In my tenure at RGC, there has been a big shift in the marketing industry that has made an exciting change in the work we do. In the past, we were almost exclusively focused on branding and brand development, and in my opinion, were (and still are) the best branding team around. We have since evolved, and have repositioned ourselves externally as creative, strategic, big picture thinkers and consultants that happen to do brilliant design. These are the characteristics that set us apart from other agencies, freelancers, and in-house marketing teams.
With that in mind, I wondered why our clients would choose to partner with us vs. great freelancers or in-house teams, and reached out to two of my clients, who also happen to be women in marketing who I admire. They provided some valuable insights that we wanted to share here.
Budgets are real, critical factors in marketing, for us and our clients. Many organizations come to us and have no idea what the services they require will cost. Others come to us with a set budget, and unfortunately, sometimes that budget will drive the decision if they can involve us as a partner or if they must use an alternative option.
Dotti Gallagher, Principal of Dotti Gallagher Consulting, said it can be hard find freelancers who are reliable due to many of them having traditional jobs and juggling multiple projects on their own during nights and weekends. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work with the pace of her needs. She appreciates the role account managers play within agencies (YAY!), both in keeping the project organized internally and holding her and the marketing team accountable.
“I respect the value of a creative agency partner and appreciate the accountability that both my clients and I have with a firm over a freelancer.” – Dotti Gallagher
This isn’t to downplay the hustle our freelance friends do. Many of our valued staff started out as freelance partners looking for that full time gig with an agency!
Agencies offer so much more than just throwing some creative down on a project. We are, more now than ever, consultants. Clients come to us with a problem to solve and many times have a specific deliverable in mind. Sometimes that requested deliverable is what we deliver, but more often, especially recently, it is not. In a consultant role, we approach a project from an unbiased perspective, asking the right questions to set up the right strategies.
Sarah Snyder, Marketing Manager with Harborstone Credit Union, says that working with an agency is like the best of both worlds.
“Working with an agency gives you the best of both worlds. You get a chance to obtain the external perspective a freelancer may be able to provide you, with the familiarity an in-house creative team has to offer. With freelancers, you have to explain who you are, what your mission is, what you’re trying to accomplish each time. With an on-going agency relationship, they learn those things so when new projects arise you’re able to dive right into the project and skip the get-to-know us conversation.”
“The agency experience, therefore, has to be based on building long-distance relationships on mutual trust.”
As stated in the opening, we have evolved as an agency, in order to stay relevant in the industry and to appropriately serve our clients. Current and potential clients expect that we are always ahead of the curve with design trends, marketing strategies, and other new technologies, all of which play into our work.
With the evolution of the work we do has come the evolution of the clients we serve. Now, we can go beyond our region and provide our services to client in other states, Dotti Gallagher being just one of them.
Putting this post together was a great exercise that let me connect with clients in a different way and gather some valuable insights from them. For us, it confirms the value in what we have to offer as a trusted marketing partner and we’re excited to keep doing great work for them and many of our others!