This post originally appeared on neilpatel.com
You’re experiencing slight pain in your chest.
So you visit a general care physician who performs a series of quick tests.
Based on the results, they offer you general advice, but in the end, they refer you to a cardiologist to look into the issue in more detail.
This is a fairly common practice in medicine.
You start seeing a general practitioner, and when things go beyond their expertise, you go to a specialist who has the knowledge as well as equipment to handle your situation better.
Business is no different. More so, marketing.
While you’ll find several end-to-end marketing agencies, it’s nearly impossible to get results without specialized knowledge – something that specialized or “niche“ marketing agencies offer.
Not only are they able to identify and address your unique pain points, but they can also make your business operations more effective.
In this guide, our team at Neil Patel Digital has outlined some vital tips to identify and hire specialized marketing agencies, as well as help you understand how these agencies fare when compared to an end-to-end agency.
How Specialized Marketing Agencies Guarantee Success?
Specialized agencies, with their high skill set in a specific niche, can identify opportunities for success and analyze problems with great precision and detail within any given marketing campaign.
They bring specialized depth and focus into the service offering, which allows them to see potential issues that can be missed by others as well as provide creative ways to implement solutions.
An important thing to note here is that specialized marketing agencies go beyond their deliverables. You can enhance your marketing efforts by correctly leveraging the strategic insights, experiences, and partnerships offered by them.
Due to the greater level of detail and expertise, there is a higher possibility for you to maximize your company’s marketing ROI.
Precisely why you need to think of ways to strategically align your agency partnership that brings your company maximum value.
How to Identify and Hire the Best Specialized Marketing Agency for Your Company?
Before signing up for an agency, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your company generating sufficient marketing leads?
- Are all your marketing plan elements being carried out efficiently?
- Is it possible for you to employ new staff to improve your marketing activities? Does your current budget allow it?
If even one of these questions raises concerns, you should go ahead and consider working with a specialist marketing agency.
But… hiring the right agency isn’t going to be easy.
It needs patience, along with practice and some good ol’ trial and error.
Here are a few tips to help you find your next marketing mastermind:
Determine Your Business Objectives and Desired Outcomes
Specialized agencies cater to the specific needs of businesses.
These agencies generally specialize in one or two areas. Hence, the first step of choosing the right specialized marketing agency is to know your business goals and what you want to achieve by working with the agency.
Let’s consider an example to help you understand this better: creating a series of marketing videos.
You want to improve your social media presence and boost engagement on your website. You decide to create a series of marketing videos to achieve this, but you aren’t sure where to start.
In this case:
- Goal: Greater social media presence and increased website engagement.
- Deliverable: Make engaging videos and similar visual assets that communicate your new offer in a creative and fun way to capture your audience’s attention.
- Result: A set of finished videos, along with supplying you with the knowledge to walk you through the process.
You can enlist the services of a marketing agency that specializes in video marketing or maybe graphic designing to achieve this goal.
Similarly, you can choose your agency based on the other types of services you want. Here are a few other examples:
These agencies help you make better-informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes by carrying out primary market research, such as surveys, interviews, and experiments, and secondary market research.
These agencies understand the art of creating strategies backed by research, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. They can help you formulate a well-aligned marketing strategy that supports your unique business goals and objectives.
Content Writing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Content writing agencies can create excellent content that is optimized according to SEO principles to boost engagement and conversion. This can include posts on social media networks, company blogs, or creating gated assets like PDFs and whitepapers.
You’ll also find agencies that specialize in optimization, which offer well-written and formatted content to drive traffic through a search engine results page or SERP.
Email marketing agencies can help you move your prospects down your sales funnel. They send emails that motivate people to buy products and services while keeping your past and potential customers in the loop.
Advertising agencies can enhance your audience targeting efforts and amplify your reach by creating attention-grabbing advertisements that force the customer to take action, such as visiting your website, viewing your products and services, etc.
Ultimately, you should choose a specialized agency based on your requirements and end goals.
Skills and Experience
It’s no secret that specialists should have technical skills and experience that actually make them experts at a specific niche.
