Market Ready Websites

“Full Service Agencies” Are a Myth

Multitasking is a myth. This is hard to believe for someone who believes they are a multitasker. Multitaskers are addicted to the lie that they are somehow more productive because they multitask. But the truth is that they simply don’t have the focus to be truly productive.

I believe the same thing is true for marketing agencies that believe that they are “full service” agencies. They are no more a “full service” than any one person can be a “webmaster.” It just isn’t possible.

A couple of weeks ago I had a realization that the quality of my LinkedIn network was bad. I decided to strip 400 connections from my network and replace them with people who fit my ideal prospect. I found my prospects on Facebook. I checked their business page for relevance and recent activity. From there, I would check their website.

Over the course of a week, I reviewed nearly 1000 marketing agency websites. Out of those, I eventually found about 300 great connections that I have since connected with on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn experience is 10,000 times better.

When I reviewed, the nearly 1000 marketing agency websites, I kept running into the same phrase:

“We are a Full Service Agency”

Many marketing agencies claim to be a full-service marketing agency on their website. I have a few questions:

  • What does full-service agency mean?
  • What exactly makes you a full-service agency?
  • Does your prospect really care?

When I would find a prospect, and see their website, the very next step was to connect with them on LinkedIn. Would you be surprised to know that 8 times out 10 that prospect was the only employee on LinkedIn for that full-service agency?

If this is you, I get it. I understand why you claim to be a full-service agency. You think that you should do this to attract clients. Don’t you think that if I can see through your malarkey that your prospective client is smart enough to see it as well? Maybe not.

I watched The Founder the other day. It is the story of Ray Kroc, the genius behind the success of McDonald’s. He had traveled to many drive-in diners to sell milkshake machines. His value proposition was that his milkshake machines could allow for faster service. These diners offered so many choices that it took forever to get served. His pitch was, “Increase Supply and Demand Will Follow.” Nobody bought it because nobody believed him.

In the movie, he checks into his office to find out that a diner has ordered 6 milkshake machines. He thinks there must be some mistake so he calls them up.  They agree that there was a mistake. Instead of 6 they now want 8 machines. Intrigued, he drives all the way to California to see why a diner would need 8 milkshake machines.

When he arrives, he sees a huge crowd waiting to order their food. He stands in line flanked by families ready to order. When he gets to the counter he is surprised when he is handed his food right away. It was unimaginable. He couldn’t believe it. He later finds out that by focusing on their top three products, McDonald’s could streamline their process and deliver extraordinary results. As we know this changed the food industry forever.

In his book, Built to Sell, John Warrillow tells the story of an agency that suffers from the typical struggles of many marketing agencies out there. They were trying to be a full-service agency. Because they provided services in so many different areas their team was made up of generalists and not specialists. Because of this, they were forced to take on projects they couldn’t really deliver and it caused many recurring cash flow issues.

The story goes on when the agency identifies the one good thing they are good at – logos. They reshaped their team into specialists who could follow their process and they were able to build a growth engine around that specialty. Once they did this they could scale their business.

Just like McDonald or Starbucks, if you truly want to scale then you must focus all your efforts on providing the one extraordinary result. If you have been in the industry for any length of time, you know that it is hard to stay focused on your specialty. Especially when your customer has a check in hand. The reality is, taking jobs that are out of your ability are bogging down your pipeline.

Protect your agency. Think about the wellbeing of your employees. Think about your own wellbeing. Think about your customer. Are you really serving their best interest by accepting a job that you know that you can’t deliver? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

My final question is this: Are you really a Full-Service Agency or are you just lying to yourself?

James Bullis

About James Bullis

James Bullis is a marketing technologist based out of Jenks, OK. Ever since he taught himself how to code HTML from a borrowed book and no computer, he has been on a mission to help other people create amazing websites that get results. He loves working with clients who make an impact on the world because by helping his clients, he also makes an impact.


  1. Hubert on September 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Your premise is erroneous from the beginning. I’m not sure why you’re under the impression that someone has to multi-task in order to call themselves a full service provider. They aren’t completing all of the tasks simultaneously for a customer. They are capable of providing all the services for any particular client – usually in chronological order. And “full service” has a definition. As a web designer you should definitely know everything that being such entails.

    • James Bullis on September 27, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I wrote this article after reviewing nearly 1000 marketing websites. Every single one claimed to be Full Service and 98% of them didn’t even have a Facebook pixel installed on their site. Are they really full service or are they trying to just figure out whatever a client can throw their way? Is that really operating from integrity or are they lying about their capabilities?

      In my business, I became miserable because I tried to do everything for everyone and that was no business at all. Ventin now focuses on doing one thing extremely well for one particular audience. We build attractive websites for marketing agency clients.

      That is why I am not a web designer. I am someone building a profitable business. Once I made this shift, business has been more focused and laser targeted. And momentum is picking up.

      I don’t have to master everything else. I only have to master my craft. And I can do it with integrity.

Leave a Comment