Is working with an agency just so 1968?

More and more in my travels, I’m spending time explaining the full-service agency model to prospects that believe they can (a) do a lot of the marketing communications work in-house or (b) assemble a virtual network of low-priced freelancers with individual talents in strategy, research, copy, design, web and the like.

These can be effective models to be sure. If an owner/manager has the knowledge and time to run with it, there have been times when I’ve agreed that a full agency relationship may not be best for their business. Managing a disconnected group of talents can definitely cost less if you’re willing to put the time into it.

Sometimes though, an agency just makes the most sense:

  • Clients can establish a full outsourced marketing department without the overhead or legislative encumbrances of employing someone in these roles. You will also benefit from an overarching continuity to your brand’s voice, visual identity and marketing strategy that can be overlooked with a fragmented service approach.
  • An agency project manager is responsible for monitoring the tactical work and keeping things moving and on schedule – priorities are easier to manage when not dealing with freelancers who have other clients and projects to juggle. We take you out of your vacuum with the objectivity of an outsider trained to ask questions and to some extent challenge the status quo.
  • There is great value in our breadth of learning, expertise and experience gained from working with hundreds of other clients. We can apply what we learn from their best practices (and mistakes) in the solutions we bring to you.
  • You have access when you need it to a diverse range of trained and experienced talents in strategy, engagement/research, writing, graphic design, media/PR, multimedia, web/social, etc. – both inside our shop and within our strong network of experts.
  • Responsiveness in spades. As someone who knows and understands your business, we can act fast, turning around projects quickly – an article, a digital or print ad, a presentation, a trade show booth…
  • Access to screened and professionally managed production suppliers – printing, swag, show graphics, video, etc. – and we assume responsibility for the final product.

The agency model is not dead. It’s evolving, to be sure – from padded, long-lunch people-pleasers to astute, nimble teams delivering the diverse range of marketing talents needed in today’s eclectic marketplace.

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