The world of digital marketing is incredibly complex, encompassing a huge variety of different skills ranging from social media marketing to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), branding and even website development. However, with so many different aspects required to formulate a successful digital marketing campaign, many firms are left wondering whether they should employ a full-service agency or outsource each component to separate specialist firms.
If that sounds like you, read on to learn some of the key differences between full-service agencies and specialist firms – and how to decide which is best for your brand.
Full-service vs specialist – the primary difference
A full-service agency is exactly as it sounds – a company that provides a ‘full’ marketing service, typically encompassing many skills and functions including:
- Website development and design
- Crafting of marketing strategies
- Brand design and development
- Content creation and promotion
- Digital marketing e.g. email promotion and social media marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services for higher search engine ranking
- Print design and/or advertising
- Packaging design and supply
Obviously, all marketing firms are different and not all companies will supply the same services but a full-service agency will usually try to cover most of the above areas.
On the other hand, you have specialist firms that typically focus on just one – or perhaps a select few – of the above services.
The question is, which is best for you?
Deciding between full-service or specialist
Clearly, a full-service agency aims to be jack of all trades – but that doesn’t necessarily equate to them being master of none. Indeed, a professional agency will look to hire the very best specialist employees to staff the various divisions of their company and will organize their best staff into teams dedicated to particular projects and campaigns. But, you should be wary of one-man-band, supposedly full-service agencies – with so many skills involved, it’s next to impossible for one person to adequately handle everything.
One of the biggest advantages of working with a full-service agency is that you’ll have just one point of contact – meaning the message and aims of your campaign will stand considerably less risk of getting lost in the process. You’ll also be given one complete cost up-front for your campaign, which you can then tailor to your specific needs. For example, the various digital marketing services from Flyrise (one of our favorite small business digital marketing companies we’ve come across) could be chopped and changed as you see fit for your firm, perhaps placing more emphasis on content creation and SEO to create more inward links.
It’s common for clients to report finding it far easier to work with just one firm as the agency will have already built up a considerable knowledge of their business and can advise on the advantages/disadvantages of each specific aspect of a campaign, and what Return on Investment (ROI) they might bring.
On the flip side, you have the dedicated agencies – as mentioned, normally specializing in just one (or a couple) of areas of digital marketing. In some cases, this can be a distinct advantage – particularly if you already have an in-house marketing division but lack particular skills. Or perhaps your full-agency firm doesn’t provide one aspect of promotion that you specifically need. In these instances, it can prove considerably more cost-effective to just hire the skills you’re lacking to fill in the gaps.
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