When people think of the acronym SaaS, they tend to think first of the words “Software as a Service”. Increasingly, though, marketing agencies are using the term to represent “Strategy as a Service”.
Rather than focusing on the separate components of a company’s marketing in disjointed isolation (delegating website design to one agency, for instance, and SEO to another), a full agency service places all your needs ‘under one roof’.
The bedrock of any reputable full-service marketing agency is its ability to define and execute a well-rounded marketing strategy. Luckily for you, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about today – the (many) benefits of Strategy as a Service.
1. Strategy as a Service Appeals to Both the Agency and the Client
One of the most obvious benefits of providing Strategy as a Service is meeting everyone’s needs. On the agency’s part, it offers precisely that – agency! Working from the strategy upwards enables agencies control on both macro and micro levels of marketing – rather than working with what’s already there.
Every variable, asset and factor can be determined in a way that’s been deemed best by the agency. In other words, it offers agencies the greatest autonomy over marketing projects, both in the shorter and longer terms. In turn, this enables greater alignment with the client’s company and its progress as a whole.
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The Boat Analogy
A good way of thinking of it is as a boat on the ocean; the agency that doesn’t offer Strategy as a Service is left to come in and, more often than not, try and patch up holes on a leaky vessel. It can do the job (to an extent) but it’s a reactionary approach lacking any kind of real thrust forwards. You’re trying to focus on simply getting the boat back afloat rather than steaming off towards the newer, better climes that you want it to. Does it leave you able to survive and keep going? Yes. But thrive? Not necessarily.
However, the agency that provides Strategy as a Service typically gets onboard (no pun intended) with the client much earlier. In fact, it gets to draft the ship’s entire blueprint and design it the way it wants to, for both optimal efficiency and results. It might take a little more time to get going, initially, but once that groundwork has been laid, then you can go full steam ahead.
From the client’s perspective, an agency offering Strategy as a Service is appealing because it saves time, effort, and money. Utilising an agency that specialises in online marketing strategy research makes it far easier for the client to check on progress and be part of the strategy-making itself. The alternative? Checking in on the progress of many separate agencies, being frustrated by how they never quite seem to get on the same page.
The former doesn’t just lend itself to revamped marketing results – after all, nobody knows the client’s business better than they do – but it also often leads to far longer-lasting business relationships. Suppose the client feels their input is genuinely valuable and that their ideas help shape strategy. In that case, they’re far likelier to sustain that relationship than they would otherwise.
Cost-wise, Strategy as a Service offers the most fiscal efficiency; using individual agencies for each separate marketing component might each individually be cheaper than using a full-service agency. Collectively, however, they’ll almost always be more expensive than the full offering.
Strategy as a Service streamlines this further as a clearly defined approach ensures the leanest spend whilst guaranteeing better results. That’s because everything can be more meticulously planned, optimising overall efficiency, and you’ll get better conversion rates than you would by simply rushing into your marketing.
2. Strategy-Led Thinking Garners Greater Long-Term Results
The nature of the digital landscape is far removed from what it once was. Rather than focusing on individual projects or one-off campaigns, businesses today put a more nuanced focus on continuity and brand evolution; in other words, on so-called “bigger picture” thinking.
Nowadays, it’s simply not enough for an agency to develop a pithy one-line product slogan or a nice, glossy online PDF brochure.
Instead, companies want to see how agencies can drive their profits and brand forwards, not just over days or weeks but also over months or years. That’s not to say that individual projects and more granular work doesn’t still have their place – far from it.
Instead, with Strategy as a Service, they fall under the scope of a broader, more holistic strategy; approaching them with this bird’s-eye method facilitates greater interconnectedness between different campaigns and greater forward brand momentum overall.
3. Strategy as a Service is Like Formulating the Perfect Recipe
If you’re a budding cook or baker, then you’ll know the importance of the following; using the right quantities of ingredients, adding them in the correct order and the duration for which to cook/bake. And indeed, successful marketing requires much the same approach; resource allocation is essential, for instance – how much of your budget you put towards SEO compared to PPC, for example, or weighing up whether email marketing would be more beneficial than influencer marketing.
'A' Comes Before 'B', Which Comes Before 'C'
Then there comes the order to apply your marketing processes and services. For instance, it’s all very well shouting from the rooftops through the form of advertising (whether organic or paid) and clamouring that people should visit your website, but if the website isn’t up to scratch when they land on it, then it counts for very little.
