Why Hire a Marketing Agency? Pros, Cons, & Telltale Signs
You’ve got a steady pipeline of leads. You’re closing sales every day. In many regards, your marketing strategy is getting the job done. And when things are moving at a steady pace, it can be hard to find an answer to the question, “Why hire a marketing agency?”
Yet even with all of that success, you just can’t shake the feeling that you could be doing more with your marketing. In addition, every time you try to have the whole “How can we maximize our marketing?” talk, you’re hit with the same old problem: You and your team are swamped. You’ve got new offerings in development. There are tons of strategies you’re working on.
And if the items on your to-do list were a bucket of water, you’d be swimming out of the office every day. But is a marketing agency really the answer? Does it really make sense to outsource such a critical business function? There’s reason to believe that the answer to both of those questions for businesses is “Heck yes!”.
We’re about to tell you the pros and cons of doing your online marketing through an agency.
What Do Marketing Agencies Do Exactly?
This one is hard to answer because different agencies will approach this in different ways. But there is one easy way to look at it: Think of business marketing like preparing a meal.
You can’t just pull a bag out of the freezer and serve it. To get from “raw ingredients” to “supper,” you’ve got to chop up your onions, sauté your vegetables, slice up your proteins, and get your side dishes ready. But if working on your marketing strategy in-house is the equivalent of cooking a meal from scratch, outsourcing your marketing needs to an agency is like getting your food delivered to you.
Some agencies are more digitally-based. They offer SEO, PPC, and web design services. Others are very good at offline work like billboards and commercials. But while the exact details of a partnership may depend on the agency, there’s one thing that these companies have in common: They take over your offline and/or online marketing campaigns on your behalf.
Why Hiring a Marketing Agency Can Take Your Business to Another Level
Do marketing agencies actually make sense for businesses today, or is all the buzz around hiring an agency just hype or something that works as a status symbol for companies?
As it turns out, there are a number of really good reasons to consider hiring a marketing agency. Here’s our list of digital marketing agency pros.
Pro #1: You Get the Benefit of Hiring an Expert
Do you know why good marketers are always in demand? Because finding people who can go from “This is what we want from our marketing” to driving the results you need isn’t easy.
But here’s the thing if you’re a key decision-maker. That systematic, in-depth “Just give me the money, and I can make it happen” level of marketing experience requires a lot of time that you more than likely just don’t have.
If you were going to the moon, you’d want NASA’s top rocket scientists doing all the calculations involved with working on your rocket ship, right? It’s the same deal with your company’s marketing needs. Marketing agencies bring marketing expertise to the table so that you don’t have to waste time doing the whole trial and error thing. Those are savings that can’t be underestimated.
Pro #2: Scaling Your Business Becomes Easier
Part of the problem with growing a business is that even if you’ve got a target audience and a product that kicks butt, your ability to scale is often limited by the size of your team. After all, bigger marketing campaigns require more. But alongside the increased labor that goes into writing more ads and putting together flawless promotional videos, your staff still needs to have enough capacity to keep delivering your products and services.
If your business is in that in-between spot where you’re big enough to take on new business, but you’re not quite ready to onboard new employees, this is a hard task. Many employees end up having burnout from here.
When you hire a marketing agency, you can pick up the phone and say, “Hey, we’d like to get more business this month.” Then it’ll be done. No shuffling tasks or asking people to work double-duty needed.
Pro #3: You Can Get All the Results You Want With None of the Growing Pains
Have you seen Facebook Ads manager recently? The platform is so powerful that there are nine Facebook professional certifications available at the time of this writing. Nine! Before anyone shrugs and says, “Well, that’s Facebook for you,” it turns out that Google has a professional certification too. And that’s just the platforms.
The truth is that executing a marketing campaign often comes down to making a series of judgment calls. But how do you make snap decisions like “This is a great ad” and “You have to find the keywords this way”? More often than not, it comes down to experience. If there’s one thing that a marketing agency brings to the table, it’s a team stacked with people who have spent years perfecting their use of different marketing mediums.
This, in turn, allows you to get the results you want from your advertising efforts but without the pain and literal tears involved with doing it all by yourself.
Pro #4: It’s Often Cheaper
According to Bamboo HR, businesses spend an average cost of $4,125 per hire. And that’s before you start thinking about the cost of salary and benefits.
