Branding and Digital and Full-service, OH MY! Agencies, A to Z
By now, you’re an expert on the differences between marketing, advertising and public relations. But what about the various kinds of marketing agencies? There are branding agencies, SEO agencies, digital and social media marketing agencies, full service agencies and more. It can be confusing and overwhelming to know which one(s) are best suited to meet your needs.
So let us help you! Here’s a run down of what you can expect from each type and why you should be cautious to hire someone to “do it all” if they clearly only specialize in one specific area:
Branding agency. Branding agencies’ primary focus is to help develop and maintain your company’s brand, or identity, in an effort to differentiate your product or service in the marketplace, and convince people to emotionally invest in it. They do this in a number of ways, including brand positioning, naming, visual design and packaging, and strategy.
SEO agency. An SEO (which stands for search engine optimization, or the process of increasing a web page’s search rankings in order to increase online visibility) agency works to improve search engine rankings. Why does this matter? Because most people turn to the internet for answers, and you want your company’s site to be among the first returned search results. Site traffic can translate into sales.
Digital agency. A digital agency uses non-traditional means—like email, social media, innovative web design, mobile apps and more—to reach your audience. In today’s rapidly evolving digital world, these agencies leverage the ubiquitous Internet to help market your brand creatively.
Social media marketing agency. A more specialized branch of digital marketing, social media marketing uses—you guessed it!—social media to promote your company. An agency with this expertise will create and publish content across platforms, engage with your digital community, and aggregate and analyze data to determine your most effective, popular channels of communication.
Market research agency. Market research is often the first step in developing any marketing strategy. Agencies that provide this service use qualitative and quantitative methods—including focus groups, interviews, direct mail surveys, online surveys and telephone surveys—to determine information about your target market audience and its attitudes towards your product or service. This data is then used to inform your market strategy.
Full service agency. AKA, the big kahuna! Full service (or “integrated”) agencies, in theory, deliver all of the above services. But (there’s always a “but,” am I right?), beware those that claim to be full service. While there are certainly legit, professional full service firms out there, many will say they are when, in reality, they’re not. We see it all the time: agencies market themselves to potential clients as full service, only to specialize in one or two areas and attempt to “figure out the rest” later. These situations can spell disaster for your company if you’re not careful.