In 2016, there were over 13,300 marketing agencies in the United States alone. These agencies are expected to generate over $45 billion in 2020. Many of these companies focus on standard services like web design, lead generation and digital marketing. However, due to high competition, niche agencies are sprouting up in the industry. These are agencies that focus on very specific services or types of clientele.
Here's a look at how the niche agency business model began, the benefits of working with one, and how technology is revolutionizing the agency industry as a whole.
How niche marketing agencies came to be
Marketing agencies have commonly offered generic services, which has oversaturated the market. A quick Google search will show you that there is no shortage of web design or consulting businesses, for example. Larger companies claim to be able to do everything, and even if it's true, it makes standing out difficult.
This obstacle gave life to the niche agency model, or a company that focuses on a very specific problem, service or type of customer. Let's say that, instead of just offering web design, the agency creates e-commerce stores for fashion brands. Laser focus like this instantly separates an agency from the crowd, allows it to master one service and reduces its competition.
The benefits of a niche agency for brands
An agency that specializes in an exact niche has more knowledge and expertise for that market than a standard agency. This means that it better understands a specific brand's goals and struggles, as it's developed its company around them. Its services, whether they be app development or content creation, are designed to serve a highly targeted customer base.
Niche agencies can also provide consulting that other companies can't. This is because they have a deeper insight into the market, working in it themselves and with other prospects. Brands won't receive general advice, but rather very detailed steps, tactics and approaches they can take to surpass their competition.
Examples of niche agencies
Niche marketing agencies target very specific demographics, markets and services. Think millennials, blockchain or YouTube-only video marketing.
Take The Raiders for example. It's an Australian marketing agency that caters to the millennial age group. The Raiders focuses on performing youth research to determine the latest trends and opportunities for marketing to a younger generation. Companies with products or services for this demographic can partner up with The Raiders to improve their campaigns and strategies.
Vertical niche agencies like The Blockchain Marketing Agency (TBCMA) are also as literal as it gets. TBCMA helps blockchain companies improve their digital presence through content marketing, paid ads and other services. It targets blockchain businesses that are in the process of launching an ICO or already have. Its target market is very defined, allowing it to become an authority as one of the first and only agencies in this area.
An example of an agency that focuses purely on social media is Marketing Hy. Many marketing firms offer social media services secondary to others, but this company makes that its sole function.
How technology is affecting the agency industry
Every industry has trends and influences, and agencies are no different. One of the biggest ways the traditional agency business is changing is with big data. Collecting detailed information on clients is helping agencies improve their prospecting and retargeting. It is also helping agencies create opportunities to target different segments and identify opportunities before their competition does. Big data itself is estimated to generate $210 billion by 2020.
Automation and artificial intelligence are other trending technologies impacting marketing agencies. Automating lead generation, payments and other activities is making the average agency much more productive. They are able to segment their clientele and send them down predefined funnels tailored to their demographics or behaviors. Automated customer relationship management tools, such as Infusionsoft, are one way agencies accomplish this.
One of the most common implementations of artificial intelligence is through the use of chatbots. AI bots help marketers collect contact information, provide resources and interact with users. Furthermore, they can add a humanlike element to websites when customer service isn't available. Chatbots can refer leads to Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps where they can make contact as well.
Moving forward, we will see more agencies double down on their strengths and narrow their focus. Fewer companies will brand themselves as generic firms, and their services will have more specific focus. Exact demographics, verticals or services will become the priority instead of casting a wide net. For brands, working with an agency that is highly focused on your niche can provide many benefits as well, including deeper insight into your industry and more market-specific strategies.