Brands and startups need a quarterback that manages the campaign and makes things happen.
Digital marketing campaigns have lots of moving parts, from social media to video to banners to interactive to integrated TV initiatives. All of these parts must be aligned to the campaign goals, user experience, brand message and overall look and feel. In an effort to get more done with smaller budgets, digital marketing executives are trending towards working directly with multiple vendors (creative, interactive agencies and production shops), each performing the various tasks required to round out the campaign. The result of this arrangement is often a disjointed execution, lack of focus on the original goals and vision of the campaign, reduced lead times, rushed work, and far more wear and tear on brand and product managers than is necessary.
A lead digital agency takes the burden off the marketing team
The answer is to assign a lead digital agency that is in charge of managing the creative vision, additional vendors, creative assets, campaign direction, deadlines and deliverables. With the exception of the largest agencies, which carry with them large fees, few digital creative agencies do everything in-house. Core competencies may include big campaign ideas, interactive development, social media, digital strategy, video production, OOH or broadcast, but usually not all of them. Ideally, the lead agency on a campaign would be the digital creative agency that pitched the winning creative concepts, provided they have the chops to manage vendors in addition to their core competencies.
The point of going with one lead digital agency to execute the marketing vision is to relieve the burden on the marketing director, brand manager, product manager, or digital marketing team. This is accomplished by centralizing:
- Creative concepts and campaign vision
- Campaign leadership
- Vendor management
- One point of contact for the marketing team
- Many moving parts across social media, video, interactive, OOH, mobile and TV
- Thought leadership
- Responsibilities and deadlines
- Accountability and delivery
The case for the digital creative shop as lead digital agency
There’s a reason why brands turn to a digital creative agency for campaign concepts. Creative agencies are in tune with all of the possibilities, tactics, content and cultural trends and understand the best ways to connect with the brand’s fans. The agency can also take an outside view of the brand’s products and services, allowing them to develop and pitch fresh ideas and perspectives. The smart choice, then, would be to leave that agency in place to lead the campaign.
Transparency in pricing and avoiding vendor markups
One reservation in the minds of marketing executives who are considering assigning a lead agency is the perception that everything will be marked up, while if they deal directly with each vendor, they’ll save valuable budget. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Digital lead agencies like Supercool Creative don’t mark up the services of the vendors we source and manage. Instead, we prefer to negotiate a set, transparent, management fee as part of the overall budget and simply pass vendor fees along as direct costs. This allows the digital marketing team to easily compare costs, see what they are paying for and break down what work is being done by the lead agency, what is being done by additional vendors and how much each tactic is costing.
When considering a new campaign initiative, brands, businesses, startups and organizations really have three basic choices: 1. Work with a large agency that does everything in-house. 2. Work directly with multiple agencies and production shops, each performing the various tasks required to get the job done. 3. Work with a lead digital creative agency that pitches the creative, manages the campaign, executes the vision and delivers. When reviewing an agency’s core competencies, see if digital campaign management is one of them.