3 Awesome Analogies That Explain Specialist vs Full-Service Agencies

There is something special about working with a long-term partner. Your AOR is a brand steward, and is integral to your company’s strategy; but gone are the glory days when one agency could deliver every client’s marketing needs.

We’ve written a lot of blog posts comparing the benefits of specialist agencies to full-service agencies–here are three analogies to help you understand the difference between the two:

Analogy 1: Walmart Superstore vs. Specialty Store

Walmart is a one-stop shop for most people because of convenience and affordability. They’ve got food, car repair, gardening, pets, pharmacy, toys... oh, and food. While there are benefits to shopping for everything all in one place, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

Wally World offers some decent products, but they can’t provide the same quality items and intimate, hands-on approach that specialty stores can–the Finish Line sales associate helps you find the best pair of running shoes for your foot type, while Walmart employees can only greet you at the door.

Analogy 2: General Practitioner vs. Specialist Doctors

General practitioners are trained to diagnose and treat patients of any age, race, and gender, and we benefit from these doctors when we have general health issues and concerns.

While we all appreciate the enormous breadth of knowledge that a GP has in various areas, if you have a condition that warrants more intensive care, you’re going to want to be referred to a specialist. You wouldn’t go to a GP for a torn ACL, the same way you wouldn’t go to your orthopedic surgeon for a cold.

Analogy 3: Handyman vs. Licensed Specialist

A reputable handyman can fix your door hinge, paint your garage, and repair your deck, but there are some projects an “Odd Job Bob” may not be licensed to do. Specialized trades like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC require a professional who is well-versed with touching circuit boxes or changing lines.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Bottom line: there’s no right or wrong answer. Some brands prefer a one-stop shop that can offer collaboration throughout the entire integrated campaign, while others may hire specialist agencies that offer unique vantage points and ideas within a specific marketing discipline. If you are considering hiring a specialist, drop us a line!