Skipping the Middleman: Pros and Cons of Ad Agencies

Anyone who has worked with a marketing agency knows that there are ups and downs to the relationship. Agencies tend to function as middlemen for companies that need more bandwidth than their current marketing team can sufficiently handle.

The oft-proclaimed benefits of hiring an agency are usually as follows.

  1. You can essentially create a marketing team without worrying about hiring, on-boarding, training, benefits, or salaries.

  2. You can add them into your budget and start work seamlessly.

  3. Hiring an agency can help your in-house team focus on other projects.

  4. Agencies provide expertise in addition to manpower

  5. You can, in theory, let go of the process.

Unfortunately, there are also downsides to hiring an ad agency - and some of them negate the benefits above.

  1. Hiring an agency is usually not turnkey. You’ll need to manage them, which will require internal resources you were trying to free up.

  2. Agencies farm out your advertising to publishers, which leaves massive gaps for mistakes.

  3. You often will not receive solid data or analytics from an agency, so you have no idea whether your marketing efforts are successful or not.

  4. You get what you pay for. A great agency might charge you massively for a full partnership, or a terrible agency might cut you a deal for subpar advertising. Either way, that’s not what you signed up for.

  5. A marketing expert isn’t always what you’re looking for. You usually also need a content expert to target the right audience with the right information.

So what, then, is the right option? Find a publisher that also provides marketing services and cut out the middleman. Your agency is going to work publisher fees into their charges. Why not just go right to the source?

There are huge benefits to working directly with a hybrid organization that provides both marketing and publishing services. Just a few of these are:

  1. Everything from the 5 agency-based benefits listed at the top.

  2. Save. Money. Carve out the agency fees and just pay directly for your advertising.

  3. Control your involvement. Want to manage your campaigns? Great! Want a totally turnkey solution? Also great! Hybrid companies can work either way.

  4. Get access to the right experts. Marketer/publishers give you access to both marketing experts and content experts, which means you have a far better higher chance for success from your campaigns.

  5. Receive actionable data and updates. Marketing/publishing companies have the experience and bandwidth to provide you with complete data and analytics. They watched your campaigns firsthand - who better to give you data and feedback?

Sure, agencies are abundant and seem to be affordable. But are they really the right solution for your organization? For some, certainly. But if you’re looking to get more for less, consider working with a company that provides both marketing and publishing services.

For a glimpse inside a company that's melding publishing and marketing, check out Advantage Business Media's new Corporate Playbook