While some marketing agencies have an eclectic mix of clients and focus their efforts on a handful of vertical markets, other agencies have a narrow and specific focus with all of their clients falling within one specific industry – think real estate, healthcare, financial services, travel, food/hospitality, to name a few. We’re often asked by prospective clients if they should work with an agency that specializes in one market or if the benefits of working with an agency that has a diverse client mix are greater. And, while there isn’t a universal answer, it helps to take a look at the pros and cons of each: Specialized Marketing Agencies: The Pros
Marketing agencies that specialize in one specific industry are deeply steeped in the market. By virtue of having so many clients in the same field, they are well-versed in industry lingo and up-to-date on trends. An agency that focuses on one market also has an enhanced capacity to build deep relationships with media who specialize in covering that industry. And, with many clients in a given market to offer as sources, they have a unique ability to bundle multiple sources together to frame out round-up stories.
Diverse Marketing Agencies: The Pros
Agencies with a diverse client base have the benefit of a wide network of resources to tap into on behalf of their clients. Your account team will have a unique mix of experience from various industries, which offers clients valuable perspective. It is important to remember that all agencies have to do their homework to get up to speed on a new account, regardless of whether they are specialists or generalists.
Specialized Marketing Agencies: The Cons
Working with a marketing agency that has a single-market focus can mean that the same firm is representing both your company and its competitors. While agencies often address this potential conflict by assigning competing accounts to different teams, when it comes to round-up news stories, it does increase the likelihood of your company being featured alongside its competition. An agency with a singular focus also tends to have its strongest network of contacts within a given industry as opposed to having a broad network of contacts that span numerous industries, which is particularly valuable when you are looking to an agency to help structure partnerships or CSR/philanthropic initiatives.
Diverse Marketing Agencies: The Cons
Marketing agencies who are generalists may need more time to get up to speed on your company and industry at the beginning of your engagement, particularly if it is their first foray in a particular industry. That said, serving multiple industries simultaneously requires these account teams to be quick studies.
If your company wants industry exclusivity with its marketing agency, it will often preclude you from working with an agency that only serves one industry. Be advised that regardless of the agency’s focus and client base, industry exclusivity often comes with a minimum investment and contract period. All agencies have policies in place with regards to how they handle representing competing entities and speaking with the team about these policies and practices may address the concerns and questions that initially drove you to seek industry exclusivity with your chosen marketing agency.
Marketing agencies come in a wide range of sizes and structures. Regardless, the key is to choose a marketing agency with whom you can build a lasting, collaborative relationship that will allow you to achieve your goals.
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