Top 5 Types of Marketing Agencies For You to Know

When deciding who and what will steer a marketing strategy, a marketing executive has several options. The capacity, capability, and circumstance of your team can all influence how you choose a marketing agency partner.

Top 5 Types of Marketing Agencies For You to Know

When deciding who and what will steer a marketing strategy, a marketing executive has several options. The capacity, capability, and circumstance of your team can all influence how you choose a marketing agency partner.

There are several types of marketing agency and each has its way of achieving results. Although the following list may seem basic, you might be surprised how often it is overlooked.

An agency that provides a service-based approach to marketing ensures clients have access to a team of experts for every facet of a campaign or project.

This includes a wide variety of skills and capabilities including, but not limited to social marketing, design, SEO, copywriting, and advertising. This option is great for clients with a small social media marketing department.

Types of Agencies in Marketing

A full-service agency will provide creative, analytics, media planning and buying, mobile marketing, SEO/SEM services, direct response advertising, and more to clients. Full-service agencies are best for companies with robust marketing budgets who can afford the high price tag associated with this level of service.

A hybrid agency provides both creative and strategic services with the added benefit of additional technological expertise.

Marketing departments that cannot afford to hire an entire team of experts may find hybrid agencies the perfect solution to fill gaps in their knowledge and capabilities. The term “marketing agency” is broad and can mean several things:

1. Integrated Marketing Agency

This is what people typically think of when they use the term “marketing agency.” Integrated marketing agencies help brands fill gaps in capacity or capability.

They typically have a variety of capabilities. So, they do it all under one roof. This type of agency can be highly effective for some businesses, while more limiting for others.

Why integrated agencies are great: They have more capabilities than an in-house team and often have access to experts that you might not have hired yet.

They have more experience with a variety of clients and projects, so that enhances their perspective. They have more access to resources, including the latest technology and equipment for special projects.

Why integrated agencies might be limiting:  You are limited in terms of who you hire because you must fit your needs within the agency's capabilities.

Your team doesn't have direct contact with all of the people working on your account. Since there are so many moving parts, the strategy could be watered down if it fits everyone's needs.

2. Specialist Marketing Agency

Specialist agencies focus on one specific marketing discipline, like social media, SEO, or copywriting. This type of agency is great for people that want specialists in certain areas without the cost and hassle of hiring multiple agencies.

Why specialist agencies are great:  They're great for businesses with smaller budgets because you only pay for the services you need, without paying for the all-inclusive price of an integrated agency. Since they're specialists, you're more likely to get higher quality work in your specific area.

Why specialist agencies might be limiting:  You are limited in terms of who you hire because you must fit your needs within the agency's capabilities.

Your team doesn't have direct contact with all of the people working on your account. Since there are so many moving parts, the strategy could be watered down if it fits everyone's needs.

3. In-house Agency

Brands put together with in-house marketing centers-of-excellence which have all of the functions of a typical marketing agency, but the team only works on a single brand. This type of agency is great for businesses that only want to hire experts in certain areas, but also have the capacity and capability to do it all.

Why an in-house agency is great:  Your team has direct access to all key players involved in your project (and they're on payroll). You don't pay for overhead or other extra expenses.

Since the team is under one roof, your strategy isn't watered down or influenced by other brands or agencies. You have all of the resources that an agency has but with complete control over how you use them.

Why an in-house agency might be limiting:  You are limited in terms of who you hire because you must fit your needs within the agency's capabilities.

Your team doesn't have direct contact with all of the people working on your account. Since there are so many moving parts, the strategy could be watered down if it fits everyone's needs.

4. Consultancy

Large global consultancies like Capgemini, Deloitte, IBM, Accenture, PwC, etc. have always provided businesses with operational insights, but now are also offering marketing insights and execution.

Why consultancy is great: They have a huge team of experts from different areas, so you can get a wide range of marketing experience in one go.

They're a more cost-effective option because you only pay for the services you need without paying for the all-inclusive price of an integrated agency or in-house team.

Why consultancy might be limiting:  You are limited in terms of who you hire because you must fit your needs within the agency's capabilities.

Your team doesn't have direct contact with all of the people working on your account. Since there are so many moving parts, the strategy could be watered down if it fits everyone's needs.

5. Boutique Consultancy and Individual Marketing Consultants

Small consultancy firms or consultants are great for teams with limited budgets, teams that need help with strategy, or teams that want the nimble and personal touch of one or a few marketing consultants that specialize in a specific area.

Why boutique consultancy and individual consultants are great:  They're cost-effective because you can hire just one person or a handful to do the job. They're nimble, flexible, provide personalized service, and have specific expertise in a certain area.

Why boutique consultancy might be limiting:  If your team doesn't want to work with consultants on a long-term basis, you might find it more expensive.

You are limited in terms of who you hire because you must fit your needs within the agency's capabilities. Your team doesn't have direct contact with all of the people working on your account.

PROS AND CONS

Just like dating, when it comes to marketing agencies, there is plenty of fish in the sea - each with its pros and cons. The right choice comes down to compatibility, need, and budget.

