The Pros and Cons of Working with an 'In-Industry' Marketing Agency

       8 min read

The riches are in the niches. Have you heard this cliche? It's often used when talking about entrepreneurs. It has also helped many marketing agencies focus on one or two specific industries. But is it the right decision for your brand looking for an agency to work with?

When a marketing agency focuses in on one particular industry and becomes a sought-after expert in that niche, they’re often pretty successful.

You’ve most likely run across this as you’re looking for a marketing partner to help your brand grow. 

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Or maybe you’ve seen an ad in your LinkedIn or Facebook feed from some niche-focused agency pitching its services to your industry. 

You could be wondering, “Should we work with this specialized marketing agency? They seem like they really get our industry.”

Sure, an “in industry” type marketing agency could be a great partner for you. A partner who deeply understands your world, your competitors and your customers likely has insights which could help draw leads and clients to you. 

They could also have the same exact playbook for every other brand in your space. 🤷

What are the pros and cons of working with a marketing agency that “specializes” in your industry?

Pros to Working with an 'In-Industry' Type of Marketing Agency

1) Deep industry expertise.

When your marketing agency works exclusively in your industry, you can bet they’ll know what you need, who your ideal buyers are and how to reach them. 

A deep industry expertise will help you feel like you’re in good hands with someone who “gets you.” 

Whether you’re the top brass at the company or a marketing manager, working with an industry expert can help you sleep at night and focus on the other aspects of your job. It’s like working with an in-house team because they understand so well.

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2) Short “training” time. 

Another benefit to an industry expert level marketing agency is that your training time to bring them on and coach them on your industry is greatly reduced. Because they “get it,” you won’t have to spend as much time getting the project off the ground. 

Less time training leads more time creating and working!

3) Ease of communication. 

When an agency understands your industry, they understand your lingo. This means you may spend less time explaining the acronyms and communication nuances involved in your niche.

When they know your jargon, you don’t have to clarify as much.

Cons to Working with an 'In-Industry' Type of Marketing Agency

1) Copycat tactics and strategies. 

“Hey it worked for this client in the same industry as you, so let’s do it for you.” 

Doing something the same way as you’ve done it before creates a stale strategy. When you work with an in-industry expert who only knows your industry, you may face the danger of them using the exact same strategy or tactics and tools as everyone else. 

What will differentiate you in the space? 

2) Copycat content. 

In addition to using the same playbook, an in-industry marketing agency may end up using the same content book. When an agency works exclusively with a specific niche, they tend to speak the same language, which can lead to copycat content. 

For instance, if an agency works only with real estate agents, they could create the same “How to Buy Your First Home” infographic for each client, changing only the brand feel. 

Not only is copycat content bad for SEO, it simply makes your brand feel very much like the next brand in your industry. You want to stand out, not fade into the trap of sameness.

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3) Lack of fresh perspective. 

Keeping with the jargon thread, while it was a pro above that they understand your industry language, it can also be a hindrance. Much has been written about why jargon is bad for business. The short story is that it creates confusing shortcuts and eliminates your authentic story.

Instead of working with someone more likely to use all the same jargon as everyone else in your industry, when you work with a marketing agency less-steeped in your world, you’ll get a fresh perspective.

By bringing new perspectives to the table, agency marketers are able to offer a fresh perspective to most marketing initiatives. This is especially beneficial for companies who are looking to improve upon their existing marketing tactics, as an agency can present a new and different approach to help ensure more positive results.

4) Lack of cross-industry expertise. 

Cross-pollination is something we’ve covered on the Wayfinding Growth podcast a few times. Remington, our co-founder and CEO, loves to look for fresh new ideas for us and our clients by exploring unrelated industries. 

A manufacturing company may find an amazing idea from a hospitality brand. Or a travel brand might learn something from an innovative kindergarten teacher.

Marketing agencies that get to work with such a wide range of clients become experts in marketing for many different industries and bring you new, fresh ideas. 

They already possess the insight into what has and hasn’t worked in the past for competitors and other industry professionals, and they understand the current industry climate. In short, cross-industry experience brings a ton of value.

5) Working with the competition? 

A limited customer base means they’re probably working with your competition. While that’s not always a bad thing, it probably gives you an unsettling feeling at best. 

An agency not focused on your industry could still end up working with your competition, but if they’re an in-industry agency, the chances are much higher. After all, isn’t everyone in that industry naturally your competition?

Of course, a quality agency won’t cross reference competitors and share what they’re doing with each other. But this goes back to the point above that if they’re working with your competition, they’re much more likely to follow a similar path with one client that worked as the next client. 

You don’t want to do what your competition has already done. 

The Decision is Yours

The bottom line when it comes to the kind of marketing agency you want to work with is who it is you’re most comfortable with. 

If you want an agency that so totally knows your world they could practically start their own business like yours, and you want to feel like the agency is part of your in-house team with their deep expertise, then you may be more comfortable with an in-industry type partner. 

We would just suggest that you keep the possible cons in mind and encourage your agency to help you differentiate your brand.

On the other hand, you may want to work with an agency with work in multiple industries. Great! Just keep in mind that it may take a little time to get to know and trust each other. You can help foster that relationship by teaching them all about you, your brand and your industry.

It all comes down to working with the marketing agency that best fits your brand. Who do you trust? How do you measure that trust and the eventual results? 

Put this all to work to launch your next marketing adventure with confidence! 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, marketing agency

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