Yes, A Full Service Agency Can Do PPC

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I was doing some research earlier this week, and came across an article from Hanapin Marketing called 26 Signs You Need a New Agency. Most of the signs make sense: the agency isn’t transparent, it won’t give the client access to their PPC accounts, or it makes grandiose guarantees of results. My favorite sign in the article is “They don’t ask for/clarify goals at the beginning of the relationship.” I’ve written multiple articles on PPC goals – it’s the most important key to the success of any PPC campaign, and yet one of the most overlooked steps in the process.

But I took issue with this “sign”:

“They’re a “full service” marketing agency

If an agency describes themselves as “full service,” it can mean two things: one, that they do not specialize in any one area, and therefore cannot provide the accuracy and detail in any one area of marketing that a specialized agency could. Or two, that they are such a large agency that they can have a team that specializes in every area of marketing, meaning that you would never have a direct contact at the agency and may be easily forgotten or have your needs postponed for a bigger ticket client.”

Full disclosure: I work for gyro, a full service agency specializing in B2B. And I take issue with the assertion that full service agencies cannot provide great PPC management and results. In fact, full service agencies provide many benefits.

Integrated marketing.

A good full service agency focuses on integrated marketing. At gyro, we do everything: PPC, SEO, content marketing and creation, media, creative, web design and development, and strategy development. Since a good full service agency can handle all of the client’s marketing efforts, there’s no need for cross-agency coordination. We’re simply working with our co-workers on an integrated marketing plan. It’s easy to meet to discuss our thoughts, brainstorm, and put together an integrated plan, because we’re all under one roof. Everyone agrees on KPIs, goals, and objectives – and there’s no cross-agency territorialism.

A dedicated account executive, plus experts in each discipline.

At gyro, each client has at least one account executive whose sole job is to manage the client relationship. The AE schedules meetings and is the main point of contact for the client. He or she coordinates all efforts for the client and ensures work is completed.

In addition, experts in each discipline work directly with the client. My clients know they can contact me directly with any questions about search. We keep the AEs copied on communications so they know what’s going on. This structure has dual benefits: the client has one point of contact in the agency, and I don’t have to deal with things like billing, scheduling meetings, and other coordination tasks that distract me from managing my PPC accounts. When I worked at a smaller agency, I was both AE and search manager, and it was challenging.

Creative capabilities.

Got a client who wants to run animated display banners in the GDN or remarketing? Need a bunch of banners designed? Need good Facebook ad images? Want to try short video YouTube Ads?

At a small agency, these tasks often have to be outsourced, creating additional coordination outside of the agency. A full service agency will have a creative staff that can design banners or videos in-house, with the PPC manager’s oversight. Of course, the clients pay for this service, but they’d have to pay for outsourced creative anyway. Our creative team already knows the client’s brand guidelines, so it’s more efficient than explaining these details to a third party.

Strategy and message development.

An overall strategy and consistent messaging is key to a successful marketing campaign. We have a strategy department that works with clients to develop a marketing strategy and campaign messaging to be used in all channels. I still write my own PPC ads – but I have guidance on messaging that we developed as a team. We can bounce ideas off each other. At a small agency, the PPC manager is often crafting messaging in a vacuum.

Content creation and strategy.

A PPC-only agency has to rely on the client for new content. We have an entire content team at gyro, complete with content strategists and writers. Content marketing is a challenge for many B2B advertisers, and creating fresh content is difficult as well. We can create content on our clients’ behalf. We can also repurpose content, taking a white paper and turning it into an infographic, an e-book, and a blog post, for example. I often work with our content strategists to incorporate learnings from PPC testing into new content creation.

Technical help.

Technical troubleshooting is a big part of a PPC manager’s job, but PPC managers rarely control a client’s website. Full service agencies often have developers on staff, who can work with developers on the client side to implement tracking, landing page optimizations, and other enhancements. We even manage the websites for several clients, making it easy to make changes.

Project managers.

PPC managers at small agencies wear many hats: account executive, technical consultant, etc. The small agency PPC manager is usually his or her own project manager, too. Full service agencies likely have a staff of project or production managers, whose sole job is to coordinate client work, assign it, and ensure it’s completed on time. It’s a relief to have a PM deal with these details, so I don’t have to.

Advanced reporting capabilities.

When I worked at a small agency, I was my own web analytics guru. If I didn’t know how to do something, it didn’t get done. Full service agencies have a team of analysts, along with high-powered BI tools to help create insightful and strategic reports from multiple data sources. Clients receive one report for all their marketing channels, with insights across channels. Data is presented in a unified way.

A good full-service agency will have one point of contact for each client, and will ensure that all client’s needs are met. If you are feeling like your needs aren’t being met or you’re being bumped for a larger client, definitely get a new agency. Good full service agencies staff properly and use project management tools to keep work moving on time.

I get that not every full service agency has an expert search team. I’ve run into more than one agency that says they offer PPC management, but they either outsource it to a contractor or to another agency. Make sure the agency has staff in house with experience managing PPC accounts like yours – especially if you have a large or complex account.

In short, prospective clients should definitely ask the questions in the Hanapin article. They’re good questions. And this isn’t a dig at Hanapin or any smaller agency – we all have our place in the ecosystem! But don’t assume that full service agencies can’t do PPC well. They can.

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Comments

  1. I totally agree with you about the benefits provided by full service agencies. I may be biased because I run an integrated marketing solutions company but I can equally well guess that the author of that article is associated with a boutique PPC agency!

  2. Great article and I agree with you on the benefits. Thanks for sharing.

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