The benefits of an agency to outsource your digital marketing is proven. Where a one man team cannot achieve as much for many obvious reasons, a marketing agency with a strong team can deliver great results.
However, very little discussion is around the right fit of a marketing agency for your needs, and sometimes there is a mismatch between agency and client, leading to frustration and broken dreams.
The landscape of marketing is constantly changing with technology, getting the right exposure is increasingly complex. These days even starting a blog is not so simple. Being ready to spend on advertising campaigns may not always yield results.
Every business is different and is at different stages. There is such a thing as the correct size of an agency for your needs. Hence this article aims to explain “Why Hire A Marketing Agency With The Right Size”. We want to give some tips and inform choice by giving tools to give the best fit.
We hope this short online guide would help you learn how to choose the right firm and consider your actual needs in your decision, as a marketing agency can be a costly investment. Working with the right expertise can often determine the question of whether an organisation makes a return on investment. This is a very important decision for any company.
It does not aim to prescribe a correct agency size for every situation. We aim to explain how to match your needs for the right agency for you based on objective reasons.
A key consideration of choosing a marketing agency, to get digital marketing right, is the size of the agency. With different sized agencies come different advantage and disadvantages. There is also the consideration of to hire in house.
We will analyse the following agency sizes:
- Sole Operator
- Small Agency
- Medium Agency
- Large Agency
Sole operators can be one person agencies, or the business owner themselves. Being a one person outfit, this agency is reliant on a single person to carry out activity.
- Personal service
- Quick response
- Cheaper (usually)
- Communication can be very clear
- Cannot scale with client
- May not have backup if they become ill or incapacitated
- Limited skill-set
- Either the agency has to outsource or the client needs multiple providers
As you can see, a sole operator is only good for the early stages of a business, and if the agency does not grow, the business will outgrow the agency.
A small agency is when things can start to scale. We are a small agency with a team of four people with various skills and we intend to grow into a medium agency as we get results for existing clients and develop our marketing teams to have a wide range of relevant skills. We specialise in lead generation for professionals and small to medium business and our client niches are in Migration, Education and Legal.
A small agency is where the excitement begins. As an agency, our marketing efforts are compounded when team members of various skills band together. This is the beginning of scale. When an agency can scale, the results for clients can be replicated with machine like consistency.
- Multiple team members mean there is less down time or inefficiency
- Broader skill-set
- Still nimble because there is unlikely to be office politics in the agency
- Process starts to be important – a responsible agency owner will implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) at this stage
- Larger projects can be executed
- Communication is still personal
- Too small for large clients or accounts
- Staff retention an issue – if someone leaves there could be a skill gap
- Cannot handle the widest range of tasks
We make no representation that we are a medium agency – we are small and growing and we aim the reach the next stage as an agency, a medium agency and what we think is the sweet spot.
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The whole purpose of this article, “Why Hire A Marketing Agency With The Right Size” is to explain the sweet spot. A medium sized agency is usually the best at delivering results. This is especially if the agency focuses on a service niche and client niche.
Service niches are a service or services that the agency specialises in. They allow the agency to become an expert in their chosen fields – and excel.
Only large agencies can afford to give the full service, covering every offering from website development with graphic designers and still be able to provide solid digital marketing strategy.
However, the above is an exception. Most large agencies are unwieldy and inefficient, and why we never seek to become a large agency offering everything under the sun, but a niched down agency. We only do what we are best at doing and will be very selective of businesses we are unfamiliar with.
It is impossible for anyone or even any business or marketing agency to be good at everything. There is riches in niches and by specialising, an agency is able to deliver consistently. It should be noted that large agencies can also niche down, but this is sometimes harder and cannot be achieved.