To help you find the right agency, we have two lists below: Must-haves and Nice-to-haves.
These are the skill sets that are a must for your agency:
What’s the point of calling themselves an expert if the agency doesn’t possess the necessary business growth and inbound marketing knowledge for a specific niche?
The agency should be able to demonstrate their ability to apply marketing techniques and up-to-date inbound marketing tactics and strategy that can promote business growth.
Agencies should have the expertise to navigate and use a variety of modern tech tools and platforms. After all, it’s the only way that your brand can have a competitive edge over its competitors.
Job Functional Skills
Job functional skills have a broader concept as it goes deeper into the actual role for which the agency is being hired.
For instance, if you want to hire a digital marketing agency, you should take a look at past digital campaigns created by the agency. Ask them to explain the campaigns and how they will apply their knowledge to help you achieve your business goals.
Effective Communication Skills
The agency should comprise members that have excellent written and verbal skills to drive meaningful conversations.
These skills aren’t deal-breakers if a prospective agency doesn’t have them, but if they do, you should give them brownie points.
The following are a few nice-to-have skills:
- Certifications that prove their expertise and ability to implement effective marketing tactics and strategies.
- Previous experience working with clients that operate in your niche.
- Their passion for your target mission.
Specialized agencies should have strategic partnerships as a means to expand their offerings – one that goes beyond complimentary deliverables.
You see, buying marketing services goes beyond à la carte for clients, which is why specialized agencies have to take the time to foster strong relationships with their partners to create value and efficiencies from the client’s viewpoint.
If you hire an agency that boasts of this synergy, it can be very beneficial for you.
You might have to add another vendor to your list, yes. But the fact that you get excellent content, along with the SEO, rather than subpar work does seem like the better option, no?
Take a Look at the Pricing
There’s a reason why Versace costs 20 times more than Fashion Nova, and in most cases, you get exactly what you pay for.
It’s really that simple.
If your prospective agency is charging unrealistically low rates, it’s probably because they are inexperienced or they just… suck.
And yes, before you ask, many specialized agencies claim to have “expert knowledge” but don’t.
You‘ll also find agencies that charge you an arm, a leg, and a kidney to work with them, which isn’t right too.
While many can justify their pricing, hundreds can’t.
Treat the Agency Just Like You Would a Potential Employee
When hiring a specialized marketing agency, conduct the interview in the same way you would when hiring a potential employee.
So in addition to going through their merits, make sure they are a solid cultural fit for your company.
The agency partnership won’t be a success if you don’t share similar values or have completely opposite mindsets.
Why Choosing a Specialized Agency is better than an End-to-End Agency?
According to a 2016 Statista study, 24% of US-based companies had hired roughly three marketing/advertising agencies, while 23% were working with two agencies.
That said, the following are the main reasons why you should go with a specialized agency over an end-to-end agency:
Lots of Flexibility
Niche agencies don’t provide a one-size-fits-all focus. Instead, they believe in creating a more personalized and unique marketing plan that can help you stand out from your rivals.
Additionally, they have the resources and methodologies that equip them with expert knowledge about the specific niche, allowing them to be more in tune with your pain points. This, in turn, enables them to deliver a much more effective strategy as well.
It’s this flexibility that helps them adapt to your needs and requirements constantly, and offer dynamic solutions through their relationship with you.
More Personal Attention
As mentioned before, working with a specialized agency will make your experience more personable.
You’ll be in direct contact with specialists who are fully dedicated to your brand. Moreover, you‘ll have direct oversight interactions with people who are working on your marketing campaign, irrespective of their position.
Such agencies work on various campaigns, which makes them proficient in offering a completely different perspective to yours. You can also expect new insights and opportunities that can generate fresh ideas.
In addition to this, the overall flow of information and communication is also much better. With the questions delegated more efficiently, you get your answers faster too.
Greater Suitability for SMBs
Specialized marketing agencies and small- to medium-sized businesses can have an excellent working relationship built upon commonality.