Why are we talking about this? Because in order to get the same amount of work that you would normally get out of a marketing agency, you may have to make multiple hires. For many smaller businesses, and even some bigger ones, that might not be realistic. With a marketing agency, you pay a simple lump sum at the end of every month plus the cost of advertising. There are no bonuses or benefits to pay. You can literally set it and forget it for a set price.
There simply aren’t too many ways that you can get the work of five or six in-house marketing team members done at a lower total cost. When you’re watching every dollar, those financial benefits can’t be underestimated.
Pro #5: You Get the Benefit of an Outside Perspective
When you own your business, and you’re really passionate about your product, there are a lot of benefits that come with that. You have unbeatable product knowledge, for one. And that can only help you when you’re in the designing process.
But as odd as this is about to sound, sometimes you can understand the awesomeness of your product a little too well. And when you have that type of expertise in your industry, it can be easy to lose sight of what your customers actually care about.
A marketing agency professional can take a few steps back and say, “Hey, your customers might want you to explain this a little bit more” or “This feature doesn’t really resonate with this particular demographic,” And that’s valuable. Working with an agency is often like getting a consultant and a service all rolled into one. Plus, you just never know when that outsider’s touch will result in a marketing breakthrough.
Reasons Why You May Not Want to Hire a Marketing Agency
We’ve just sung the praises of marketing agencies. If you’re a business owner on the fence, you might be wondering, “So what about the negatives?”
And the truth is that for all the good that a solid marketing agency can do, there are also problems with hiring one. Here are some drawbacks to using a marketing agency that you may want to be aware of as you make your choice.
Con #1: Agencies Can Do More Harm Than Good if Your Business Operations Aren’t Ready for Primetime
It’s a tale as old as businesses have been around. Maybe an influencer tweets about your offering out of nowhere, or those YouTube videos you posted suddenly became your industry’s version of Gangnam Style. Great! But there’s just one problem: Your meeting with the supplier is next month. Or maybe your business website redesign was supposed to happen next week.
Marketing agencies can bring you tons of customers. However, if you’re still perfecting your delivery process, you may want to wait until you have more capacity before hiring an agency to take over your marketing functions.
Con #2: Success Often Depends on People You Don’t Employ
Let’s say you hire an agency that just really gets you. Everything’s been working like a dream. Your account manager is crushing it, and your campaigns are performing better than you had ever hoped. Everything’s going swimmingly. However, from a risk management perspective, you’ve got one major problem.
Ethan and Rachel from Agency X may be responsible for 90% of your success, but they aren’t your staff members. They work for the agency. And if they ever change accounts, or worse, leave their positions, you don’t have the ability to keep them working on your campaigns unless you can recruit them. Talk about a serious risk.
In addition, there’s no guarantee that the next person will understand your business to the same extent. If the agency price advantage is something that you’ve been relying on, you have to be prepared for these sorts of disruptions.
Con #3: You Have to Pay the Agency on Top of Your Marketing Costs
The whole “We sold a gazillion units last month after partnering with this company” storyline may be the dream. But it’s not realistic if you’re struggling to scrape together marketing costs.
A lot of success in marketing ultimately comes down to building momentum. Can you keep people buying your products consistently over a set period of time? For the magic to happen, you need enough cash to finance your campaign.
Every business has to start from somewhere. We get it. But if spending three to four figures per month on a service sounds like “I’ll have to beg, borrow, and plead for this money,” you might be better off starting smaller. The good news is that you can always scale as you grow. But if your business doesn’t have enough funding, it can be difficult to justify paying for agency fees.
Con #4: It Can Take Time to Get Maximum Results
Even when you’re an experienced marketer, there are times where that incredibly clever campaign full of award-winning material just falls flat.
Customers may look at ads and go, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s for me.” The copy might not be engaging enough. Or, in some cases, it’s really engaging but just not attracting the buyers you’re looking for. Plain and simple, sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’ve got a winning marketing campaign on your hands. And it can take time to optimize your campaigns to the point where they’re vacuuming up customers like magnets.
In the time that it takes your marketing agency to put the pieces together, you will still be spending money. And like an employee who needs to be trained, agencies may also need time to get used to how your company works.
You can sometimes score a home run on your first go. But more often than not, your agency may need to optimize and tinker until you start seeing an ROI that you’re happy with.
Why Hiring a Marketing Agency Should Be on Your Company’s to-Do List
We’ve talked up the perks. We’ve covered the cons. And you might have realized that the marketing agency decision boils down to the question, “Is my business in a position where this would make sense for me to pursue?”.
