When it’s time to find extra resources—staffing, expertise, technology—for your company’s marketing strategy, there are many options and a number of considerations that will influence your decision.
You can choose to add in-house staff; you can hire freelance/contract professionals to fill in gaps; you can work with agencies that specialize in a single marketing channel such as video, social media or SEO; or you can partner with a full-service marketing agency.
Each has its own set of costs, a unique time table, and specific management challenges. I talk about some of those in this blog post: It’s Time To Pick Teams—Who Will Create Your Content.
While the specifics of your current marketing department structure, budget, strategy and timeframe will dictate the final decisions, working with a full-service agency offers 8 distinct benefits, especially for a mid-sized company and marketing team seeking flexibility and access to a wide range of services to supplement in-house capabilities.
1. Single point of contact for all tasks.
How many meetings, emails, and phone calls do you already deal with on a daily or weekly basis? How many more are you willing to add to your to-do list?
One of the greatest advantages of working with a single, full-service marketing firm to supplement your department’s resource is a single point of contact. You don’t have to keep tabs on a handful of freelance writers, an in-house social media manager, a web design firm, and a video firm, all for a single campaign. That is the job of the project manager at the full-service firm that pulls together all the piece of the puzzle. Instead of getting questions and status updates from multiple people throughout the day and week, your project manager handles the small stuff and keeps everything on track.
Then you only have to meet when it is essential. That is a key element in the JONES approach: minimize meetings to maximize results. We don’t confuse visibility with accountability.
Working with a full-service agency takes extra management and communication duties off your plate so you have more time for strategic development or other tasks.
2. Everything ties into a cohesive strategy.
In order to be as effective as possible, all of your marketing efforts need to work together. You need to present consistent messaging in all channels, or else you create a sense of dissonance, and your audience begins to question your authenticity.
If you farm out pieces of your marketing strategy to multiple agencies or freelancers—one for social media, one for video development, one for public relations, and another for your business blog—it will take a lot of oversight and communication on your part to ensure that everyone is on the same page. You want the contributed articles being submitted with your executives’ bylines to reflect the same essential information and message as your blog posts and downloadable reports and whitepapers. Your videos and social media images need to be visibly connected to your brand’s mood board and brand elements.
One of the easiest ways to ensure everything works together is to work with a single full-service agency that can provide all of those elements and ensure they function as a cohesive and comprehensive marketing strategy. When you partner with a full-service agency, that partner knows your brand, understands your objectives, and understands all that is happening. That means everything is created to work together and complement other channels and campaigns.
(See an example of what I mean with the sample campaign here: Create A Winning Inbound Marketing Program.)
3. Greater ROI due to increased efficiency.
Another advantage of having one agency that shares your vision is that that same agency shares information between the individuals working on your projects—you don’t have a handful of freelancers all starting from scratch.
A full-service agency starts with one idea, content piece or campaign and can repurpose it across multiple channels and formats or even replicate a successful campaign with a new topic or target audience. No need to start from the drawing board for each new channel.
(Check out this example of how we pull it all together, using a single marketing survey to fuel blog posts, contributed articles, infographics, videos, and social media content for a client.)
4. Access to all you need: market research, strategic planning, writing, design, video, web development, social media, SEO, PR and article placement.
A full-service firm should have staff with experience and expertise in every area you need. This means once you choose a firm to partner with, you are done with the tedious and risky hiring or search process, which can take months.
A full-service marketing firm should be able to take you from market research and media audits through brand development and messaging to complete campaign planning, creation and implementation, across all channels.
5. Flexibility to try new things.
With all those different offerings, you can easily add something new to try it without onboarding an entirely new firm. If your company has never made a marketing video, which would you rather do: work with the trusted full-service agency that has already been developing great content for you for some time or start the search to find a video production company, which will then need hours, days or even weeks of on-boarding to learn your brand identity, meet key players, and develop a concept that may or may not mesh with the rest of your content marketing strategy.
A full-service firm should be ready to take your program to the next level. Is your company poised for growth? About to introduce a new product line or enter a new geography? If you have an established relationship with a full-service marketing firm, that firm should be ready to grow with you.
They can tap into their resources to provide the additional staffing needed, without you having to go through the process of hiring new staff, especially if the changes in your marketing program don’t require another full-time person. Your partner agency can expand and contract with your needs to provide just the right resources for where you are right now.
When individual firms take on different aspects of your marketing strategy, it can be difficult to parse out what is working and what isn’t and who is responsible. When you work with a single firm that is focused on your ultimate goal—sales—you should expect measuring and reporting that shows results. There is no hiding behind someone else’s work.
Accountability is a cornerstone of the JONES approach. It starts with asking the right questions and setting measurable goals so that we can deliver on our clients’ expectations.
8. Senior staff
Another note on accountability: We believe that by hiring well—meaning we only hire experienced, proven writers, designers, web developers and marketing pros—we ensure that each one of them understands what it means to be accountable to themselves, us, and our clients.
By being very selective in our hiring and working only with experienced staff, we can ensure our clients receive a quality product that requires less management on their end. For example, while some edits are inevitable in marketing copy, especially as an agency and client get to know each other’s style and needs, our commitment to our clients is that they will never have to correct basic grammar, spelling or style errors in the work we send them. It isn’t acceptable to us and it shouldn’t be acceptable to you. If you are correcting basic grammar in the content you receive from a marketing firm, they aren’t giving you their best.
Which of these 8 benefits of hiring a full-service marketing firm is most important to you right now? Even if you don’t currently think you need all of these advantages, I am confident that over the course of a strong working relationship, you will find opportunities to take advantage of them in ways that strengthen and enhance your marketing program.
Do you want to know more about the JONES approach to providing our clients with full-service marketing resources?
Check out this series of blog posts: 15 Years Of Marketing Lessons. Then download any of our Case Studies or Solution Sheets from the Inbound Marketing Learning Library for insights into our methodology and how it might work for you.
I’d also love to chat about your specific situation and how JONES can provide the expertise, flexibility, scalability and accountability you need in a full-service marketing agency partner. Schedule a no-obligation consultation here.