Chances are if you’ve worked in digital marketing for a period, it’s likely that you’ve come across both full-service and specialist agencies. Depending on the situation and often their personal experience, many marketers have a preference. Whilst there are many opinions on which approach is generally better, the truth is that you should look to understand your requirements and find a partner which aligns with your aspirations and culture.
At Green Ginger, we’re a little biased. We believe that businesses can unlock increased value from working with specialists. However, we have worked in digital for many years, working with many businesses and so have experience of specialists and full-service agencies.
Many agencies consider themselves full-service. This means they offer everything needed to launch and grow online. Often including website development, creative and marketing amongst other services.
A full-service agencies proposition often relies on convenience and price, which can be important for many businesses. However, many full-service agencies still specialise in one service (such as site development) behind the scenes. If this is the case, it could be argued that a cheaper price may not always be the best value or could even be a false economy.
A good specialist agency should be an expert in their field. This is particularly important in digital marketing. The digital marketing industry changes and evolves rapidly and staying on top of best practice can be tough.
Specialist agencies are often more agile than integrated agencies, with a smaller team of experts (although there are some exceptions). They can respond to requests and change quickly. Whilst full-service agencies often cite consistency as a key benefit of their service, a good specialist agency should proactively work with other partners/specialists through the customer journey. We believe it’s important to understand what everyone is working to ensure consistency, ultimately, for the end-user. Only by understanding each potential touchpoint can we ensure we’re connecting customers and brands as efficiently as possible.
Which is best for you?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard answer to this question. We would always advocate analysing your needs and requirements before working with any agency, this will give you a clear framework when speaking to potential partners.
However, we would recommend thinking about the following points:
Work with a partner who will provide you with the best value
Taking digital marketing as an example. A specialist agency may allow you to unlock increased marketing efficiencies. Whether this be through growing reach, reducing marketing spend or improving return-on-investment – this would ultimately drive better value for a client
Find a partner who takes time to understand your business, objectives and customers
Any partner should take the time to understand your business as much as possible. This may include your customer base, your products/services and any pain points. If an agency – either full-service or specialist – doesn’t take the time to do this, it is unlikely you will develop a long-lasting, profitable relationship with them
Know what you need from an agency partner and get to know them
Different businesses will need different services and have different requirements. Before approaching agencies, ensure you understand what you are looking for in a partner. Perhaps you need an agile partner who can respond to change and requests quickly or maybe cost is an important factor for you (integrated doesn’t always mean cheaper). Whatever your needs, keep an open mind and speak to a few potential partners before selecting the right one for you.
When speaking to potential partners about their services and proposition, challenge them on expertise and range of services looking at client case studies and testimonials where possible. By speaking to partners, you’ll get a feel for them and build trust which is important in any relationship.
At Green Ginger, we’re proud to specialise in digital marketing. Whilst we know what a good website looks like and what makes a strong customer-experience, we’re not technical website experts. Whilst we have a strong network of recommended partners we can introduce to our clients; we stick to what we’re good at – getting people to your site through customer-first marketing strategies. We proactively work with other partners (and can recommend partners) to create a strong, consistent service for clients.
Ultimately, we believe you should choose an agency based on the best value for your business.
Feel free to get in touch and discuss your needs today. If we don’t believe we’re the best partner for you, we’d be happy to help you find your ideal match – that’s digital done differently.