Have you ever wondered why Advertising Agencies are called Agencies?
It’s because they serve their clients as agents. The intention of the agency model was never to be the single source for everything marketing and advertising. Some services are provided by in-house resources and some are contracted out.
Anyone who says they do it all in-house is probably doing a dis-service to their clients.
Especially these days when there is so much happening in both traditional and digital advertising, where the lines of marketing and technology are repeatedly crossing each other, and where new channels to reach audiences are developed every day.
That's the beauty of the original “agency” model. They were to be an agent to their clients who found the best creative resources, the best production resources, the best planners and media buyers and pulled them all together with a strategy managing them to ensure the best outcome for their clients.
Ad agencies have a long tradition of operating this way, and it's the reason “agency” was added to the term in the first place. It’s good news, and should really make you feel better about the future of the industry.
When a client says, “we need great SEO services, or video, or content production, or social media strategy” and that’s not your core competency as and agency, hold your head high and say,
Close “we work with some of the best in the industry, and we’re going to bring them to bear on your behalf”.
As an agent you should align yourself with resources that augment all of the stuff you’re great at. If you’re a great branding company, but actually developing the website that communicates the brand you’ve created isn’t your bag, have a partner who’s ready to roll.
If you have excellent creative ideas but turning them into a video or a social media plan with a real strategy supporting it is not your strong suit, remember, you’re an agent. An agent who works to bring the best resources to the table.
And don’t forget that as an agent there is profit to be made in bringing together resources and managing all of the work being done on your client’s behalf.
Stacking-up the staffing overhead in your agency so you can say you provide more services than your competitors is a dangerous game.
Losing focus on your core competency to chase a service you’re not completely comfortable with can be expensive, and devastating if it doesn’t work out.
I’m not saying don’t try new things. I’m saying try out new things with experienced partners first. If the ball really gets rolling on a new service that you’ve been an agent to provide for an extended period of time and clients are throwing bags of money through the door. Then it’s time to pull it in. It’ll be self-financing and have a ready-made client base to support it.
Be proud that you’re an agency. Use the term agency to leverage the best services possible and don’t discount the idea that there’s a lot of value in being the resource that can pull it all together and really make things happen.
It's something to think about.