Updated: Mar 15
With the plethora of different types of marketing companies out there, it can be difficult to match the right marketing company to your specific needs.
Marketing companies fall into different categories and this can be a good starting point in establishing the right type of marketing company for your personal requirements.
Firstly, at the top of the pile, in terms of revenues, are advertising agencies. Ad agencies are mainly concerned with Above-The-Line advertising, that being mainly TV, Radio, Press and outdoor media. That said, most of the larger ad agencies these days are integrating campaigns across social media and other media types to give more spread and accountability to clients.
As marketing companies, ad agencies will tend to have higher expectations of your marketing budget and can often pitch for business will in excess of £10m + per account. So, a smaller marketing budget will preclude a business working for one of the larger ad agencies.
There are many smaller, regional ad agencies that will work on projects with much smaller budgets, but it’s a good idea to know in advance that advertising is the route you wish to take, so that you are not wasting your own, (or the time of the agency), if you are not totally committed to your choice of marketing tools, in advance of asking them to pitch.
PR companies, as ad agencies, can be very large and selectively work on bigger accounts, or there are many smaller PR agencies that work predominantly with smaller SME businesses.
Each PR company will have a specialist area, or areas of expertise, such as B2B or B2C.
If you are using a PR company, (or intending to) it is likely that your objective will be on increasing engagement and brand awareness. A PR company can get you the right kind of press coverage for your marketing objectives, and will have extensive links with established editorial teams.
As marketing companies, PR agencies are therefore specialists in developing press relations, managing how your brand(s) is perceived and increasing its good reputation, sometimes also doing work to suppress any negative feedback, or bad press/ poor reviews, to protect a brand’s reputation.
Other marketing companies include integrated communications agencies, these type of agencies can integrate a certain amount of advertising, PR and creative design, but are less heavily reliant on media revenues for their income.
Integrated communications agencies will often, although not exclusively, be focused more on B2B clients, so this may lead them to doing more trade based advertising, direct mail and digital marketing. They will take projects over a number of different budget levels, but the larger ones wil command a minimum project value of £50k +
Smaller ICA’s will take on much smaller projects, from a few hundred pounds upwards.
Design agencies, as their name suggests, are focused more on the design-led aspects of marketing communications, they will design many of the graphical aspects of a brand’s requirements, from the logo or corporate identity upwards.
Design agencies promote themselves heavily on the level of creative skill they can bring to a project, so after the initial brand is created, they will often go on to build up in designing all of the requirements of that brand, including print and production.
This can include a full corporate identity manual, brochures, stationery, website template, digital user interfaces (UI’s), User Experience, (UX) and other marketing materials.
Design agencies are not usually held to account for profit and loss performance, but their design work will be expected to differentiate their clients’ brands and have a positive impact on performance.
Marketing companies can also include marketing consultants. Marketing consultants can be large companies with many hundreds of staff. right down to a single consultant working on a freelance basis. Marketing Consultants can be quite strategic in approach, so they are often used to consult on specific problems a business may be facing, to give an essential outside perspective.
Alternatively, marketing consultants can also provide similar services, although on a smaller scale, to integrated communications agencies. A marketing consultant will usually be a good all-rounder, able to add value to a wide range of requirements.
Some marketing consultants will have an extensive digital marketing skillset, so will be able to handle clients’ work on an outsourced basis, as an alternative to employing a permanent, senior marketing professional with the inherent expenses incurred.
Other types of marketing companies include sales promotion agencies and telemarketing agencies. These types of marketing company are mainly involved in outbound lead generation activities across both the B2B and B2C spectrum.
Sales promotion agencies, as the name suggests, will use a variety of marketing communications tools to promote products, in many cases for FMCG, so this will include, sampling, seasonal promotional campaigns, incentives, social media campaigns. Their objective is to increase sales over a given period, for a given brand or brands, in the hope of bringing forward sales volume.
Telemarketing agencies will make outbound calls to fix appointments for their clients. This may be for either B2B, B2C, or both. This type of marketing company is good if you want to make regular appointments with key decision makers, to give to your sales team.
The benefit over employing, is that you can use for a given period and then cancel, so you are not tied in to the same commitment as would apply if you were employing full time.
Marketing companies come in a variety of specialisms, sizes and at varying price points. It is a good idea to always work first on what your objectives are, then search for the expertise you need to make them happen.
If possible, have a budget in mind for your project(s) and ask for a few marketing companies to give you a proposal to put across their particular approach and past credentials.