“What experience do you have in our industry?”
We hear this question a lot – and we get it. When thinking about your web or marketing project, you want to be absolutely certain that the agency you hire can effectively deliver the final product you’re envisioning. You want their team members to feel like an extension of your own crew. At the end of the day, you want results. While it’s easy to think that a niche agency would be best equipped to do this, we are (naturally) inclined to disagree.
When a Niche Agency Makes Sense
To be sure, there are times when going with an industry-specific agency makes sense. An agency that focuses on a single market will have existing familiarity with the industry, as well as streamlined processes from reps with companies just like yours. This exposure lessens the learning curve and creates a more time-efficient approach. The agency may also have certain tools and templates it can reuse, further decreasing production time. Plus, you get the assurance that the agency has already delivered exactly the type of results you’re looking for.
Times when it makes sense: you’re on a tight deadline that will require efficiency over creativity, you are concerned that a non niche agency won’t be able deliver, you value tradition over innovation, or you don’t have the time to invest in onboarding a collaborative agency team.
Why a Non-Niche Agency is Actually What You Need
In most cases, however, the drawbacks of a niche agency can outweigh the benefits. For any creative team, doing the same thing day in and day out is uninspiring at best. Becoming comfortable with a standardized formula may be great for an agency’s efficiency, but it’s also more likely to stifle the team members’ ability – and desire – to innovate. Recycled processes naturally lead to cookie-cutter results that aren’t a reflection of the talent and innovation available to you in an experienced agency team.
Even more, does your brand have a plan to stand out? An agency focused on a specific vertical is much more likely to be working with your competitors. While any team worth their salt won’t just copy and paste their past work, it will increasingly become more of a challenge to continue creating truly innovative and unique work for each client. If you’re looking for a product that is best-in-class, there’s no way an agency that’s building for your competitors can deliver that every time.
If you’re looking to lead the way as an innovative organization, working with an agency that can develop custom solutions will help you push the envelope rather than blend in with the crowd.
Seeing With Fresh Eyes
When we begin the process of learning about your needs, we start with learning about YOU. We believe that your brand’s people and story — not your industry — create the foundation for your business. With this perspective as our starting point, our team approaches every new project with fresh eyes and a desire to learn as much as humanly possible. While we may not start out knowing every single detail of your company, our dedication to learning equips us to quickly become experts just like you.
Liz Wiseman explains this idea in her book Rookie Smarts. “Sometimes not knowing is more valuable than knowing. A certain genius gets sparked in our rookie state and a learner’s advantage kicks in.” With the right mindset, anyone facing a new undertaking might actually be at their best when stretched beyond their current knowledge.
Wizeman further explains that there’s a point when experience can actually become a hindrance. “When the world is changing quickly, experience can become a curse, trapping us in old ways of doing and knowing, while inexperience can be a blessing, freeing us to improvise and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.”
Currently, there is no arena more fluid than the digital world. From one day to the next, the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Priorities, principles, and trends are continually redefined and reshaped. In our resolve to never say “well that’s just how we’ve always done it,” we are relentlessly committed to learning. This allows us to always put our best foot forward when taking on new challenges – including your project, brand, and industry.
“We believe that your brand’s people and story – not your industry – create the foundation for your business.”
At times, we may have worked with a company in your industry before (you can see some of our past work here), but this doesn’t mean we already know everything we need to about your company. Instead, every project feels new and exciting. Our eagerness to take on a new brand causes us to ask more questions, which leads to better conversation and, ultimately, a better understanding of what you need.
When you set out to create something as important as your website or marketing strategy, you are truly creating an extension of your business. These aspects of your brand need to be firmly grounded in your voice and image. The last thing you want is a generic product that could easily belong to any of your competitors. However, many niche agencies that get comfortable creating the same thing time and time again end up delivering just that.
Conversely, agencies working with a wide range of brands and industries don’t rely on anything that they have previously built. A website designed for a pharmaceutical company isn’t going to work for a clothing brand, so something entirely new must be made. This leads to non-niche agencies having a stronger ability to start from scratch and create something designed specifically for each brand they work with.
At HMG, we start by getting to know the ins and outs of your business. Then, we begin crafting a plan that is perfectly tailored to your brand, and your brand alone. Instead of running on autopilot and duplicating an existing process, we incorporate every one of your project’s technical and artistic decisions into the creative process. We solve every problem with a customized solution – building something that truly works for you, not just for everyone else.
Because we choose to work in this way, we don’t do things like select a CMS for your site because that’s what we usually use. Nor do we push you to take a certain approach on something because your competitors have done it. Every single decision in a project is made with your specific needs in mind. This method allows us to create work that perfectly represents your brand and deliver results that help you stand out from the competition.
Experience From Diversity
More often than not, prospective clients want to know if an agency has experience in their particular industry. While this question makes sense on the surface, we think it’s a bit shortsighted. Hiring an agency means bringing on a multidisciplinary team of experts to complement the capabilities of your internal marketing team. You can always count on an agency’s members being experts in their speciality – whether that’s design, branding, marketing, etc.
To provide the utmost value for your team, these team members dedicate themselves to continually expanding their specific expertise. They study new trends and integrate their knowledge into new projects. This range of experience helps them figure out how their skillset can be best applied across a variety of industries.
Every new opportunity for a specialist also presents new challenges. Solving complex problems takes critical thinking and a unique approach. This results in deeper knowledge and a multi-faceted understanding of one’s craft. Conversely, agencies that stay in one lane don’t encounter the diversity of challenges that broader agencies do. Ultimately, these types of agencies may excel in times of smooth-sailing but might be less equipped to proactively navigate challenges.
Consider, then, what type of “experience” will be most valuable to your organization. Are you looking for more reps, or versatility?
You’re Already an Expert. So Are We.
Regardless of whether an agency is industry-specific or not, their aim should be to help you present your brand and ideas as strongly as possible. Their goal is not to make you look like you fit the industry standard. While that may offer you some initial comfort, it will make it increasingly difficult for you to convince your potential customers that you have something to offer that your competitors do not.
You are already an expert in your industry. And we are experts at our craft. Our goal is to offer you personalized service throughout every step of your journey. So let your competitors have the matching manicured lawns — we’ll make sure yours is the one people slow down to look at. Send us a message to get your tailor-made project up and running!