The marketing world can be very confusing. Especially, when you are looking to hire a marketing agency.
What is a Marketing Agency?
A Marketing Agency is a business that provides marketing services. Keep in mind that a business can be a single person working out of their home, a global organization with tens of thousands of employees, or a business anywhere in between.
Like businesses, Marketing Agencies come in all shapes and sizes. There are 1 person shops (freelancer), there are teams of dozens of people and there are teams spread across the globe with thousands of team members.
Some agencies try to specialize in everything while others just offer 1 or 2 marketing services. There really is no standard definition or classification of marketing Agencies other than they all offer marketing services. Because of this vastly ginormous difference from one agency to the other, it is important to understand that comparing 2 agencies to each other will never be Apples to Apples.
You should also know that there is, for the most part, no licensing to be a marketer. So, some marketers have College Doctorates while others are completely self-taught and have no higher education. Now I know what you are thinking, the marketer with the Doctorate is the obvious choice. That is an expensive and dangerous way for your business to look at things.
Let me explain:
Example #1: There is no required, or even well structured, continuing education for marketers so the individual with the Doctorate may have graduated with their degree before Al Gore created the internet. The self-taught individual, on the other hand, is a product of the digital age and simply grew up during the .com boom. Hiring the “more educated” marketer, in this case, would lead you down a road of a double-truck phone book and newspaper ads. While the “less educated” marketer would spend their time focused on Your Website and Social Media Pages.
Which is the better path? Well, that depends on who your ideal client is.
Example #2: Have you ever heard the saying, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”? Now I do not want to discredit teachers but…. there is a reason this saying has stuck around all this time. Like many sayings, there is a thread of truth and as a result, this means that one can only be taught so much. I offer to you, 2 marketers both with College bachelor’s degrees. 1 of the 2 joined a marketing agency right out of school while the other started a construction business. After a while the construction business got boring and the individual then decided to sell the business and start a marketing agency.
Now I ask, which marketer is better for your business? Again, the answer depends on your business and its unique needs. See the marketer who went straight to work for an agency has more professional marketing experience but only in the types of accounts, they were assigned to work on. The other marketer has less professional marketing experience but has more “Failure is not an option” type of experience. If the marketing did not work the construction company had no jobs and would go bankrupt.
So, to find the answer you would need to understand the difference in these 2 marketers and ask yourself which skill set is more valuable to you.
What are the most common types of Marketing Agencies?
Traditional Marketing Agency:
Traditional marketing agencies are the ones that claim to be a one-stop-shop. These types of agencies use fairly basic advertising methods when looking for new clients. The pitch typically goes something like “We are wonderful, give us all of your marketing budget and trust us” then they invest your budget into things like TV, Radio, Billboards, and Print Media. Some of the Traditional Marketing Agencies who are trying to modernize will also spend your money on Google/Bing Pay Per Click and/or Social Media Ads.
Creative and Branding Agency:
Creative and Branding Agencies are for the most part young agencies who have not figured out the best way to gain clients and are hoping to one day grow into some of the other services their competition offers. These types of Marketing Agencies are typically cheaper because they are younger and inexperienced.
Full-Service Marketing Agency:
Full-Service Marketing Agency is another way of saying Traditional Marketing Agency. There really is no difference between the average Full-Service Marketing Agency and the average Traditional Marketing Agency.
Public Relations Agency:
A Public Relations Agency or PR Agency specializes in helping their clients navigate the media. They can assist with branding, promotion, or reputation management using methods like articles, press releases, and media events.
Digital Marketing Agency:
Digital Marketing Agencies are similar to Traditional Marketing Agencies except that they only offer Digital Marketing Services. Services like Social Media Management, Pay Per Click Advertising, Digital Branding, Search Engine Optimization, and Content Marketing are common services offered by Digital Marketing Agencies.
Social Media Agency:
Social Media Agencies are Digital Marketing Agencies that ONLY offer Social Media Marketing services. Like Creative and Branding Agencies these are typically younger agencies who one day inspire to be full Digital Marketing Agency.
Hopefully, this explanation has allowed you to peek behind the curtain enough to realize just how broad the definition of marketer or marketing agency is. With this understanding, please be encouraged to ask more questions than “what services do you offer” or “how much does it cost”? These questions truly are irrelevant if you do not first identify with what type of agency and marketer you are asking the question.
At Maennche Virtual CMO our goal is to help you identify the marketing strategy that makes the most sense to your business. That strategy or blueprint will greatly simplify the process of identifying the right agencies and types of marketers needed for success.
With over two decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience, Matthew Maennche’s views on developing and supporting a successful business are fundamentally different from the norm. As a developer and strategist, Maennche has helped thousands of businesses of all sizes, both domestic and international, take their organizations to the next level.
Matthew also spends time giving back to the local business community as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the local chapter of SCORE.