1. Integrated Marketing Agency

Companies typically consider hiring an integrated marketing firm or advertising agency if their team lacks the capacity or resources for a given project.

Pros:

Innovation - Integrated marketing agencies can bring cutting-edge technology and innovative ideas to the table.

Expertise - Experienced staff armed with insights/learnings from past clients.

Agility - Resources that can scale up and down depending on the brand’s needs.

Outside Perspective - Since the agency is not directly associated with the brand, they have an advantageous perspective.

Cons:

Barriers - Communication barriers and multiple approval processes can slow down timelines or lead to inefficiencies.

Different Priorities - Workers’ attention is split because they are juggling multiple clients.

Lack of Brand Knowledge - The agency needs an adjustment period to take the time to understand and become familiar with the client’s business model.

Don’t Always Drive Strategy - Sometimes integrated agencies can fall into the role of “order taker,” meaning they fail to take a consultative approach to the brand’s strategy, instead of focusing exclusively on the execution or surface-level ask.

2. Specialist Marketing Agencies

Because the definition of marketing keeps expanding, few corporate marketing teams have expertise in every marketing discipline (like email automation, social media, mobile, digital marketing, public relations, creative, search engine optimization, marketing analytics, etc.). That is why specialist marketing agencies are essential.

Pros:

Innovation - Specialist marketing agencies know their craft so well that it is easy to innovate.

Specialized Expertise - Deep experience in one or a few areas of marketing.

Outside Perspective - Since the agency is not directly associated with the brand, they have an advantageous perspective.

Cons:

Barriers - Communication barriers and multiple approval processes can slow down timelines or lead to inefficiencies.

Different Priorities - Workers’ attention is split because they are juggling multiple clients.

Lack of Brand Knowledge - The agency needs an adjustment period to take the time to understand and become familiar with the client’s business model.

Multiple Relationships - Brands who hire specialists for each area of need in their marketing department will be faced with managing more agency relationships.

If you’re a brand that thinks an integrated or specialist marketing agency will best fit your marketing efforts, we have a free agency guide that will help you find, select, and onboard a new marketing agency.

3. In-house Agencies

In-house agencies are similar to full-service marketing agencies, in that they have teams with Creative Directors, Art Directors, Copywriters, etc. However, with an in-house agency, the staff is assembled to work exclusively for one client.

This is both a pro and a con because agency-minded people typically like the challenge of working on multiple accounts. Though with only one client to focus on, in-house team members can dive deeper into exploring their brand’s strategy.

Pros:

Exclusivity - There is one client which means no pitching so all focus is on the brand.

Efficiency - The approval process may be quicker with faster turnaround times because the team is working internally.

Alignment - There is more control of proceedings and easier communication when the advertising and marketing are all under one roof - this makes marketers feel like there is more transparency.

Brand Understanding - Team members have a deeper understanding of the brand values and beliefs, making it easier to incorporate them into the strategy and become the architect of the brand’s marketing future.

Employee Benefits - In-house employees are backed by corporations with large purchasing power so benefits and salary are probably better. Also, because there is only one client, employees typically have a more manageable work-life balance compared to traditional marketing agencies.

Cons:

Lack of Variation - No excitement or diversity in work for employees.

Tunnel Vision - A scarce outside perspective can result in tunnel vision and troublesome or insensitive campaigns.

Inexperienced - Team members lack the industry experience and subject matter expertise to professionally handle multiple media platforms.

More expensive - It requires a substantial investment in onboarding/training to create an in-house agency.

4. Global consultancies

Global consultancy firms have historically been focused on mapping business strategy… but lately, consultancies like Deloitte are shifting their offerings and offering execution as part of their services. This blurs the line between integrated marketing agencies and consultancies.

Because traditional marketing agencies are generally known for pursuing creative work and large consultancies for strategy, the fact that consulting firms are making the shift to offering both strategy and execution is giving them a competitive edge.

In fact, according to a survey by Forrester, “73% of marketers are open to using consultancies for digital marketing work.”

Pros:

Positioning - Because of where large consulting firms are positioned, consultancies enter companies through the board or CEO relationship. This makes for an easy and resistant-free relationship where the internal team and consultancy are working together.

Big Picture Thinking with Smart Execution - Consultancies have always looked at how strategies impact the business as a whole. Now, they can plan and execute the strategy, while staying aware of all of the moving parts of a business.

Cons:

Undervalue Creative Talent - Consultancies typically undervalue innovation, creative work, and content marketing.

Expensive - The easily-established relationship between the brand executives and consultancy leaders makes the consultancy work appear cost beneficial, but consulting services are not cheap.

Disconnected - Big consultancies like Deloitte and Capgemini are acquiring agencies to supply further services to clients and add more disciplines to their repertoire.

Even though large consulting firms are acquiring the agencies needed to check all the boxes, it is difficult to Frankenstein a constructive beast out of different agencies with different philosophies, values, and operations.

5. Boutique Consultancies & Individual Marketing Consultants

Like integrated agencies, smaller boutique consultancies or individual consultants come in two forms: specialist or generalist. Specialist consultancies can help map the strategy for a specific discipline (like email or social media) and generalist firms can help formulate an overall business plan.

