The role of outsourced marketing companies has evolved drastically over the past two decades.
Initially marketing companies, or agencies, were service providers incorporating every marketing aspect from corporate invitations and gifts to every facet of design and printing to public relations activities. In fact, practically the entire range of marketing and marketing-associated activities was outsourced.
Over the past 20 years, corporate companies began doing a lot of basic in-house marketing, which reduced the number of simple activities conducted by many marketing companies. Their expertise, however, were still needed for complex marketing activities involving specialised skills. Then, as technology progressed and played a larger role in all business activities, companies like Microsoft, and Google, for example, introduced software packages with certain marketing tools. Corporate companies were now capable of performing many previously outsourced marketing activities.
It was at this stage, the early days of the technology revolution - perhaps, that savvy marketing companies began to adapt their specialised focus. They changed from being simply service providers and became teacher, coach and marketing strategy originator with more specialised skills and services. Marketing providers that retained the ‘old service provider' thinking began to lose traction. Some of the trust between client and these agencies had been eroded.
It is imperative for any marketing specialist to realise when a previously niche offering is no longer niche. It is important for them to identify these changes and aid clients in absorbing these functions into their in-house marketing departments. It is not an agency's place to try hold on to previously-specialised activities, but rather to impart their knowledge and educate clients to a self-reliant level for certain marketing activities, providing training where necessary. This aids clients in their marketing spend, allows agencies to perform more specialised tasks and focus on their niche offerings. This paves the way for an enhanced mutually beneficial relationship.
An agency providing a thorough client-orientated service will embrace this change and do its best to aid its client in these developments. The mutual aim should be for strategic, successful marketing campaigns that lead to sales and increased, quantifiable market share.
TIn today's marketing environment, a successful marketing company performs a pivotal, niche role for the companies it services. This is especially so in the industrial environment where it is more technical. An agency must:
The role of specialist marketing companies and agencies has become a strategic one. In order to create lasting relationships and for marketing campaigns to be effective, it is imperative that the client / agency relationship be one of good faith, based on mutual trust and respect. Understanding the client's target market and knowing the best marketing tools to reach that market (in-house or outsourced) while supporting the client's business objectives are the biggest contributing factors to a mutually beneficial trust-based client/agency relationship.
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