When choosing an agency partner, there's no lack of options out there which for some is a positive but for others can make the task seem overwhelming. There's a lot that rides on a successfull agency partnership and if things don't go well with that partnership it could mean many things a loss in market share, damage to brand image, individuals on the brand and agency side losing their jobs etc. It's important to have an established criteria in place to try and prevent a disasterous agency partnership. Part of that criteria is deciding the type of agency to use, they're all types of options available but for the purpose of this post we'll concentrate on Full Service Marketing Agency versus Multicultural Marketing Agency.
Full Service agency typically implies that the agency's focus is general market. This is the more common type of agency and they're going to provide most if not all of the services one would typically think of under the marketing/advertising umbrella and perhaps public relations as well. Agency size is reflective of the population they're targeting which means these agencies are sometimes quite large with multiple offices and divisions often worldwide.
These agencies are usually one stop shops from strategy to research to execution. They'll have sizable staffs and resources to ramp up behind any given campaign and in terms of media buys can secure favorable rates b/c they're buying on behalf of multiple clients, but those savings are rarely passed on to the clients as full service agencies driving motivation is profitability.
FSA's, because of their size and reach, are also able to leverage relationships on things like cross promotions between brands bringing value to multiple clients. At the same time it's difficult for a brand unless their spend is of a certain size to have the full attention of an FSA. If the spend warrants it the agency will dedicate a team that works on that piece of business exclusively.
By Comparison Multicultural Marketing agency as the name implies will focus solely on the Multicultural market. In some instances one specific demographic i.e.; Asian American, but often times several within that sphere. Because of this focus on specific demo(s) multicultural marketing agencies tend to be great hubs for reasearch gathered about their specific target demo. Often times FSA's will reach out to or Use MMA's for research purposes if they have that mandate.
In terms of function an MMA is going to in some cases be able to provide all of the functions of a FSA but with a laser like focus on a particular multicultural demo. Typically Multicultural will have solutions that won't fall within the realm of what one would think a campaign should have, this is due in large part to the fact that the multicultural market consumes media and messaging in a very different way than general market, agencies must be unique in their approach when targeting an audience that some would consider elusive or skeptical of traditional mediums.
A Multicultural Marketing Agency by design is more nuanced. Instead of blanketing a population with generic messaging good agencies are going to focus on subsets within a given market. In example an agency may have a focus on first generation of a multicultural population vs. second generation. English speakers within that same subset vs. non English speakers etc. This determination is usually based on diligent research and also the client mandate.
As the multicultural audience has grown and becomes more of a majority, you're starting to see general market agencies take more of an interest and in some instances even pose as experts on multicultural marketing. This is making the landscape more competitive in the creative work that's done and pricing as well.
There's no law against using a mix of a full service agency and a multicultural agency especially if you have a mandate to do so. As long as the messaging and image is consistent across all channels used you'll be able to leverage the expertise of both agency types for your campaign. Do you have experience with using a full service marketing agency versus multicultural marketing agency? We're interested in your feedback about that experience or your thoughts on this topic overall, use the comment section to share your thoughts/experiences.