Unlike a large consultancy firm, boutique consultancies may lack the resources to provide multiple services, revenue to acquire agencies to cover multiple disciplines, and prestige/credit to enter a corporation through the C-suite.

A boutique consultancy firm, however, provides businesses with direct feedback, direction, guidance, and a specialized opinion on a specific problem or issue.

Boutique consultancies may act as a preferred partner for some projects because they are nimble and flexible. If anything, boutiques are another resource for clients to seek strategy consulting.

Since consultancies tend to look at the big picture, a client may hire a big or small consultancy to take into account all of the moving parts of their business.

Marketing and Advertising: The Types of Agencies to Choose From

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, there are several types of agencies to choose from.

Marketing companies are there to help your business develop a strategy or provide specific services to grow your company through marketing and advertising channels.

There are many different types of agencies, who specialize in particular areas of marketing and advertising. Continue reading to find out about the different types of agencies and how they can grow your business.

1. Advertising Agency

This is a traditional marketing agency style. Up until the invention of the internet, this was the only type of marketing available. An advertising agency typically offers a range of services which now include branding and digital marketing.

Advertising agencies hold TV, radio, print, and outdoor markets. They usually work with larger organizations that have a large budget for marketing expenses.

2. Digital Agency

In the current digital age, more and more digital-only agencies are popping up. They focus on internet marking, e-commerce, content marketing, and social media.

Many agencies in this category design websites, manage blogs, and run your social platforms. A few sub-categories include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agencies, application development (Apps), and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) agencies.

3. Promotional Agency

A promotional agency focuses on retail and packaging for promotional campaigns. This could include advertising, content, merchandising, promotional displays, and promotional products.

They will typically look at how products and brands can be promoted in various stores or venues. They help clients to think of ideas for advertising campaigns, such as unique packaging and product promotions.

4. Social Media Agency

This type of agency focuses on creating and developing your social media platforms to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.

They will use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to fill your audience with engaging and interactive content. A social media agency will often manage blogs, create graphics and develop the content for your platforms.

5. Account-based Marketing Agency (ABM)

An ABM agency will link your marketing strategy with your sales department. The marketing strategy uses the current or potential customer base and the market. This means the marketing is targeted to a specific customer, business, or existing account.

ABM is most useful to business-to-business (B2B) companies who want to sell their product or service to particular organizations. The best ABM company will boost your turnover.

6. Public Relations (PR) Agency

PR agencies help you to look your best in the public eye. Services often include news announcements, press conferences, content creation, event management, and product placements.

They can also help with website launches and new products. Some larger marketing agencies may have a specialist PR department.

7. Freelancers

Freelancers aren’t agencies as such, but instead, are individuals who are skilled in a certain aspect of marketing. It can be hit or miss when hiring a freelancer, so make sure they are qualified and experienced to do the job.

Freelancers are suited to a temporary project, as they are skilled in one area of marketing. They won’t be able to run your whole marketing campaign.

We hope this article helps you decide the best types of agencies for your business. No matter which agency you choose, the agency should grow your business and boost your turnover. For more marketing information, check out the additional articles on our blog.

8. Social Selling

Selling via social media is where the marketer finds new contacts and engages with them before selling to them. It’s more than just selling products through Facebook, but rather managing accounts and posting valuable content that builds relationships.

Useful hashtags include #socialselling, #socialsellingtips, #socialseller and #sellersocialmedia. See below for related articles on this site.

9. Content Marketing

A content marketer is responsible for creating and distributing relevant, valuable content to attract and retain a fixed audience. This must be done on an ongoing basis to maintain momentum and keep visitors engaged.

Content marketing usually produces better engagement rates than advertising, as it’s seen as giving something useful rather than overtly selling. It also tends to give a better return on investment.

The most valuable content is unique, well-written, and up-to-date. It’s also highly relevant to your target audience.

10. Local Marketing

Online marketing strategies need to fit in with offline marketing strategies when it comes to local businesses.

Google’s location extensions are important for finding local customers, as is Google Business View. Bing Maps and Yelp are also important for location-based searches.

11. Mobile Marketing

Mobility is changing the way marketers do their job. Mobile device use for media consumption has increased exponentially over the years, meaning that people are no longer tied to a television or desktop computer for media usage.

The best mobile marketing campaigns are targeting users on all devices using similar strategies and technologies across platforms.

This ensures that campaigns are well-integrated and that any messages sent will resonate with users regardless of the device they’re using.

12. Email Marketing

The average open rate for emails is up to 70 percent, and the average click-through rate is 19 percent, which makes email marketing a highly effective way to reach your target audience.

It’s also a more personal and manageable way of reaching people than social media. A marketer can plan and schedule email campaigns in advance, allowing for personalized content that resonates best with your target audience.

Conclusion

Marketing agencies offer many services and can help you to grow your business. Understanding which types of marketing agencies are right for you is important to achieve the best results.

Marketing agencies are businesses themselves, so they must understand your business goals and requirements.

If you choose an agency that isn’t a good fit for you, then you won't achieve the desired results. Make sure to ask questions about their experience, methods, and work portfolio before signing on the dotted line.