Advertisers today have more choices than ever when choosing a marketing services provider. The diversity and complexity of choices is a bit mind-boggling when considering effectively integrating both online and offline marketing channels seamlessly to the customer. When a single campaign includes direct mail, email, microsites, social media, SEO, CRM integration, data capture and online reporting (amongst others), researching and selecting the right marketing partner to deliver the value you expect for your limited budgets can be overwhelming.
The decision becomes even more daunting when, as an advertiser, you have to think about the time and investment in educating and managing multiple partner relationships for a common marketing cause. Does it make sense for the CMO to continuously describe corporate goals, brand positioning, communication objectives and strategy for outside parties to be aligned with the client company’s overarching goals? This dialogue can become a balancing act between time availability and resource allocation that ultimately results in an ever-diminishing return.
So, does it make more sense for an advertiser to go with one primary partner, letting that entity do the heavy lifting of bringing together the right resources and talents in meeting expectations for more efficient and effective resource usage, stronger message and channel integration and overall marketing results accountability? Chances are, with the right partner, the answer is yes. But here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself and your current marketing partner before making that decision:
- Does my provider have the specialized communication expertise required for direct-to-consumer and business marketing? Or is their experience more suited to broad media advertising, PR or event marketing?
- What is known about my current customers and how can I apply that information to help make decisions to grow that customer base?
- How is data going to be handled when using both online and offline channels? How is it collected, stored, analyzed and reported on for more informed and timely marketing decisions?
- Is my partner an expert in online and offline communication strategies and tactics? Do they know how to leverage digital and print channels to provide a seamless customer experience cost-effectively?
- How is my marketing partner taking responsibility for our customers’ experience and what systems have been put into place to ensure that that experience is consistently a great one?
What arguably makes the most sense for advertisers in today’s maze of service providers is to align themselves with a direct marketing agency (an agency that knows how to talk directly to consumers and businesses). That agency selection should provide overarching strategic service capabilities encompassing industry knowledge and marketing expertise that engages the target audience from every communication vantage point, while offering the opportunity for dialogue and for making a purchasing decision every step of the way, throughout the customer’s experiential process.
And advertisers need not be afraid to entrust their budgets to an agency that is expert in bringing other trusted partners to the table in meeting a client’s specialized marketing needs. After all, what more could an advertiser ask than to be partnered with an agency willing and able to put the client’s bottom-line ahead of its own?