I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the social media world before a lot of people knew about the social media world. Having seen the industry go from the barely-there kid on the block, to the new kid, to the most popular kid has been a pretty exhilarating ride. A few years ago, social media was barely considered part of a viable marketing strategy, let alone the whole thing. However, one element that I’ve personally noticed is that today, brands are often looking to their social media agencies (or another singular agency) to do just about everything. Here’s why that’s a mistake.
1. It creates generalists, instead of specialists – This is a concept I stole from John Warrillow’s Built to Sell. If your agency and staff attempts to do everything, chances are you’ll end up not doing anything exceptionally well. So when a brand asks their social media agency to do their PR, web development, and event marketing; chances are the tasks will get done, but without the expertise that comes from folks who are specialists in those areas.
2. You wouldn’t ask a podiatrist for a nose job – Just like a podiatrist, while still a doctor, doesn’t possess the skills or training to give you a rhinoplasty; you shouldn’t expect your social media agency, internal marketing team, or other singular agency to do the rest of your traditional or digital marketing. Marketing is broad with a lot of categories beneath it. While I consider myself a marketer, there are plenty of areas I don’t know anything about. You wouldn’t want me representing your brand in them. Brands need to recognize the intricacies and skill levels that go along with various elements of marketing and not take a one-size (or strategy) fits all approach.
3. It stifles creativity. Having worked on the brand side for a few years prior to jumping into agency work, I know what a struggle it is to sometimes find the appropriate internal resources and perspective to get campaigns off the ground. By partnering with multiple agencies who are experts in their area and who work well together (this is key), you’ll get integrated marketing concepts that span platforms and make your brand stand out among others. Instead of an agency of record, consider an arsenal of agencies.
Gone are the days of a single print or TV ad being all you need to comprise your marketing mix. Instead, the most successful companies are using a combination of these plus social media, digital and traditional PR, blogger programs, brand ambassador campaigns, custom development and website integration, email marketing and loads more. Finding the right agencies to help you execute each of these pieces is key to your brand’s success. Find specialists, not generalists, who work together to knock campaigns out of the park.
Are you a brand who works with multiple agencies for your marketing needs? Are you an agency who is asked to do everything under the sun for clients? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!