Full-service or Niche Agency?
September 19, 2018
September 19, 2018
If you’ve worked with agencies for any period of time the idea of a full service agency versus working with a number of niche agencies has probably come up and there’s a good likelihood that you have quite a few different marketing tactics that you’re needing for your business. So you might need HR, SEO, paid advertising, website development, general marketing, branding, design, all of these different marketing needs are needed for your company.
And so you’re presented with a problem of do I look for a full service agency that offers basically all of the different services that I need or do I work with a variety of agencies that are niche agencies where I can just basically pick certain companies that say they specialize in these different areas and work with those individually? And both have pros and cons that I think are definitely worth considering when you’re going down this road or when you’re looking for new agency partners. So on the full service side the benefit is that you have everything in one house.
So from a collaboration and communication perspective it’s probably quite a bit easier. You have maybe one account manager or just a few account managers really, really focusing on your account and they’re kind of running traffic control within the agency. Now there’s kind of a difference between agencies that may be between 10 and 30 and agencies that might have 30, 40, 50 and above. But if we’re talking about maybe between 10 and 30 or 10 and 40 people then a lot of the work can be done in house but probably by a small group of people like each department only has a couple people, there are a number of managers, there’s a few owners, there’s some people that are maybe behind the scenes support staff, but let’s say in the website department there’s like three developers, there’s a few designers, there’s a few PPC specialists, and the benefit of that is that they’re all in the same office and working together to some degree.
From a communication protocol you’re just talking to one account representative, you’re having meetings just maybe once a week, and it’s a little bit more streamlined on the communication front. Now the downside to a full service agency is that a full service agency is typically not an expert at everything they do. It’s very hard to be amazing at everything. If you get in the realm of maybe 100 people working at the agency or a very large number then there’s a good change that the departments are all acting as kind of mini-agencies, theoretically, and performing quite well, but even then that’s a little bit of a risk, that may or may not be the case. But if it’s an agency between 10 and 40 then you have a few different people in each department sometimes without a major stakeholder in that department, they might just be running some ads or doing some design work or doing some website development, but it’s not highly, highly focused.
Now when you move over to the niche agencies side then you have a lot of different agencies basically doing all the work of one agency, one full service agency, but all independently. So the downsides there are kind of obvious. I mean, you have all these different agencies that you’re talking to, so you have multiple meetings. You have a number of different contracts, your different pricing structures, there may be a little bit of overlap, communication may not be as good between the agencies because they’re all kind of working separately, but on the other hand the agencies are technically experts at what they do.
So at ParaCore we only do pay per click advertising, we fall in the niche category, and that’s all we do. We talk about Facebook ads, Instagram, LinkedIn, AdWords, Bing, these campaigns all day long. All we do is working on optimizing campaigns and that’s just all we do. We don’t do anything related to SEO. We only do designs for our campaigns, we’re not building websites, you know, we do landing page development but we’re not doing PR. You know, we’re not doing all of these different campaigns that work in conjunction with PPC, and so that has pros and cons because we then need to communicate with other agencies on what campaigns they’re running, have all agencies calls. However, when it comes to the performance of what we’re working on, rarely do I see us competing at the same level as a full service agency, or I might say a full service agency competing at the level we’re at because we’re just in it all day long, really, really deeply ingrained in a lot of different accounts.
So, when you are, as a marketer, as a business owner, when you look at these two different scenarios, it really is a function of what’s most important to you. Do you want to reduce the amount of communication, have everything in one house, have everyone working together, knowing that there’s probably one or two areas that that full service agency is really, really, really amazing at, and the other areas they’re in all likelihood in multiple service agencies they’re kind of average at, or do you move to a more niche agency model where you’re working with maybe between three and five agencies, which is more communication, more contracts, a little bit more on the management side, but each one of these agencies is probably operating at a little bit higher level than maybe a full service agency. I have a lot of friends that run full service agencies. I have friends that run niche agencies. And so, I’d love to hear your feedback on that perspective because I think it’s a debate that we run across a lot. We’ve definitely lost quite a few clients because we don’t offer SEO and we’re not full service, and they’re looking for a lot of services in one company. On the same token, we’ve won a lot of contracts because all we do is PPC and if someone is really heavily invested in PPC then they wanna work with us because that’s what we do and that’s where they believe and we believe they’re gonna get the best performance out of that one channel.
So I’d be really curious to hear what you think as an agency owner, business owner, marketer. And I hope you’ll comment below. And if you’re watching this on YouTube I hope you’ll like the channel, subscribe, and let me know what feedback you have because I’d love to open this discussion because I run across it all the time and I wanna hear what other agency owners and business people think. So thanks again, my name’s Adam. I’m the owner of ParaCore, and I’ll see you in the next video.
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