Early on in my career, I was a marketing director at an insurance company. I did a little bit of everything, including copywriting, graphic design, budgeting, planning, speaking, co-op programs and speechwriting. I wasn’t particularly good at any of it (I was just flat out bad at some of it!).
I was familiar with some of the communications agencies in town, but didn’t really consider using them. What I didn’t understand then was that an agency can make you more efficient, maximize your budget and make marketing directors (or those in similar positions) look good.
Some may perceive that when you use an agency and outsource internal work, you pay “big bucks.” Reality? You’re spending your money better and smarter.
Now, with some pretty solid experience, including working with some very intelligent people, I clearly see the value that an agency brings to clients. Here are some things that I have learned:
- An agency doesn’t want your job. I guarantee it! We want to work for you and with you. We want to make you look good because that makes us look good.
- An agency doesn’t want to do everything. We know our expertise and our limitations. We work best when we can offer the services we are best at and your internal team can execute on their strengths.
- A good agency delivers a clear perspective. No matter how well you know your audience, your knowledge is skewed by how your audience interacts with your brand. An agency can and should spend a great deal of time understanding your audience with a fresh and unbiased perspective.
- An agency wants to be an extension of your team. We feel great pride in helping you achieve your goals. That’s a big deal to us. That’s how we measure our success. The state of your business keeps us up at night too. We want you to do well – that’s the center of our motivation.
- We listen. If we are doing our job, we may not always give you exactly what you ask for. Knowing what we know about your audience and about communications, we feel it is critical to our relationship to look out for your best interest. That may or may not mean doing exactly what you say. If you aren’t being challenged by your agency, you might want to look for a new agency.
- An agency is broad and deep. What I appreciate most now that I’m on the agency side of communications, is that you get a lot of smart people concentrating in communications disciplines to tap into. This is HUGE – because who, honestly, can keep up with how quickly our world is changing? One person cannot possibly know everything they need to know to make good decisions.
So if you’ve been concerned that working with an agency will be to your detriment, think again. It just might be the smartest decision you make.