Both the agency and company are trying to grow and expand, which makes them more invested in each other. Having overlapping roles is another motivating factor that ensures successful outcomes for both parties.
Most of the time, these agencies monitor their growth based on your success since they aren’t only in it for money. They genuinely want to build meaningful relationships for a sustainable business.
Unlikely to Outsource Tasks
Multiple end-to-end marketing agencies outsource their work.
We don’t claim it – Hubshout stats do. For instance:
- 48% of full-service agencies outsourced PPC services
- 28% of full-services agencies outsourced content marketing services.
- 68% of full-service agencies outsourced SEO to a white label SEO provider
These agencies focus on a few single areas of marketing expertise and then outsource the work from white label partners. In short, there is no guarantee that the agency will actually be doing the work for you.
Specialists, on the other hand, do not outsource.
Why? Because you don’t have to.
They have all the specialists they need right there in the organization. When you work with a specialist marketing agency, you get access to a specific set of services that are usually absent from general marketing and communication teams.
Consequently, you know exactly what you‘re getting into and who will be working on your project.
You can focus on your areas of expertise, while the agency can focus on those specialized services to help you achieve your business goals.
More Creative and Innovative Ideas
This is honestly the best part of working with a specialized agency.
End-to-end agencies use the same strategies and methods for each of their clients.
Time is naturally very crucial for them, which is why if they see one marketing test working well, they tend to use it for every customer they take on.
Contrarily, specialized agencies don’t take advantage of time trials. They build a customized strategy that is adjusted according to your suggestions and demands – all aimed at establishing your brand reputation.
Still, End-to-End Marketing Agencies Aren’t a Bad Choice Either
An end-to-end agency or a fully integrated marketing and advertising company that can provide you with a complete list of services, including:
- Systematic planning
- Social media
- Digital marketing
- Paid advertising
- Interactive marketing services
They are larger in size and can easily handle all your advertising and marketing requirements, helping you make the most out of marketing.
Here are a few reasons that your company may want to pursue an end-to-end agency instead:
Knowledge of Latest Trends, Systems, and Software
End-to-end agencies, also known as full-service agencies, are well accustomed to the latest trends and technology.
They know how to target the right offers, use analytical reports and data correctly, and the right tools that can help you target your audience at the right time.
Agencies are hands down way more cost-effective, and sometimes the only way that companies with smaller budgets can afford professional services.
Usually, specialists charge a higher amount for their expertise and knowledge, which can be way out of budget for most brands.
Scalability on Demand
You can scale your marketing activities up and down according to new products, seasonalities, and so on.
When you have an in-house team, you have to hire and train to scale up or layoff staff to scale down; with an end-to-end agency, you simply pick the phone.
Expertise and Experience
Working with full-service marketing agencies lets you work with a pool of talent who have experience working with various clients, technologies, and industries. They have broader skills that can help build and launch a comprehensive marketing campaign to drive results.
Think of the agency as a deep pool of specialists.
There is also no secret that today marketing involves content, branding, social media, paid ads, and SEO. Handling this requires bandwidth and the right know-how – something that end-to-marketing agencies can offer.
Irrespective of your business size, you do need an effective marketing strategy.
This needs a strong team, and when you choose to work with a full-service agency, you have a team that can focus 100% of their knowledge and expertise in developing your campaign as efficiently as possible.
Indeed, end-to-end marketing agencies may not provide you with the same level of expertise as specialist marketing agencies. But if you opt for a major marketing company that offers full service, you do get the best of both worlds.
At Neil Patel Digital, we have the expertise and experience to provide comprehensive marketing and advertising strategies tailor-made according to your needs. We offer:
- Paid search marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Data, analytics, and insights
- Programmatic advertising
Whatever You Do, Don’t Forget to Ask Questions
Regardless of the marketing agency you choose – whether generalists or specialists – make sure you ask the right questions.
Who is working on your account? What are the specialties? How will you clear your doubts? What results can you expect? What are the KPIs? – ask everything.
If you really want to take your business to the next level and are ready to think big, contact us here and let us help you disrupt your industry.