April 1, 2021

The Full-Service B2B Agency Mindset

by Melissa Caffrey

Every B2B marketing agency is unique, composed of unique professionals with unique strategic and creative capabilities.

Choosing an agency partner is about evaluating these capabilities in relation to your brand, your industry, and your budget, which can complicate matters even further. There are a lot of factors that go into the decision-making process, but to start, it’s essential to make sure of one thing—that said B2B partner has a full-service agency mindset.

From Holistic View to Effective Execution

Full-service marketing is not an agency category, it’s a way of life. B2B marketing agencies with a full-service agency mindset may not offer every marketing service under one roof, they may not be a one-stop-shop on paper, but they definitely take a holistic view of a brand’s overall marketing strategy.

The full-service mindset is about thinking of challenges and solutions at the broadest possible level, about looking at marketing strategy as a whole and then assessing which channels and tactical solutions will best benefit the client (opposed to just pushing their specific expertise as the *best* solution).

This agency partner is able to think about marketing strategy from a 360 perspective, recognizing that it takes a dynamic mix of channels that address employees, customers, and prospects to make real, effective change.

From there, the holistic positioning and insights gleaned from said agency’s full-service thinking equals 360 execution. We don’t have to execute SEO/SEM to understand why it’s so important. We don’t need to understand PR placement to know its value. The benefit of a full-service mindset is a deep understanding of how research works, withstands scrutiny, and tells your story.

A Trusted Network of Expertise

The world of marketing is so multifaceted and complex that it’s a no-brainer to partner with an agency in some capacity. A B2B agency partner can bring new ideas and put in the extra care that an in-house team may not have the resources or the time for.

The same can be said for working with only one agency. If an agency tells says they can do everything, we recommend running the other direction. If they can do everything in-house, it’s highly unlikely that they can do everything extremely well—the classic generalist vs. specialist debate. That said, it would be a lot of work for a brand to also scope out and recruit a group of specialist agencies that report to them, which is why it’s ideal to find a healthy in between.

B2B marketing leaders should consider the value of an ecosystem of agencies, and this is where the full-service mindset comes in. An agency that takes that holistic view isn’t afraid to say what they aren’t able to do, but they do have their own network of specialist partners and consultants. It not only saves a B2B brand the time it could take to manage a large group of specialists, but it also ensures that the brand is getting the upmost care when executing brand strategy.

This insight from an article on The Drum sums up the idea succinctly: “A better model might be the general contractor model—in which a brand hires a lead agency that has a network of subcontractors that perform specialty services with specialty skills.” 

Find the Best B2B Agency Partner for You

There is no one-size-fits-all agency model these days, which is why it’s crucial for B2B brands to ask the right questions to find an agency that can deliver 360 perspective and 360 execution. To wrap up, here are a few worthwhile questions that might drill into whether or not a B2B marketing agency is the best partner for you:

  • What are their areas of expertise?
  • Who are their agency partners?
  • What specialists do they consult with?
  • Have they worked with other relevant B2B companies?
  • What is their process for creating and executing marketing strategy?