For agency owners that have been around the block a time or two, think back to that VP of Brand… or Media… or Creative who just did a heckuva job when hired 20 years ago.
Person may even still be there.
But if hiring that same position again today, it would look a lot different. Just like that long-time employee has changed to keep up with business, so have agency owners. So has just about everything.
There is so much more to know about media channels. So much more technology. So many more metrics and areas of specialization.
That’s why there are more agencies now per capita than ever before. We have had to fractionalize. There may be an agency now that just does pay-per-click and programmatic media planning, for example. Something that didn’t exist at anywhere near today’s capacity just a reasonable number of years ago.
If all agencies were the size of Omnicom or Publicis, with thousands and thousands of employees globally, well, then they would each probably have the capacity to have EVERYthing in-house. But even those agencies have several divisions, several separate offices in separate countries. Several operating units and unique service offerings per unit (and a globally sized expense in overhead, too).
But instead of everything being under one roof, a bunch of boutique agencies under a bunch of roofs is more the norm today.
And that is all good.
Clients are looking for ways to take advantage of all new possibilities. It’s how they hire agencies.
If it’s a niche, they’ll want an agency with the same:
Maybe it’s a not-for-profit client that funds causes supporting single parents…
Or commercial installers of high-tech infrastructure in rural areas…
Or manufacturers of specialized hand tools and craft equipment sold through distributors.
Clients want agencies that are experts in fractionalized (or boutique or niche) disciplines. If there’s an agency that’s a superior strategist in the dealer-distributor space, then that agency is going to land that tool manufacturer mentioned above.
The industry intelligence and strategy are invaluable. But when that client also wants more than strategy, more than media expertise, then what? Maybe it needs the hands-on production work of a web developer, too.
That client will either hire a separate agency for that. Or, if the strategic agency is already partnered with a trusted production resource, then that is going to look even better.
Match made in heaven.
For the vast majority of agencies now, being small has advantages over being large.
They partner with trusted outsources that speak the same language, have tenure, are peer-supported, and provide more depth. Without either one being an in-house distraction to the other.
When done right, it costs less than hiring employees and paying salaries and benefits. Outsources are wholesale pass-along costs billed at rates lower than many full-timers might cost.
So, hire an agency or hire a partner who knows the space. Agencies that are already partnered with other service offerings will save clients from having to do all of that searching themselves.
— William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Though she be but little she is fierce.