Is a Full-Service Agency Necessary to Launch a Consumer Product?

We are launching a new consumer product with a limited marketing budget, do we really need a full-service agency to support us?


By Jim Sweeney

Yes… No… Probably not… Maybe not… I have no idea.

According to “A full-service agency is one that handles all aspects of the advertising process, including planning, design, production and placement. Today, full-service generally suggests that the agency also handles other aspects of marketing communications such as public relations, sales promotion, Internet and direct marketing.”

For me, “full-service” also implies that the agency provides essential research and strategic planning capabilities on the front-end as well as multiple execution services to help implement campaigns on the back-end.

The beauty of the full-service agency is it theoretically does not have a bias toward any one strategic solution (e.g., if I am a social media agency, then my solution to every problem is social media, but if I am a full-service agency, I am looking for the best solution overall).

Assuming you’ve already done all the necessary research and strategic planning, you have a launch plan and you know precisely what marketing services you need to contract (e.g. you need a PR agency to help you mount a targeted publicity and media relations campaign), then the answer is no, you do not need a full-service agency; you can hire a PR firm or a full-service agency with PR capabilities.

If you are not looking for an objective assessment of your marketing plan and you are not looking for alternate ideas or strategies to achieve your objectives within your budget limitations, then the answer is once again no.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.