Marketing agencies come in many shapes and sizes, particularly as the digital age has increased the number of media outlets through which marketing can be carried out.
Creative agencies are charged with producing the Big Idea. They devise a communications strategy in three stages: identifying who the customer is, what to say to them and how to say it.
Media agencies coordinate the last stage - the 'how' - identifying the best, most cost-effective media for transmitting the message to the customer, whether through TV or radio advertisements, printed advertorial, sponsorship, events, the internet, email or SMS text messaging.
Digital agencies can be creative, media or a mixture of both. Characterised by an emphasis on digital technologies, they use internet marketing, interactive TV and mobile and email marketing, among other media.
Some agencies concentrate on direct marketing, the effectiveness of which can be tracked easily as the customer is asked to ring a freephone number, email, visit a website, return an order form, complete a survey, etcetera.
Former M&C Saatchi employee Tim Clyde decided he wanted his company to be a jack of all marketing trades.
"We provide a one-stop shop, which is why it's called the Minimart," explains Clyde. "We do anything from the web through to the production of TV commercials.
"If the client wants web design we have in-house programmers. We don't even outsource directors and photographers and so on - we actually make all the ads in-house."
As an agency of all the talents, says Clyde, the Minimart is best suited to small businesses, which get an integrated service and a consistent message.
A business partner must be able to contribute, such as by bringing a wealth of client contacts through another industry, or bringing another dimension to the business
Tim Clyde, co-founder of The Minimart