Bob Garfield

Why brands shouldn't work directly with publishers or vendors

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More brands are cutting out the middle man and working directly with third-party companies. Here's why it's a bad idea to ignore your agency.

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.