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Why brands shouldn't work directly with publishers or vendors

Why brands shouldn't work directly with publishers or vendors Charlie Ray

Good agencies don't get angry or defensive when you decide to work directly with publishers or vendors. However, they do have great concerns about the potential consequences you may not foresee. Here are just a few.

Publishers and vendors are trying to sell their products and meet internal goals

Agencies provide more value to your brand than simply placing media or creative on publisher sites. Often, a good agency can be the difference between getting taken advantage of in the market or receiving a fair investment deal with measurable results. Agencies are there to defend you from the litany of sales offers and the overwhelming array of directions you could go with your marketing dollars. When a brand works with a publisher or vendor directly, it can lack an objective perspective of the potential ROI. Marketers in the agency world are trained for years to analyze, measure, and assess investment return on a number of different advertising tactics. Not only can your agency save you money, its expertise can save you precious time that would be spent if you did the research yourself.

Agencies are thinking about your overall strategy

Agencies are there to protect your overall strategy. At a good agency, no decision is made on your behalf without considering the long term goals your brand wants to achieve. Very seldom do publishers or vendors have this in mind or even know what your overall strategy may be. It's not their fault; third-party companies are not positioned in a way where that information would be relevant. However, your agency has your strategy in the front and center of its mind. When a majority of marketing decisions are given directly to a third party by your brand, your output may lead you further away from the long term goals you had intended for any particular marketing strategy. Your agency will do the due diligence.

A very passionate proponent for the agency model is Charlie Ray, president of Broad Street Co. In this exclusive interview, he speaks to iMedia about why giving publishers and vendors direct budget presents a risk for your brand to potentially lose crucial market perspective and lessen the impact of long term strategic goals.

Agencies advise you on new innovations and potential

Brand marketers are excited, passionate, and intelligent people. Not only do they want their companies to succeed in the marketplace, they want to establish themselves as forward thinking industry leaders and bold visionaries. There are many "shiny new objects" publishers and vendors have to offer, and to a creative brand marketer, these new opportunities are highly appealing. While brand marketers love to innovate, it's the job of the agency to gauge feasibility and assess risk to protect its client's strategy. Many new innovations and never-before-tried tactics end up not working out, and your agency is there to mentor you before you even get on board with these risky endeavors. Remember, you hired your agency to execute your marketing strategy. In order to do that, an agency must say no to a few possibilities, and the reasons all have to do with protecting the client's goals.

If your agency likes a new vendor/publisher, it will bring the third party to you

Agencies love to work with publishers and vendors, and they are extremely good at managing those relationships. An agency is not unaware that that its clients want to be in the loop as to who they are working with and what companies are receiving budget. Agencies are good at being the moderator between brands and third-party companies to facilitate a healthy and long-term relationship. If an agency meets a new third-party company that may have potential, the agency will be more than happy to bring that company to you to meet. Agencies don't want to keep you out of the loop. Rather, they want to make sure that those companies they do bring in the loop are quality, responsible additions to your marketing strategy.

Charlie Ray of Broad Street Co. ends our conversation by giving some advice to brands, publishers, and vendors about how to navigate the agency model so that all involved benefit in the best way possible.

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"Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle" via Shutterstock.

Charlie Ray has over 15 years of experience as a digital marketing strategist, product development manager, and digital consultant. His brand experience covers a wide range of organizations, including Whole Foods, National Education Association, New...

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