The fastest-growing and most profitable marketing agencies enjoy some key competitive advantages in their respective marketplaces, including renowned expertise, a dedicated team, advanced technology and a roster of satisfied clients (who aren’t shy about sharing glowing testimonials!). However one more piece of the puzzle doesn’t get a lot of attention, but is nevertheless as critical as anything else in the mix: they partner with market research firms.
Before looking at the reasons why this relationship is advantageous, it’s worth answering a more fundamental question: why would marketing agencies outsource market research versus handle it in-house?
The answer is simple: professional-grade market research is a specialization, not a function. While there may be some aspects of market research that marketing agencies can take ownership of, they wisely “do the math” and see that it’s far more effective — and therefore, much more profitable — to create a partnership vs. invest hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to build a core competence that, frankly, there’s no reason for them to establish. Just as successful corporations get outside legal help, successful marketing agencies get outside market research help. It simply makes sense.
The Key Advantages
While every marketing agency is unique — and therefore, so is the partnership with their respective market research firm partner — generally, there are a set of key advantages that make the relationship clearly and consistently rewarding. These include:
Without coming across as aggressive (think Alec Baldwin’s legendary “always be closing” speech from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross), market research agencies have to constantly monitor client engagements and identify ways to develop the account — not just because it’s more profitable to do so, but because it’s a way to deliver more value and strengthen the relationship.
Market research is ideally suited to help achieve this objective, because it supplies marketing agencies with fact-based, data-driven ways to help their clients exploit opportunities, or conversely, proactively avoid problems and pitfalls that will ensnare their less visionary competitors.
Market research enables marketing agencies to clearly and accurately identify their clients’ problems, and gather qualitative and quantitative intelligence to solve them.
This may sound somewhat basic — or perhaps even self-evident. After all, don’t clients already know what problem they want to solve when they reach out to a marketing agency? Surprisingly, the answer is “no” more often than it is “yes”!
This is because, much like patients who visit a doctor, clients know what they’re struggling with (e.g. customer churn, lack of visibility in the marketplace, prolonged sales cycles, excessive competition, etc.), but they don’t necessarily know how the best way to address those problems. In other words, they know the symptoms, but not the solutions.
For example, they may think that their customer churn problem is rooted with their account management team, when in fact the real cause might be that the wrong customer types are being onboarded in the first place, or that new customers aren’t being properly oriented or trained to maximize their investment (and hence, stay on the roster vs. churn down the road).
Partnering with a market research firm ensures that marketing agencies aren’t “setup to fail” by solving the problem their client thinks they need to solve vs. solving the one that their client REALLY needs to solve. The end result is far better outcomes, happier clients, and more profitable engagements. Everyone wins.
Reporting Expertise and Capacity
Last but not least, marketing agencies partner with market research firms because the latter has the expertise and capacity to provide relevant, stakeholder-specific reports that keep the client relationship strong and sticky — which is especially important in the marketing world, when campaigns can take several months to materialize and start yielding measurable results.
The “stakeholder specific” aspect noted above is worth highlighting, because marketing agency clients are typically comprised of various target groups, such as sales, technical, finance, executive, and so on. While these teams work together for the same organization, they have distinct needs — and what one finds relevant and important, the other can find redundant and useless.
Partnering with a market research firm ensures that market research reports — which are impressive documents that can be distributed via print and/or digital, as desired — are consistently relevant for all stakeholders and audiences. The level of engagement and buy-in that this singular advantage alone delivers is enormous, and often turns those skeptical of market research into huge fans that look forward to the next update.
At Communications For Research, we successfully partner with marketing agencies nationwide. We can work exclusively on the back-end providing expertise, guidance and professional services, or we can step forward and “white label” our solutions on behalf of the marketing agency (for example, we can hold conference calls with their clients, deliver presentations, etc.). To learn more, contact us today and talk to co-CEO Colsen Steber to see what we can do for your business.
If you’re looking for more information about how market research can bring more value to your marketing agency, download our FREE eBook today: