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What is a marketing agency?

A marketing agency is a company in charge of the communication between an organization and the market. They launch campaigns dedicated to their customers to make their brand or business known, generate value to outstanding in the market, and attract more consumers. Of course, the aim of carrying out marketing actions is to increase sales. These companies can also advise others about marketing strategies and function as consulting companies. 

Within the industry to which marketing agencies belong, we can find different types that are classified depending on the actions carried out, the channels used for communication, and the goals they want to achieve. 

Before we start explaining what agency carries out what type of action, we want to highlight that this market varies constantly because the limits that define each category are very thin and it’s very common for agencies to combine actions belonging to different strategies to provide more services and reach new markets. Having said that, below, we will describe what action is carried out by which type of agency. 


Main problems

From our experience working with marketing agencies, we could recognize the existence of key problems that bring about other problems within companies. All of them need to be studied thoroughly to find a definite solution. 

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Not having processes to organize the structure of a marketing agency (from processes that establish how to approach customers to processes establishing how sales will be carried out, going through all those that make up the company) is the most important problem that these companies face and it's also the problem that brings about all others. 

In general, marketing agencies begin with a single person that is the owner and, then, becomes the CEO of the company and is who manages the marketing of a single company or business with simple actions such as managing the social media of that company. As time goes by, more actions are carried out and the company that only had one person managing social media, now has five people that also manage the integral positioning of brands and design campaigns from beginning to end. Of course, this happens over time and the marketing agency owner doesn't stop to see how the company is growing, although it's a normal process, it also results in organization and planning problems. 

The problem of not having processes or predictability that allow you to have a scalable vision of the business is avoidable but we also have to recognize that it happens in most companies. If you deal with this on time, you'll avoid many problems in the future. 

As a result of the previous problem, we find the organizational problem that most marketing agencies face. Not having a structure with clear objectives favors disorganization in the company because it doesn't have a clear direction to go. 

Not defining roles (which is also directly related to the lack of processes that organize the agency) is a problem related to the lack of organization since if it's not clear the role of each person it'll be impossible to have actions organized, measure time, and organize the communication among areas and the actions that involve employees' performance.


By not having a structure or organization that allows aligning actions to reach an objective, a plan was never designed to do so, and if it was designed, it has hardly been fulfilled.

Lack of planning emerges and has an influence on several actions:

  • It results in work overload in teams: by not having project planning and predictability, the company accepts customers that can't manage and teams are overloaded with work. 
  • Business predictability: if it's possible to invest (or not) in hiring more employees, organize teams differently, or take one project or the other. As there's no strategic planning, you have no idea about the budget that can be spent; this leads to spending more money and resources than is really needed without making a difference in the agency. 
  • It makes it difficult to measure deliverables: how can a company measure the deadlines of a project and, from there, make a quote if you don't know how many employees will take part in it, the tasks that will be carried out, and the times of each process? It's very likely that if you do all this without adequate planning, the result will be wrong and employees will have difficulties meeting the deadlines. 

Lack of planning, together with lack of organization, is a problem that has to be dealt with quickly since it involves key assets of marketing agencies; many times, because of underestimating these steps that constitute the solid structure of the company, you end up wasting more than what you gain. 

Lack of organization, strategies, and planning doesn't allow roles to be well-defined. Process management in a company defines roles and not having adequate management results in the opposite: not knowing the role of each person. 

Role overlap produces:

  • that two or more employees work on the same task;
  • that idle time between projects is not used;
  • that the company hires people that are not needed; 
  • that the people really needed are not hired; 
  • that the company's owner continues being a seller instead of having changed to a strategic position within the company in charge of tasks depending on a strategic role; 
  • that teams are overloaded with work because of lack of organization or because of the customers taken by the CEO of the company since he/she doesn't take his/her strategic role and keeps believing he/she has to sell services.

Communication problems are very common in all companies. In the case of marketing agencies, and as a result of the three problems we've already mentioned, problems emerge at all levels: among areas and with customers. 

