I came across a well known advertising agencies’ mission statement recently and it read something along the lines of –
‘It makes a lot of sense for a small business to retain the services of an advertising agency.’
This is something I have to whole heartedly dispute! To me, better work at more reasonable prices is available from marketing consultants. And now I will tell you why….
If I take myself as an example (I don’t miss a trick do I?!), following a marketing degree, I spent over 16 years in the main stream advertising and marketing industry before becoming a Consultant. This is not untypical. Most Consultants have followed a similar path. This means that, despite a not very nice job title ‘Consultant,’ the customer is likely to be working with someone with a huge amounts of industry experienced gained from large and sometimes, very well known agencies or possibly in house marketing departments.
Taking this experience and allowing smaller businesses to access it at what is often a fraction of the cost compared with the agencies these Consultants came from, is surely very desirable.
Consultants, like myself, usually work with or have alignments with a number of industry people who may well have ‘gone solo’ in an attempt to concentrate on their specialism. For example, the people I work with when I identify certain marketing requirements like web design, brand identity or search engine optimisation are, in my opinion the best at what they do and I have worked with them before wearing different hats. These people also only offer the specialist work they do allowing the Consultant to take the brief, identify the need, plan the activity, deal with the client, manage and deliver the work all effectively and efficiently. Simple.
This way of working should also be attractive to the potential customer as he/she has an experienced, singular point of contact who invests time in getting to know their business (the Consultant) and all the tools to deliver the marketing objectives.
Not unlike an agency structure I hear you say. Well, actually you have a point. However, what an agency does have is overheads; lots of them in the form of office costs, employee costs, insurance costs, travel costs, running costs etc that all have to be covered usually by the client even if they are not actually used by this client. When working with a Consultant, a client is typically operating a pay as you go type structure not covering agency costs.
In addition, the people employed by the agency almost certainly will not have the industry experience that the Consultant has or the level of expertise offered by the industry specialists brought in by the Consultant if required.
When applying all this to the small business, it is likely that the business owner is the person driving marketing. He/she will not have the skills to deliver effective marketing and therefore may (reluctantly) have to bring in a specialist. The right person for the job is not an agency, but an experienced professional who can work with that small business on the areas it needs = Quality marketing, added value at a proper cost.
After all, why use a sledgehammer to crack a nut?
Put me to the test?