The good news is that you’re in luck. We’ve got a list of signs that strongly indicate that you should be talking to a marketing agency pronto.
Sign #1: Your Team Is Always Pressed for Time
The inner workings of many businesses can be very, very busy. This is especially true when you’ve got growing pains.
But at the same time, putting together a winning marketing strategy can take up lots of hours. If your staff is always on the go, adding something like a marketing campaign to your company to-do list may be too much. With an agency, it really is as simple as saying, “I need some marketing done” and watching it get done for you. And ultimately, that counts for a lot.
Sign #2: You’re Missing Certain Skills
Remember what we said before about the certifications that certain platforms come with? The same can be said for the skills required to make an effective marketing campaign.
Copywriting, web design & development, and market research are all skills that people spend years learning how to perfect. Those aren’t abilities that most folks can just pick up and execute at a professional level.
When you start digging into the deeper stuff, like data analysis or SEO, you can easily find yourself in over your head. But an agency comes staffed with world-class professionals who have acquired all of these skills. This brings us to our next point.
Sign #3: You’re Not Getting the Sales Results You Want
You thought you had it. The creativity was impressive, your images were flawless, and you wrote a ton of clear and cohesive ads. Yet somehow, your marketing efforts to date have just not been getting it done. Maybe the problem is that you’re trying to launch your business. Maybe you’ve got a campaign that’s getting you sales, but every time you try to scale it, your numbers just plateau.
Troubleshooting a sluggish campaign often requires in-depth knowledge and know-how. Sometimes campaigns can be saved. Other times, you have to scrap them and start over. For a marketing agency, underperforming campaigns are par for the course. They’ve seen it all. Your “Oh my gosh, why isn’t this working—sound the alarms!” type of marketing disasters are just another day at the office.
Whether you have an online business or a traditional brick-and-mortar one, who doesn’t want more leads? The expertise and poise of an agency can make a big difference in that regard.
Sign #4: You’re Struggling With Your Branding
You might be reading that and thinking, “Wait a minute. You said earlier that if my business isn’t ready for primetime, then we should actually hold off.” And yes, that would be true. But the fact of the matter is that there’s a big difference between refining your brand and refining your business operations from a marketing standpoint.
According to SmallBizGenius, 89% of customers will stay loyal to brands that share their values. But how do you get those folks to recognize that your brand is the one that they’ve been looking for?
In a lot of cases, you have to really hone your targeting. And in a marketing landscape where content marketing and niche advertising are increasingly becoming the name of the game, brand clarity matters more than ever. Who is your audience? How do you want people to think and feel when they interact with your brand? Do you need a super sophisticated, old-school copywriting style, or do your leads want to see Game of Thrones references?
Experienced marketing agencies have spent enough time watching brands succeed and fail that they’ll know what works in terms of branding. They’ll be able to work with you to create a digital brand strategy that resonates.
Sign #5: You’re Struggling to Create a Marketing Strategy at All
Part of what makes marketing such a time sink for businesses is that there are a lot of moving parts involved with creating a successful campaign. Everything has to fit, or potential customers will hop off the ride.
Sometimes the problem is that your positioning is all over the place. Other times you’ve skipped over important details and storytelling elements that would have taken leads to “I need this brand right now.” The beauty of working with an agency is that marketing is all that they do. That media buyer they’ve employed or that whip-smart copywriter they work with? Those folks can create marketing strategies in their sleep.
When you work with an agency in this way, you don’t have to sit there trying to invent the wheel with your advertising. You can partner with a company, step back, and let an experienced marketing professional help you out.
The Real Answer to the Question “Why Hire a Marketing Agency?”
It’s funny, but the best way to figure out your answer to the whole “Why hire a marketing agency?” debate is to ask yourself another question. It ultimately comes down to doing a brutal assessment of your business and asking yourself if you’re at a place where you have more money than you have time. And honestly, that can go either way.
A marketing agency is an investment in growing your business and putting yourself in front of customers. If you’re in a position where you’ve gotten your business profitable, but you’re still struggling to take your company to the next level, a marketing agency will help.
We’re a full-service digital marketing firm that’s all about helping businesses boost their marketing through SEO, web design, advertising, email marketing, copywriting, and more. Plus, we have the experience and the testimonials to prove it. Whether you’re looking for complementary services or you want an end-to-end marketing partner, we’ve got you covered. Contact us or call us at 973-317-8765 to find out more.