Can bringing marketing services in-house help companies feel closer to their customers?
According to a recent survey, conducted among 200 senior marketers by MediaSense, in association with ISBA and Ipsos Connect, the majority of marketing managers indicated their desire to manage customer relationships and data in house. Furthermore, over half of the respondents (54%) stated that they expected to bring a number of functions, previously outsourced to agencies, in-house by 2020 because they were of the opinion that their agencies were not agile enough.
Now the term ‘agile’ is in itself fairly ambiguous; it is too broad and unclear and not specific to the issue or situation that has arisen. In this context, we can assume that what the report is suggesting is that there has been a breakdown in the ‘relationship’ in terms of managing expectations (on both sides) and delivering upon goals, or the tasks assigned did not match the skill set of the agency.
So what can marketers do to ensure their agency is up to the task and the right fit?
Marketers need to weigh up the skills set required to fulfil a creative brief
First and foremost, marketers need to identify the best solution to the problem in hand. It is their responsibility to ascertain if they have the skills in house or whether a more specialist agency is more suited to the task.
If the decision is to work with an agency, then as with any business relationship, there has to be an emotional connection, a rapport that can be nurtured leading to absolute trust and respect between the two parties. In addition, the agency needs to demonstrate their experience of working on similar projects.
Without doubt the agency will then require a detailed creative brief in order to understand the task in hand and feedback how they will approach the project. All too often a creative brief is too ambiguous which leads to a misinterpretation of objectives. However, a professional agency should challenge the brief if it is not clear what the outcomes desired are to avoid this happening.
Benefits of working with creative design agencies
Creative design agencies vary widely in size and scope and cater to different kinds of customers – and this is key to understanding how to appoint and work with an agency. The creative work they present is often subjective, but always considered and professionally executed, and more often than not, has received input from the agency’s own marketing professionals (often at no additional cost) to ensure the solution proposed fits the brief.
Agencies employ experts in many creative fields to provide quality, professional services to a company requiring an expert eye and hand in delivering their communications – resources often not found in house.
Questions marketers should ask when choosing a creative design and marketing agency:
Is the agency familiar with the target audience and can demonstrate how to reach them?
Has the agency used the media they plan to use most extensively?
Can the agency confidently talk about the results or possible outcomes that can be achieved, having worked with similar clients?
Is the agency listening and demonstrating an understanding of the brief?
Is there a natural rapport and can you trust the agency to fulfil the key elements of the creative brief? See our blog on how to write a creative brief.
Finally, can the project be delivered within the timescales and budget?
An investment in the services of a creative design and marketing agency, where there is a solid relationship in place will yield multiple benefits. They provide a valuable resource for any organisation looking to increase their customer base or retain members by providing fresh, intelligent and objective thinking; and they bring together people and processes with expertise in a wide array of communication fields that can complement a client’s in-house capabilities.
So while marketers may think managing their customer’s relationship in house is the solution to getting closer to them in the future, they should not dismiss the benefits of working with a specialist agency or agencies to help them achieve their goals and make sure their messages are received and understood, and most importantly, evoke the desired response.
If you need to re-fresh your marketing collateral in 2016 or are looking to outsource your marketing, please get in touch to discuss your requirements: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01733 235234.