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What Does A Full-Service Marketing Agency Do?

If you’ve been considering a marketing agency lately, odds are good you’ve seen conflicting ideas about what a marketing agency should do for you. One of the tricky terms in marketing is “full-service.” Exactly what does a full-service marketing agency do, and do you need one?

Marketing has been around a lot longer than Google, and the term “full-service marketing agency” derives from the old days before the digital era. Unfortunately, because so many of today’s newer marketers aren’t as aware of that history, they have different ideas about what “full-service marketing” is all about.

That can leave you confused about who to trust as your outsourced marketing partner.

The best way to figure out what a full-service marketing agency is is to start with what it isn’t:

The alternative to a full-service marketing agency is a boutique marketing agency. Ideally, a boutique agency is one that specializes in one or two things and does them exceptionally well. Boutique marketing agencies can’t deliver a complete marketing strategy, but they are the best of the best at what they do.

At least … they used to be.

These days, the majority of marketing agencies – especially those that position themselves as digital marketing agencies – are “boutique marketing agencies.” They only do one thing. The most common is social media, but there are boutique marketing agencies that focus on email marketing, website design, and all the rest.

The problem with these “boutique marketing agencies” is that most of them are nothing special.

The 2010s saw a huge influx of rookie marketers and their so-called “marketing agencies.” A lot of them started as freelancers but then realized the obvious problem: Few organizations really value freelance marketers. So, a quick website later and they could re-position as a “marketing agency.”

So far, the 2020s haven’t been kind to $30MM and up businesses that need serious, experienced marketers. A subscription to ChatGPT has led thousands of others into the industry under the mistaken belief that writing a prompt and copy-pasting the results is “blog writing.” And unfortunately, this is what you get with many brands online.

A true full-service marketing agency is something completely different.

A Full-Service Marketing Agency Goes Beyond Tactics to Strategy

A full-service marketing agency isn’t just about tactics – the social media posts, the emails, the blogs.

Those things are important, but they won’t make a dent in your goals without the clarity of vision that comes from a complete marketing strategy. Without a strategy, you don’t really know what you want to achieve. And that leaves you unable to rationalize your spending or track your progress toward your objectives.

Newcomers to marketing – no matter their background or how serious they are about their craft – often end up misunderstanding the basics of how marketing works. Writing a social media post is easy. Ensuring it resonates with your audience and motivates them to take the action you need them to take is hard.

Likewise, while a freelancer – including those masquerading as a “boutique marketing agency” – might promise overnight results, the truth is more complicated. There are no instant solutions to all of the complex questions a marketing strategy needs to solve. Even online advertising, which can work instantly, isn’t always appropriate.

Not even strategy, alone, defines a full-service marketing agency.

In the end, it’s all about the agency’s relationship to your business.

A Full-Service Marketing Agency is a Robust Business Solution at Scale

On their own, marketing tactics are nothing more than parts of a whole – like the ingredients of a meal or the individual tubes of paint that will eventually become a painting. The marketing strategy is the recipe. And the “full-service” part of full-service marketing comes in when the one-off recipe becomes a long-term meal plan – something you don’t have to think or worry about that’s shopped, prepared for you, and served to you.

If you have a real full-service marketing agency as a partner, then what you’re getting is the complete “done for you” experience. After discussing your goals and challenges and working with you to develop the strategy, the rest of your marketing can be completely hands-off. All the necessary talent, software, skills, vision, and execution are brought together in a way that doesn’t require you to have any marketing staff.

With a true full-service marketing agency, you don’t have to:

  • Hire a marketing director and wait for them to hire the rest of the marketing team in turn.
  • Burn time managing multiple vendors who don’t communicate or work perfectly together.
  • Waste time producing marketing collateral you aren’t proud to have associated with you.

Full-service marketing agencies aren’t just another issue on your agenda: They are completely self-guided and self-directed. That means you can focus your time and attention on what’s really important to you (what’s in your personal zone of genius) while leaving the rest to them. You get to save time, not waste it.

That’s because a mature full-service marketing agency worthy of the name brings multiple layers of creativity, production, and follow-through. It’s all there, and you don’t have to be aware of any of it – it just works. And when your needs change, your marketing partner effectively scales with you. There’s never any mystery.

Does all that mean you don’t have any part in your marketing when you retain a full-service marketing agency? Of course not. You can be as involved or as hands-off as you wish – and you’re always entitled to know where your marketing stands. Simple.

New York Ave Is a Full-Service Marketing Agency that Understands You

When your business reaches $30MM and up, you don’t just need a marketing agency. You don’t just need a full-service marketing agency. You need an established marketing agency staffed by experienced business leaders – the kind of leaders who have built businesses from the ground up, just like you.

Companies at this level are at a crossroads. They’ve reached the limits of organic growth and they need to shift to marketing-driven growth. At the same time, the founder is usually stepping away from a longtime role as the “face of the business” and chief relationship manager – a challenging transition on a variety of levels.

It can be hard to accept that a marketing agency – or, indeed, any third-party partner – can represent your brand as well as you can. Not only can a full-service marketing agency like New York Ave do it, but we can completely exceed your expectations by doing the work you would never want to have to do yourself.

It all starts with a meeting of the minds. Whether in person, by video, or on the phone, we will listen to you and learn your story: Where you are, how you got there, and where you’re going next. Then we’ll create a marketing strategy complete with marketing campaigns to build the bridge to the future you want.

Contact us today to find out more or get started.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by nirsonline.org. 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.