Knowing the answer before the question


For a number of years we have heard the expression ‘full service agency’ but what does this really mean? The concept relates to the ability to have every aspect of your marketing execution available to you under one roof. When this claim is examined in more detail I would suggest that this is difficult to achieve - particularly if we look at SEO (Search engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising). A number of agencies specialise in one or the other, claiming that each holds the Holy Grail for achieving maximum online results.

The reality is simple: it really depends on what your corporate objectives are. If you are looking for longevity of service, SEO will provide a better result on your investment, however, if your product has a shorter shelf life, perhaps a well thought out PPC campaign will achieve the volume that you are looking for. More often than not, an integrated strategy is most appropriate, and this, as it's name would suggest, works on the ’a bit of both’ premise. PPC can illustrate the types of terms that people search on and also validate site design and should work by informing the SEO strategy, which by its very nature, is longer term.

All this said, if your lead generation is not fully tracked through to conversation and profitability, you will be missing a trick. This simple example also can clearly be seen in broad based advertising verses narrow channel advertising. Agencies should work further upstream aimed at identifying the business strategy and how the marketing program is going to support the key drivers. This consultancy approach is often difficult to provide, as most agencies are only creative based. The time spent understanding clients needs will pay dividend in the long run. Even if the agency does not have deep expertise across the spectrum of services, joint working across agency’s and the utilisation of niche freelancers can provide the range of services required without the high cost base of full time staff.

The aim must be to provide high quality services provision around the client needs not the agency existing structure. With an ever increasing speed of new channel development and rapid delivery technology the ability to own the full spectrum of creative capability will be difficult to own and even more costly to maintain.  

Leave a comment