The areas of sales and operations don't know how to communicate because they haven't defined a collaborative work plan that explains their need to keep in touch. Each area works independently and this has the following consequences: 

  • Work overload for the operations area produced by the sales area because it sells projects without knowing the process to carry them out and if it is possible to finish them. 
  • More work for less money for the operations area because the sales area promised the customer a project or a service for a particular price without the consent of the operations area which is in charge of developing it. 
  • Poor working environment and problems among employees; this affects the whole agency. 

There are also communication problems with customers because of not having defined the communication channel (at the beginning of the project) that would be used. Customers get in touch with the agency through any channel, at any time which results in lost messages (since members of the operations team don't have to be available 24/7) that, later, will impact the final project. For example: if a customer wanted to make a change on the project and the operations area didn't get the message at the right time, that message got lost, and the area wasn't able to even take into account what the customer requested. Closely related to the problem of lost messages, we can find the problem of reprocesses: when customers ask to make changes on the project constantly; this has an impact on profitability because the area has to work more than expected. 

How can you achieve customer satisfaction if: projects are not delivered on time; you don't meet customers' requests, messages are not replied to when the customer needs them; you can't set real deadlines or adequate prices for the project? After all these reasons, it's impossible to achieve customer satisfaction, of course. 

An unhappy customer will bring more problems and could also be a decisive factor for the company not to get new projects. 

Our analysis



Marketing agencies are divided into three groups: 

  • Traditional marketing agencies.
  • Digital marketing agencies.
  • Hybrid marketing agencies.

img_pillar EN_Marketing agencies

Traditional marketing agencies

These agencies seek to increase sales through different marketing agencies destined for people in general as opposed to digital agencies that segment their recipients more specifically. 

The actions implemented by these agencies are:

  • Management of in-person events for companies. 
  • Advertisements on traditional media (radio, television, and graphic media).
  • Advertisements on the streets.
  • Leaflets.

Even though traditional marketing agencies still exist, in general, they have added digital actions (because of the context) so they became hybrid agencies (we will explain them later). 


Digital marketing agencies

Even though the pandemic accelerated the digitization of processes in the industries of the world, for some time now this tendency to turn into the virtual world is constant. Social media, the Instagram boom to show the products or services of a company, the emergence of e-commerce companies, and the general development generated by globalization have made marketing agencies more digital. Although we know that traditional marketing is still an important business in the industry, virtuality (thanks to the digitization of actions) is spreading throughout the market.  

Within digital marketing, we can find: 

Agencies that dedicate to branding: they base their projects on brand building (logo, website, colors, network positioning); social media management; photography, and video. All these actions are carried out in the digital field and contribute to the creation and position of brands in virtuality. 

Digital agencies that dedicate to performance marketing: even though they dedicate to implementing strategies related to that specialty, they also include branding actions. They depend on advertising campaigns to get results. They can dedicate themselves to inbound, to implement SEO actions that involve creating content to achieve organic positioning in search engines and they can even do outbound marketing: this is beneficial to those who want to position themselves quicker than with inbound strategies. In outbound, agencies create advertisements for different platforms, including social media, and Google, among others; these are paid actions. 


Hybrid marketing agencies

These agencies work with combined strategies of digital and traditional marketing. They create campaigns with branding and performance actions. We could say hybrid marketing agencies are the most complete agencies in the market since they deal with every action methodology. 

Apart from these three types of agencies, we should consider niche agencies. These agencies specialize in just one strategy and don't create integral digital or traditional marketing campaigns but they dedicate themselves to one action thoroughly; for example: SEO, event management, content creation, inbound, outbound, and social media management. The problem of working by niches is that the audience is reduced which makes the company not profitable in the long term; this is why they end up adding actions and becoming an agency from the other three types. 

img_pillar EN_Niche agencies

How is a marketing agency formed?

In general, a marketing agency is made up of a CEO who is in charge of the strategy of the agency, a sales area (where new customers are managed), and an operations area (that develops the projects that customers request and also manages repurchase actions). As we can see, we haven't mentioned the marketing area because in this sector, in case the company needs to do marketing for itself (we can call it institutional marketing), the employees that do it are the members of the operations area; the requests can come from the CEO, the sales team or the COO when this role is occupied. We can say that the same actions that are carried out for an external customer are also carried out for the company itself. 

