Ditch Your Fragmented Marketing! Why You Need a Lead Agency to Keep Up in 2021
By: Georgeann Pizzi, President of MassMedia
What is a lead agency?
A lead agency works hand in hand with you to create and implement the optimal marketing strategy to achieve your business goals. Rather than focusing on specific marketing channels or areas of expertise, a lead agency can develop omnichannel marketing strategies. A lead agency can implement all marketing communications on behalf of its client and guide secondary vendor partners to ensure that everything in the marketing mix is working cohesively to drive towards the overall business goal.
A 10-year shift
Over the past decade, many big brands shifted away from using a lead agency and instead worked with multiple agency partners, each one focusing on a specific area of expertise such as creative or paid media or PR. Business owners and heads of marketing went this route because they wanted to receive the best of the best across each service line and tap into the different approaches and creative thinking that multiple agencies can provide.
While it sounds ideal in theory this approach came at a cost. Why? It takes significantly more time to manage multiple partners if one agency isn’t leading the charge. It can also mean fragmented reporting and analytics, more emails and communication, more meetings, multiple points of contact, potential for duplicating efforts and risk of inconsistent messaging and brand experience for the customer. But perhaps most importantly, using multiple agencies or not having a true lead agency means sacrificing speed and agility, something many brands didn’t realize the importance of until the pandemic hit in 2020.
The Covid Effect
When the pandemic hit, brands across almost every industry were forced to shift their strategies and their messaging. And fast! Campaigns large and small became outdated and lost their relevance overnight. And to avoid looking tone deaf, business owners and marketers had to make fast changes to their creative, messaging and channel mix.
With the world staying home, some marketing channels saw immediate gains in reach and engagement while others quickly fell. Billboards abruptly lost their scale and reach, and channel usage across digital and direct mail skyrocketed. When people were home, their digital usage across social media, Google and online publishers increased exponentially. We all watched more news and streamed our favorite shows. While this overnight shift posed many challenges for brands, it also offered a great opportunity to remain relevant and reach prospects and customers through authentic creative and messaging that resonated and connected with how people were feeling during such an uncertain and unprecedented time.
Brands that didn’t make fast change stood out…and not in a great way. It become apparent to consumers who was keeping up with the times and who was not. Smart marketers and lead agencies shifted their campaigns quickly and optimized accordingly to take advantage of highly engaged audiences and lower advertising rates. The result was better reach and better engagement and despite the odds, many businesses were able to grow during this very difficult time.
Lead agencies once again take the lead
During the pandemic, brands that were already using a lead agency had a clear edge over those who did not. They were able to tap into their agency partner to quickly shift strategies and stay relevant to their prospects and customers. Brands who didn’t have a lead agency partner began to evaluate their marketing operations and seek one out. Speed and agility became a top priority for marketing departments and with that, lead agencies who possessed the ability to work across channels became sought after.
The lead agency of 2021 is however, distinctly different from the full-service agencies of the 2010 era. Like the lead agencies of the past, today’s lead agency offers multiple marketing service lines under one roof and can deliver omnichannel campaigns. But in 2021 they remained specialized in the services they offer and they also play nice in the sandbox. An effective lead agency understands when and how to tap specialized agencies when necessary. They can even bring specialized partners to the table and lead that specialized agency on behalf of the client to ensure that all outputs drive back to the overarching business and marketing goals. Ultimately, the lead agency takes accountability for the holistic marketing strategy and serves as the client’s trusted advisor and partner.
MassMedia is a digitally focused, full-service/lead agency specializing in strategy, PR, media and social. We pride ourselves on driving measurable business impact to our client partners. To find out how we can help you grow your business, email Georgeann Pizzi – firstname.lastname@example.org.