So here are the benefits of a medium agency:
- The sweet spot
- Perfect timing to niche down and become really effective
- Still not unwieldy, a well run agency of this size can still have a very collegiate team that works like a well oiled machine
- Capable of handling large clients without being outstripped of resources
- Leaving team members are not an issue for the client or quality assurance
- Cannot be a full service all in one solution
- Certain big clients will not be able to be serviced
- A badly run team in this situation, where there are office politics can be toxic
- More expensive than smaller agencies in general because of overheads
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The Nightmare Of Large Agencies
We would like to note that there are exceptions to this rule everywhere and this is a generalisation, but large agencies have high overheads, heavy pressure and inconsistent results. Our personal experience is that because of the size of the team, and the difficulty to coordinate or ensure strict discipline among staff, being in this environment, even as a marketing manager can be chaotic and very ineffective. Personally, we would avoid most large agencies.
The problem with large agencies is overheads and staff costs. Employing staff in every company is the biggest pain and cost to any agency of any size, and this can really create a desperation to clamour for as many clients as possible, regardless of experience with the client’s industry.
Large organisations are much maligned because many have poor customer service. It is hard to work with a great large agency.
We have seen large agencies:
- Fail to communicate effectively with the client, including on-boarding
- Hiring inexperienced and ineffective interns to compensate for lack of high quality staff
- Over-promising and under-delivering
- Intentionally making it difficult for clients to change providers
- Try to do every niche and every type of business without prior success
However, there remain advantages of large agencies despite the gloom and doom we portray.
- Full service, everything and anything you want
- The manpower to take on large corporations and conglomerates
- A difficulty of losing key persons (if well run)
- Widest range of expertise
- Most use of industry software – scale allows them to afford it
It is not impossible to find a large agency that you will love and can deal with. However, many fall below the mark and fail miserably. Most businesses are better off hiring a small to medium agency. A medium agency, in our opinion, is the sweet spot, and though at the time of writing we are not there yet, we aim to grow until we can reach this stage and stay within our natural niches.
We hope we have answered “Why Hire A Marketing Agency With The Right Size?” and wish you find the best fit for your marketing. Companies and businesses must manage the pros and cons of each type of agency level when looking for marketers. They should look for experienced agencies interested in building relationships and giving real value to them. Money is often an important consideration, but performance is a more significant guide. An effective agency will be able to determine the best strategy for their customers and increase the efficiency of their marketing.
We hope we have answered “Why Hire A Marketing Agency With The Right Size?”
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What are the different sizes of Marketing Agency?
Sole Operator, Small Agency, Medium Agency and Large Agency
What is the best type of agency for a small to medium business?
Small and medium agencies are usually best for small to medium businesses because they offer more personalised service and can scale higher than a sole operator. Sometimes they have service and client niches, making them speialised in their chosen field
Should I use a Large Agency?
A large agency is usually a bad choice. Customer service is poor, cost is high and results are not guaranteed. Only a large corporation or conglomerate really has to use a large agency, if they require manpower and full service
What is a Niche to an Agency?
A Niche is a specialisation. A Service Niche are services an agency is an expert in and a Client Niche is a preferred business industry or type because of past success and natural inclination of the agency
Clarence Ling is the founding partner of Marketlytics, and a dynamic character. Initially a trained Lawyer and Practice Development Manager, he contributed to the growth of his firm, including implementing software.
Clarence Ling is a Digital Advertising and Analytics Expert. Having a wide range of advertising experience ranging from international real estate, to legal and previously worked in full service marketing agencies, Clarence is a diligent marketer with an eye for detail and a talent for numbers.
Clarence can carefully plan out the best budget levels for the desired outcomes with projections that are more accurate than most.
His background in Analytics enables a clear, big picture assessment of both organic and paid campaigns, enabling maximum efficiency of those digital campaigns. His analytical background brings precise clarity of client or customer interaction and behaviour on online assets.
Clarence’s four fields of practice are Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Email Marketing (EDM). He is best as an Advertiser and is an avid collector of Software As A Service (SaaS) Products, avidly investing in both technology and human capital of Marketlytics.