From Drew, we consider that the roles that need to be filled with those characteristics are: 

In the sales area: a seller who is coordinated by the company's CEO. If the company is too big, there can be more than one seller and a CCO (Chief Commercial Officer), if necessary. In general, in agencies that have up to 50 employees, it's not necessary.

In the operations area: here, we must find a COO (Chief Operating Officer) who will be in charge of coordinating the team and we also have to find a project manager, also known as the "account executive": this person is the intermediary between the customers and the operations area. We can have more than one project manager depending on the number of projects and how the area is structured. 

In the operations team, there also must be people who carry out the projects; among those people, we can find: 

  • copywriters
  • graphic designers
  • paid media specialists
  • communities managers
  • SEO specialists
  • marketing advisers
  • translators
  • a person in charge of institutional relations 

In a marketing agency specializing in SEO, apart from the specialists previously mentioned, developers and programmers are hired to develop and optimize the website. There can be more or fewer specialists depending on what the agency is focused on: there may be a photographer or somebody in charge of making videos, for example. This is up to each company. 

The operations areas can work differently and it depends on how the company is organized. We also have to say that there may be a person from each specialty or the company can be divided into cells where each of them works with a particular number of projects, have a person in charge and the necessary number of specialists, depending on the needs of the project. 

In marketing agencies, in general, the company's owner is who manages customers at first; when the company grows, adds employees, is divided into areas, and manages more projects, this person occupies the position of the strategic director of the company and a new person must be hired to be the sales manager. 


Industry tendencies



Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more important in the marketing world. It allows us to predict consumers' behavior to carry out actions that optimize the money invested. 


Together with artificial intelligence, automation of daily tasks is a common trend in agencies. It's key to be able to understand the value that technology adds to marketing actions once the processes have been designed. 


Human-centric marketing
A trend that has become very important lately is hiring a person to be in charge of the purchase process. Buyers are no longer seen just as potential customers but the way to get to them is through building a long-term relationship with them.

How do we help at Drew?

Thanks to our  5-year experience working with marketing agencies from Latin America and Europe, we were able to recognize the problems we previously mentioned as the most common ones in this sector, although we know they are not the only ones.

The main mission of our company is to provide the necessary tools to solve the organizational needs of our customers. In most cases, solutions are focused on redefining the organizational structure and implementing the use of technology. We also find some companies that need to fix these problems separately: the organizational structure or the correct implementation of technology. 

Apart from these problems, the sector that marketing agencies belong to is guided by the trends imposed by the market, so it must also face the challenge of being in constant evolution and adaptation to avoid losing competitiveness. 

When an agency contacts Drew with a particular need, our company proposes to create primary instances of approaching it through meetings that allow us to know the organization and its way of working. From these meetings, we make a diagnosis with the main problems and needs we have identified and, then, once everything is checked with the company, we present a project to work on together, with goals and objectives that will allow us to see the improvement process. 

The solutions we suggest to marketing agencies, as we already mentioned, can be oriented to technology to improve the use of the digital tools that agencies already use and help them with a new tool, in case it's necessary. We can also suggest solutions directly related to the structural organization of the company. At Drew, we don't sell ready-made solutions but solutions adapted to each customer to be a connection between the business world and technology since we think all companies are different. 

After the improvement process we present is approved, we implement it through actions to restructure or formalize the deficient processes together with actions that allow us to make the most of the digital tools that the agency uses or starts to use (in case we decide to implement a new tool). It's important to highlight that the company has to use technological tools according to its needs to have good organizational management. This is why, at Drew, we also offer digital solutions through software that can be implemented from scratch or that can be combined with other tools already in use to achieve greater efficiency. 

Once we achieve correct management, we establish the roles that need to be occupied with the adequate seniority level, and, then, we focus on what task each employee will carry out.  In case the company needs it, we train employees so that the implementation of these changes is achieved smoothly and its impact is not high. 

At Drew, we know how challenging it is to be a technology-bound company that needs to be constantly adapting to changes; that's why we have become strategic allies of our customers, offering them the most complete tools to overcome that challenge and make them a competitive advantage to boost growth.