This is the epitome of inefficiency and wasted effort; a poorly structured website, or one that’s aesthetically unappealing, is going to have people bouncing off it almost straight away. In this way, then, you can see the importance of going about your marketing in the right way.
Someone very wise once said that “it’s about working smartr not harder”. That’s certainly very true when it comes to marketing. If you have strong foundations; a solid, well-optimised and appealing website, you can branch out from there. If you’re looking to improve your website quickly, read our previous blog featuring tips to improve your website’s user experience!
Knowing When to Start a Campaign (and When to Stop it)
The best marketing campaigns (and everything contained within) know which times to run. However, what’s arguably more important is that they know when they’ve overstayed their welcome. A business should always be looking to innovate and strive for the next proactive step they can be taken; generally speaking, you’ll start to see diminishing returns on a marketing campaign after about three months.
Strategy-led work is beneficial as you can plan several campaigns at once. This means that you’ve got something to move onto straight away without having to rely on a no-longer-performing campaign. This looks better from an external perspective, too. If a brand has significant marketing ‘downtime’ between their major campaigns, then any momentum generated by previous campaigns can quickly fizzle out.
Planning Makes Perfect
You’ve no doubt heard of the saying “practice makes perfect”? Well, in the case of marketing, we might more accurately say that “planning makes perfect”. Starting with strategy creation enables you to go about your marketing in a considered, methodical and logical manner. Everything is done in the appropriate amounts, at the right time and for the most beneficial duration. A well-thought-out strategy also features contingency and puts you in a position to adapt should you so need to.
4. There is No One, Single Online Marketing Strategy Template
Whilst there are similarities and shared traits between many marketing strategies, there’s no getting away from the fact that each marketing strategy is unique to the business in question. A cookie-cutter approach, therefore, will only ever get you so far.
Whether it be the services offered, the scale at which it provides, or any other number of factors, businesses aren’t homogenous, nor should they be treated as such. That’s why Strategy as a Service is undoubtedly such a good idea for most businesses, particularly for small businesses. These companies display more variety than most, so curating optimal online strategies for small businesses is even more important.
Strategy as a Service is ideal because it works around the principle of creating a bespoke plan designed to work seamlessly around a company and its business model, rather than trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole, so to speak. In fact, the more online marketing strategy research you carry out, the more you’ll be amazed at how comparatively few agencies offer this service.
Beware the Allure of 'Quick Results' Rather Than Strategy-Driven Processes...
Seeing agencies offer ‘instantaneous results’ is almost always a big red flag. It indicates that they’re not taking the time to learn a client’s company or put together something especially for them. They’ll more likely be offering a generic marketing template that superficially offers attractive results, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to conversions or ROI.
A good example of this would be with PPC (pay-per-click advertising) – an agency might well get you lots of clicks, with eye-wateringly appealing figures, but look beyond that, and you’ll see that very often that doesn’t equate to conversions, simply traffic. It becomes a question of quantity over quality.
In most cases, the whole point of advertising is to lead to conversions. So, if you’re not getting those, then it doesn’t matter how many ‘clicks’ you’re getting. Remember that, in the field of marketing, if it sounds too good to be true, then it virtually always is!
A good marketing strategy is the foundation of any business success in today’s saturated business world. Fortunately, we’re here to help out with exactly that! So, if you’ve been searching for online marketing strategies for small businesses or startups, then look no further! Contact us today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on +44 2080 902131. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our super straightforward contact forms!
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A marketing strategy is a detailed plan in which processes and plans (both on a macro and micro level) are laid out, relating to a brand’s overall marketing progress over a certain period of time. A marketing strategy is usually broader in scope than a singular marketing campaign. It typically steers a brand’s overall direction rather than any one process, in particular.
It often contains information and plans relating to website design, SEO, social media presence and branding ideas. These strategies also include brand visions, mission statements and desired tone of voice in any marketing materials.
How long is a piece of string! There’s no absolute minimum or maximum length that a marketing strategy should work towards. However, as we discussed in the article, these strategies tend to be about longer-term thinking, so most strategies will be established around a minimum timeframe of 6 months, with the longest marketing strategies being open-ended and ongoing.
Regardless of your business/company size, curating a marketing strategy is a good idea. If nothing else, it offers clarity and direction and will usually drastically improve your company’s brand momentum.