A “Full Service” Agency May Not Offer the Best Service for a Regional Company

Having it all under one roof may prove to be a house of cards.

Most people have a general practitioner they see for their annual checkup or when they aren’t feeling well. These doctors have been trained in multiple areas of medicine and are good doctors, but once they have diagnosed a specific health issue, they typically refer their patients to a specialist.

In today’s world of abundant advertising opportunities, a “full service” agency ends up being more like a GP. They offer some knowledge in multiple areas of media but may not specialize in any of them. As the saying goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.”

When a regional company has specific goals and a limited budget to reach them, utilizing one of these full-service agencies may not be the best option. Full service agencies were designed and promoted as “one stop shops” for advertisers. A way to streamline their advertising plans and save money. However, as the industry continually becomes more complicated, and more channels of advertising have become available, it becomes harder for this style of agency to stay on top of new developments and nuances each advertising medium has to offer.

That is why so many larger, national companies have started to tap different agencies for their creative, traditional media, digital and social needs. They understand that their media and marketing dollars will generate a larger impact by pooling a team of people that understand the nuances with individual specialties.
Marketing and advertising is just like going to a GP and then needing a specialist. Once you determine a specific need or targeted strategy you’ll want to find and work with an agency that specializes in that specific area. Creative agencies will concentrate their time and effort on designing the correct message and creating beautiful imagery to highlight your brand’s message.

Media agencies are planning and buying specialists and will better engage the media outlets. They’re experienced in placement strategies, and typically negotiate better rates while having the tools necessary to monitor the placements to ensure their clients get what they purchased. And, those media agencies that specialize in social media and digital advertising understand the channels and levels of communication engagement necessary to effectively reach consumers in those mediums as well.

If the decision is made to hire multiple agencies remember one very important element. You should have a lead agency managing your entire campaign and while that task usually is awarded to the creative agency, it truly should be given to the media agency. The creative and the media must be coherent and often a creative company will move forward with costly creative which may pigeon hole the media agency into inferior media choices.

While at first glance, it may appear that a full-service agency is the answer to a regional company’s advertising needs and budget, investing in an agency that offers multiple services may cost you more in several ways.

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.