Choosing between generalist agency and one that has a specific skill set or specializes in your industry is a complicated decision that requires careful thought.
At this point, you know you want to work with an agency, and you've thought about the positives and negatives of working with someone local or remote. By now, you should have a preliminary list of agencies, but there are a few additional questions to consider before getting in touch.
Yes and no. I feel it’s beneficial to choose an agency that works in a lot of different industries but has some exposure or experience in yours.
It’s useful to think about how you would like your agency relationship to function in the broader context of your business and/or marketing department. This is true both in terms of how comfortable your business is with collaborating on broader business strategy such as the value proposition, positioning, and your product/service offering, as well as how various marketing activities are coordinated.
In larger organizations, agencies are commonly engaged by the marketing department and CMO, who may themselves have limited ability to influence bigger strategic considerations which are set by the CEO, Chief Strategy Officer, or other departments. In these cases, it’s important to communicate the amount of leeway the agency has in influencing the company’s offering, value proposition, and positioning.
Smaller or mid-sized companies may be underdeveloped in these areas. A new agency relationship may serve as a shot in the arm for properly framing and establishing the broader strategic vision in order to support marketing initiatives.
Experience in industry verticals is certainly important, but there are a few issues to consider when working with a specialist agency. Understanding what positives and negatives generalist and specialist agencies offer and how they work can help you make an informed decision.
Excerpted from Pitching a Fit: A Guide for Choosing the Right Marketing Agency by Chris Olberding.
Chris Olberding is a mediocre ukulele player who owns more Funko Pop figures than any grown man should. In spite of this, he has run a successful agency for the past 10 years by providing creative vision and strategic guidance to the S4 team. Chris has been recognized as one of Jacksonville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, and S4 has been named to the Gator 100, a list of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or run by a UF alumni, for the last two years.