No joke, I just spent an hour looking for web design work on the largest marketing agencies in Minneapolis. Because a lot of these agencies focus on paid ads, television commercials, and much larger ‘integrated marketing campaigns,’ there is a lack of focus on great web UI, front-end development, and well laid out and dynamic websites.
This is really not to neg on big marketing agency, but to extol specialization. With the exception of a few brilliant top end Minneapolis marketing agencies like Periscope, Space 150, Colle + Mcvoy and Go Kart Labs there are alot of traditional marketing agencies who serve up websites without a real focus on digital.
Specialization is what leads companies to be the experts in paid search marketing, or television commercials in the first place.
The experts in something mean they aren’t the experts in everything. Yes you could have 12 big departments where the experts congregate for each of the distinct niches and disciplines… I think it’s significantly harder to get the right people in the room and get them moving in the same direction in a case like that. Thus, in the case of Minneapolis marketing agencies very few seem to be able to pull off the feat.
Now focusing on digital marketing specific agencies, the competition is much more fierce. Particularly when they don’t pretend to handle commercials, and print campaigns. That’s a beautiful thing – as digital marketing agencies, I don’t think we need to pretend to be experts in these traditional marketing campaigns. Where-as the big digital marketing agencies I perused seem to be trying to pretend they do digital very well. They always seem to have good-looking, well-crafted websites themselves, but digging into client website work the client websites start to look disjointed with a few pretty features on the surface. Going down to mobile stuff falls apart half of the time.
I can’t say the same for your cities traditional agencies, if you’re not in Minneapolis, but try poking around on the client sites themself, not just the portfolio feature on the agencies website.
Traditional marketing agencies featuring website designs but not linking to the site.
That, to me is a sign.
Watch for companies that are featuring work where theres a big billboard looking home page, but the rest of the site is not featured as much in their portfolio. The real test of a website is all of the internal templates. Website design these days has to cater to all of the people who are landing on the internal pages from search engines, not just presenting something pretty on the first page. Digital specific agencies know this, and their focus on websites alone, and surrounding disciplines allows them to spend the time on these internal pages and optimize them for conversion as well.
This extra time and focus being spent here instead of the other elements of campaigns like billboards, P.R., TV commercials and print materials allow digital niche agencies to do more and create better websites. With only a handful of exceptions in the Minneapolis market, this seems to ring true. Most traditional agencies should partner with digital specific agencies if they want the best result for their clients.