AgencySparks is often asked, “What exactly do you guys do?” The simplest answer is that we are like a “dating service” for specialist agencies and brand marketers. We choose to partner with nimble, specialist agencies that are true experts in one or two specific disciplines, instead of partnering with large fully-integrated agencies that tend to operate under even larger holding companies. For those of you who prefer a more visual explanation of where AgencySparks fits in the grand scheme of the agency/brand marketer world, there’s this:

AgencySparks Venn diagram

We gathered most of these benefits after conducting video interviews with our own partners for our AgencyInsights series. Our conclusion is that small to mid-sized marketing firms feel more like business partners to their clients, and not just vendors. They feel so strongly about the relationships they’ve built and the value they bring to their clients, and we were inspired by their business models – less bureaucracy, more flexibility.

Less bureaucracy:

  • Share opinions: When there are fewer internal problems, anyone can feel empowered to share their thoughts and opinions within the organization, whether they’re interns or senior leadership.

  • Encourage open communication: Brand marketers and their agency partners should make the most of their relationship by openly communicating their needs and expectations upfront. Ineffective communication, with the client and within the agency itself can lead to misunderstanding, which causes confusion and leads to blaming and hostility.

  • Fueled by culture: Sure, a lot of agencies are fun, hip, and have great perks, but an agency fueled by culture is something that can be very important for clients. There’s so much collaboration between the agency and brand marketing teams that the need for a good chemistry is a necessity. Teams that get along and develop clear communication throughout the entire process often produce killer work results.

  • No bait and switch: Full-service, integrated agencies tend to secure accounts with an epic pitch deck and a promise that their potential client will have access to their “A” team. One of the biggest complaints on the brand marketing side is that these agencies over-promise with their best and brightest, and under-deliver by assigning the account (project/campaign/business, etc.) to their junior staff. Specialist agencies maintain transparency by explaining their methods and processes up front, and by presenting with the same staff who will ultimately work on the project.

  • Turn small failures into big wins: An agency that encourages healthy risks allows for more free-thinking employees, who can then create ground-breaking results without fear of failing and subsequent repercussions. Clients appreciate a specialist agency’s willingness test new ideas, ultimately giving projects more ability to succeed long term than sticking only with staid practices.

More flexibility:

  • Grow fresh ideas: This goes hand-in-hand with turning small failures into big wins

  • Adopt new ways of doing business: Specialist agencies aren’t usually tied to a specific way of doing things, nor do they have regimented internal business models. They do, however, put a premium on creativity and strategy, which is especially helpful when a client is ready to revitalize their brand. This is a critical asset, considering marketing and advertising is constantly redefined each year.

  • High-level results: Smaller agencies need to meet goals and objectives for their clients to simply survive in this industry. These agencies aren’t constantly thinking about short-term margins, but rather long-term relationships and satisfied clients.

  • Focus on customer needs: What specialist agencies lack in staff numbers, they make up for with their willingness to fully understand the client’s pain points, by first and foremost addressing the brand marketer’s requests before offering their opinion on additional marketing initiatives. Instead of focusing on what their team is and isn’t capable of handling, small and nimble marketing firms will put more effort into determining the solution to their client’s problem, and will work harder to make it happen with the employees they’ve got.

While some of these concepts might seem obvious we wanted to help you better understand why brand marketers should consider and reap the benefits of working with independent and specialist marketing agencies.

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