Aug 22, 2023
In the agency world, there are few worse feelings than hitting a plateau or having to tell a client “no” when they ask for specific services, but your current scope is holding you back from fulfilling them. As we’ve said many times before in previous articles, if you cannot offer a digital marketing service that your client is asking for, chances are another agency can and will.
After reading that, you might think, “I’d love to offer every agency service under the sun, but there’s just not enough talent or resources in my market to make it happen.” That’s fair, and it’s not an uncommon issue that we discuss in the hundreds of conversations with agency leaders that we talk to each year.
Frankly, as difficult as it can be to find the right clients, it can be similarly challenging to hire the right talent or access the necessary resources to provide a service that your client keeps mentioning at their last few account check-in calls with your team.
This boils down to two major obstacles that your agency might be facing when it comes to the scope of marketing services you can offer to your clients: lack of capabilities and inexperience.
So, how can you overcome these without overstretching your in-house resources? There are three possible paths forward, and we’ll break them down for you in a good, better, best format so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your agency.
Good: A Software Platform
Look online and you’ll find no shortage of software companies claiming that their solutions are what your agency needs to elevate your client services to the next level. Some of them are handy in a pinch, and they offer a wide range of capabilities.
As much promise as a platform might offer, they do not come without their drawbacks. Platforms could be limited in their own scope of marketing capabilities, and they do often require some pre-existing expertise in a specific area to maximize their value.
Without that expert overseeing the use of the platform, are you also able to guarantee the quality of its work? While it might seem like an opportunity to scale your service offerings, trusting in software alone can also create massive risk when it comes to delivering something of quality that your client will be satisfied with.
For example, if you’re using a generative AI tool like ChatGPT to tackle your content marketing, can you be confident in what it’s producing if you do not already have a skilled copywriter on hand to quality-check its work? Platforms are best utilized when an expert is using them, which can become a challenge if you’re lacking that expertise in-house.
Better: A Vendor
In the scope of marketing, a vendor is someone who provides a third-party service for your agency in exchange for a fee. Oftentimes, these individuals possess expertise in a single channel and will deliver a specific set of services.
Look at a platform like Fiverr. These are filled with vendors offering to provide you with a specific lists of tasks in exchange for their listed price.
Vendors may be a suitable alternative to an in-house hire, as it will not necessarily matter where they are located. You will not have to go through the same hiring process and you will not have to furnish any costs beyond what is mutually agreed upon.
However, vendor costs can add up, and if you’re using multiple vendors for multiple channels, stabilizing these expenses and unifying your strategy becomes more difficult. It’s like constantly trying to catch multiple fish with your bare hands instead of using a net.
Lastly, vendor quality can be tricky to gauge. A vendor is only obligated to fulfill the specific terms of their work agreement with you. If you need additional support or services, this could result in more expenses that can quickly eat at your margins. When you’re looking for help, you’re looking for someone to assist you in maintaining your profitability, not threatening it.
Best: A White Label Partner
In the context of digital marketing, a white label partner refers to an agency that provides a holistic suite of services to another agency. Essentially, it’s like hiring another ad operations team to support your own, adding your own markup to their services, and keeping everything under your own brand.
Partnership contrasts with using a software platform or single-channel vendor, where the services are typically more specialized and might not be as easily rebranded or integrated into a broader service offering. Here are some reasons why hiring a white label digital marketing partner might be considered better for your agency’s scope challenges:
Comprehensive Service Offering: White label partners typically offer a range of digital marketing services like SEO, paid search, paid social, and programmatic advertising. This allows agencies to provide full-service solutions to their clients without needing to specialize in each area themselves.
Cost-Effectiveness: Developing expertise in every aspect of digital marketing would be time-consuming and expensive for a local ad agency. By outsourcing these services to a white label partner, you can offer these services without having to invest in the hiring and development of in-house expertise.
Customization and Flexibility: White label services can be tailored to fit the specific needs and branding of your clients. This level of customization might be harder to achieve with a specialized software platform or single-channel vendor.
Quality Assurance: White label partners often have expertise in various aspects of digital marketing and can provide quality assurance on the services offered. This can enhance your agency’s reputation and ability to establish credibility with your clients.
Time to Market: Partnering with a white label provider enables quicker delivery of comprehensive solutions, since your agency doesn't have to develop each service from scratch. This is especially valuable if you to quickly meet the varied demands of different clients.
Scalability: White label providers are usually equipped to handle a range of client sizes and needs, allowing you to scale offerings up or down based on demand without significant adjustments to your own processes or infrastructure.
Consistency: Using a single white label partner for various services ensures a uniform approach and quality across different channels and strategies. This might be harder to achieve when working with different single-channel vendors or specialized software platforms.
Client Relationships: By outsourcing to a white label partner, you can focus more on building and maintaining relationships with clients, understanding their needs, and acting as a strategic partner rather than being bogged down with the technical details of implementation.
Competitive Edge: Offering a wide range of services under one umbrella can give your agency a competitive edge in you market. It allows you to be a one-stop-shop for your clients, increasing client retention and attracting new business.
When you compare the three options we’ve outlined, there really is no question that a white label partner is the best solution for any agency that needs to scale but feels impeded by scope. Upon activating your partnership, your agency becomes truly unleashed to deliver at a higher level and land and expand new business - all backed by the confidence that there are experts ready to deliver on your campaigns for your clients.
How to Find the Right White Label Partner for Your Agency
Not all white label digital marketing partners are the same, and you shouldn’t automatically join forces with the first one you encounter. Take the time to vet a few different white label digital marketing agencies to determine which one fits best with your existing operations.
As you’re considering your options here are some factors to keep in mind:
Can the partner meet your needs? Clarify what services you want to offer, the target markets, budget constraints, and any specific technology or skill requirements.
Does the partner have the expertise and experience you’re looking for? Ask to speak with members of their team that specialize in services you’re interested in, look at their case studies, and request a demo with them to learn as much as you can about their capabilities.
Where does the partner source their work? Is their work offshored or outsourced to another provider after you sign with them?
Is the partner compatible with your brand? Consider whether the partner's style, culture, and approach align with your brand values and the way you want to work.
How do they communicate? Communication matters as much as performance. Ask them about how they handle communication between their team and your agency.
Can they maintain confidentiality? You may not want to have your partnership disclosed. Ask them what steps they take to maintain confidentiality and if they’re willing sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if you want an extra layer of assurance.
Are they scalable? Consider whether the partner can scale their services up or down to match your growth and adapt to changes in demand.
Can I afford their work? Ask them for a quote or estimate for how much their partnership would cost you to maintain to determine whether it’s the right fit for your agency.
These questions are examples of ones you can use to gauge the right white label for your agency. You can also develop questions that relate directly to your specific business model to determine if the potential partner is the right fit from a process, tech, or performance standpoint to determine whether or not you want to move forward.
Work with the Elite White Label Partner for North American Agencies
At Conduit Digital, we’re the proud partner of some of the highest-performing ad agencies in all of North America. With 17 channels provided to your agency through a single solution, all implemented 100% in the U.S., you can confidently say “yes” to better opportunities without worrying about limitations on in-house scope or expertise.
To learn more about how you can overcome scope challenges at your agency with a Conduit Agency Partnership, let’s talk.