When seeking to engage with a marketing agency, there’s a plethora of things to consider. Am I planning a major campaign? Do I need cutting edge creative? Will they understand the desired outcomes? Do I just need some advice? Will it be full of millennial hipsters with beards on beanbags? It can feel like a bit of a minefield, and one of the key choices to be made is the type of agency you work with.
First up, let’s define the difference between the two main agency types: full-service agencies and service-specific agencies. Full-service agencies tend to take on the process of delivering a project from start to finish, from concept through to audience delivery (and sometimes beyond). Then we have service-specific agencies, which typically take ownership of only part of the process (usually the production of creatives, e.g a photography specialist).
Full-service marketing agencies tend to have several core specialisms supported by a cloud of related services and skills and get involved right from the concept phase of a project. This is where Amplitude is proud to sit in the agency melee, though we do often take on service-specific jobs too.
The benefits of working closely with a full-service agency can include robust market research, increased project flexibility, increased innovation, and having a strategic partner who knows your brand and audiences inside and out.
Let’s delve into these a little bit more deeply, starting with ‘strategic partner’. So… what exactly does that mean?
Well, a strategic partner is one that gets fully invested in your brand, image and tone of voice. That might sound overkill for a single project, which is why these partnerships tend to be longer term. The time invested early on in getting to know your brand, audience and objectives pays off in the long run because you have a trusted partner agency that can spin up work and deliver assets that are right for the brief in an efficient way. It’s even common for partner marketing agencies to be better at looking after and using a company’s brand than the company itself, because branding is what they do day in, day out.
Okay, so that’s great, but why should you be considering a full-service creative agency even if you’re only looking to do a single project or campaign? This is where innovation, flexibility, and research come in.
Full-service creative agencies lap up knowledge and skills wherever they can find them. They’re a melting pot of ideas stemming from all manner of disciplines, and they pay attention to new developments, techniques and technology across them all. This diversity of thought and skill leads to the development of winning creative concepts and
innovation. They’re more likely to give you fresh ideas for your creative campaign, helping you stand out amongst your competition. Not only that, but you’ll commonly find full-service creative agencies are at the cutting edge of marketing asset creation. We’re always pushing the boundaries of what we can deliver, from new animation styles to photography techniques, 3D assets, interactive media. What’s more, we’re doing it in a way that seeks to drive efficiency, giving our partners more bang for their buck and the ability to scale as needed.
Of course, all this great creativity relies on great research. Full-service creative agencies – like ours – typically offer market research services as part of project delivery. They’ll run focus groups, conduct surveys and collect data to help understand your audience as well as is humanly possible. All of this feeds directly into making better campaign deliverables for you, and while there may be a slightly higher up-front cost for this, you’re much more likely to get a return on investment from a campaign that’s properly targeted towards your audience.
But what if your target audience changes slightly mid-project? Or a competitor suddenly launches a new product?
Let’s talk about flexibility
While the two scenarios outlined above are rare, it’s important that the marketing agency you choose to work with is agile, because there’s always a need for some small level of flexibility, even something as small as a tweaked deadline. Full-service marketing agencies tend to be more agile purely due to the multi-skilled nature of their staff. A change in project direction isn’t daunting, because the skills and interest to manage it are already there. A single-service agency might struggle under the same circumstances if what you’re asking for is a little outside their wheelhouse.
Lastly, we’d like to quickly bust one myth about full-service agencies: some people say that full-service agencies are jacks of all trades, masters of none. This simply isn’t true. Full-service agencies are just as passionate and skilled when it comes to single-service projects as single-service agencies. We’ve got amazing, dedicated photographers, animators, videographers and more in our team, but also come with wider commercial understanding and great project management tools. That’s how we make the ‘shiny’ strategic.
If you’ve got a marketing campaign you’d like to chat about, you can find us at: thisisamplitude