These days, marketing requires brands to be highly responsive and integrated in their approach, able to generate the perfect social post at the perfect time or to push updates to their software on a daily and hourly basis. This challenge, among other factors, has driven an increasing number of consumer brands to shift their marketing budget from contracting with a constellation of agencies toward establishing an in-house brand strategy and creative arm. With everyone under one roof, the thinking goes, marketing projects can not only be executed more quickly but in a more integrated and strategic manner.
If you have struggled in the past with agencies that just don’t get it—missing the essence of your business, communicating poorly, selling you new projects without really listening to what you need—such an approach may sound incredibly appealing. Wouldn’t it be easier just to have your own team, working exclusively for you, in sync with the rest of the company and with no competing loyalties? Couldn’t you save some headaches and just do better work that way?
Is In-House Achievable?
Though the creative half of our firm could be considered an “agency”, you’ll get no argument from MarketPlace over whether an integrated marketing team is a valuable thing. We’re all for that and always have been, reflecting our founders’ roots in the food business world.
However, an in-house agency isn’t feasible for many mid-size companies or smaller business divisions within a larger community. Hiring a team, from directors to designers and developers, will take a large bite out of your staffing budget, and that’s before you get to overhead costs like space and software licensing. Furthermore, corporate brands are not always well-positioned culturally and operationally to compete with traditional agencies for creative talent. A poorly executed and under-resourced in-house agency won’t be positioned to give your company the world-class benefits of an integrated brand and marketing team.
An Integrated Partner
If an in-house agency isn’t the best option, what can you do to ensure your brand can still execute its creative needs in an integrated manner?
This is where an integrated partner like MarketPlace can step in. Over the last 18 years, we’ve built our business to meet this exact need in an agile and specialized way. Because our roots lie in business consulting rather than the agency world, we have insisted on integrated marketing from day one. Rather than beginning with how we can creatively execute your projects, we always begin with strategy and a thorough understanding of three distinct industries: food + beverage, pet + animal, and health + wellness. We define strategy not so much as a set of abstract principles or deliverables, but rather as a pattern that emerges in a stream of good decisions. Strategy is a dynamic thing; it’s intelligently adjusting plans and deliverables in real-time—in light of fluctuating markets and situations—to achieve your fixed goals.
At the start of your relationship with MarketPlace, we’ll embark on a consulting phase. Our team will gather critical information and KPIs from your team, sometimes through a series of ideation sessions. This helps us connect your goals and offerings to key market opportunities and towards endearing them to your customers. This stage establishes the strategy from which we will work—not as an unbreakable code, but as a guiding light for future work. We then move into the Brand Formulation phase, in which creative work begins to be produced from the redeveloped brand and rethought brand strategy. Though strategy is critical in the upfront stages of a brand development project, it is not relegated to the first phase, but continues to inform our work (and may even be revised) throughout our relationship with you.
What’s more, when you work with us, you won’t be talking to a disconnected account manager whose job is to sell you more work—you’ll speak directly to your creative team, a designated Brand Strategist and Creative Director assigned to your company. These two key staff work together closely as a team to make sure that decisions always track toward your business goals and align with the whole of your marketing strategy. That structure, and our consulting DNA, allows us to work with you as an integrated partner and an extension of your team.
In short, at MarketPlace we see ourselves—and we hope you’ll come to see us too—as the in-house agency you need to grow your brand in a fast-moving and complex world. For more on how we can help you execute a truly integrated marketing strategy, please, get in touch.