typical timeline for implementing programs such as the one you are discussing? Is the agency utilizing partners and if so, who are they?
- Who are their current clients and what specific programs and results can be shared that match up with your needs?
- How many resources will be dedicated to your business? Who are the key people who will run your account?
- What is the current financial state of the agency? What are the objectives and goals of the agency in the next year, 5 and 10 years?
Much like marketing itself, finding a good partner to outsource this vital area of your business to, is both a science and an art. There are quantitative measures (years in business, reputation, clients, data knowledge, product sets) and there are qualitative areas that are equally important (passion for your business, connection, communication styles). It’s time well spent to make sure the company you choose measures up in all the important ways.
Share your tips in the comments!