Ever been to an ice hockey match?
Hockey is a fast-paced, rough-and-tumble sport. It’s 178 feet from goal to goal and the ice is populated by big men with sticks who want nothing more than to get in your way. Getting the puck safely from one side of the rink to the goal on the other side can be a daunting task. When it comes to deftly moving the puck, skating around opposition, quickly changing course, and beating the opposition to the goal, the best hockey players in the world are strong, agile, and incredibly flexible. And all of them are specialists in their field.
So, what’s with the hockey reference? It’s the beginning of a metaphor where the ice is the competitive landscape, the puck is your client, the goal is their return on investment, and the players stand for your in-house marketing competency. The question at hand, obviously, is does your agency have the kinds of strong, agile specialists on the players bench that you can call up when you need them most? If your answer is “no,” you’re not alone and you may benefit from hiring an agency support company to round out your team roster.
Everything in marketing has seen significant amounts of change in the last decade. The landscape is no longer dominated by a small handful of Generalist Firms that offer a wide range of services to meet the client’s every need. Traditional outbound marketing services such as radio and TV ads, direct mail, telemarketing and newsprint are still valuable competencies available through large marketing firms. But in an era where a larger percentage of marketing dollars can (and will) be spent for online (or inbound) marketing, any forward-thinking firm should be prepared to answer the client’s call for web content, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This is where a good agency support partnership is invaluable.
In marketing terms, an agency support company describes a smaller firm that offers specialized services. Need an SEO expert who can handle on-page SEO, or an SEO who specializes in developing link building campaigns? The right SEO reseller can help. Need a group of experts who can run a PPC ad campaign for your client but you don’t have anyone on staff? A PPC reseller can address campaign settings, ad groups, daily budget settings, geo-targeting, and keyword research your organization is not specialized in. This is a perfect time to engage the services of a highly-specialized, flexible, agile agency support company that can move your puck quickly to the goal, while you manage the game and the other players from the Scorekeeper’s Bench. Nice return to the metaphor, eh?
Yes, everything is moving toward internet marketing. Some industry pundits have gone so far as to claim that “the old marketing ways are dead.” This is simply not true.
In just ten years, our industry has seen an astronomical amount of growth and opportunity. We all know that growth – especially in the competitive landscape – can be extremely difficult to manage. Although the world internet usage stats currently claim nearly 2 billion users – whereas ten years ago, when many big agencies were first forming, internet users totaled only about 360 million. As an online marketing provider, even we can see there will always be a need for radio, TV, direct mail and newsprint advertising do address outbound marketing needs.
But, at the same time, online marketing, search marketing, PPC and SEO are the quickest way to deliver your client’s message and see instant feedback data. The analytics tied to each of those online marketing efforts are a resource that allows your marketing plan to shift and move to meet the ever-changing needs of the market. And, given the increasing complexity of the online marketing programs and the technologies that drive them, it may be difficult for a traditional marketing company to suddenly add new in-house competencies and make themselves a credible leader in any new area of specialization.
Remember this: at the offset of each new hockey season, every professional team sees more and more new players stepping in to assist the older players on the ice. A varied collection of competencies makes for a highly-competitive team and a good score at the end of game. So, make sure your firm leverages new players and talent to which you have access – that is, if you want to stay in the game. Agency support companies, like Rank Fuse Interactive, are eager to hit the ice for you and help move the puck.