Marketing in-house vs. hiring a marketing agency can be a big decision. Small companies in particular will be accustomed to doing their own marketing, and it can be tough to know when the efforts outweigh the results.
But in many cases, hiring an agency to take over the marketing responsibilities can be a smart move. Outsourcing your marketing efforts can often be a more cost-effective solution, and having talented marketing specialist working for you can ultimately boost your marketing results and free you up to focus on more pressing business matters. If you’ve made the decisions to outsource the marketing of your business, here are a few things to consider that will help you decide on the right agency.
Know your goals
This is the most important step in moving forward with bringing on an agency for your marketing. A solid game plan helps you move purposefully toward a goal that will grow your business and improve your ROI, and it will help your potential agency partners understand your specific needs and create a strategy that will meet your objective.
However, not having a clear vision of what you want to get out of the relationship can set you up to be taken advantage of. If you don’t know precisely what your goals are, how will you know that the services you’re paying for are working? How do you know you’re not being over-sold on services when a narrower scope would serve your needs better? Come to the meeting prepared with a clear objective for your marketing, including goals, metrics, and timeline, and you’ll reduce the risk of being over-sold.
Be familiar with the agency
Look at their previous work. Are they doing the kinds of things that interest and excite you? Does their style of work compliment your brand and mission? Look at their previous clients. Have they worked with companies in similar industries to yours? Are you much larger or smaller than their usual clients? Most importantly, look at the kind of service they offer. Are they able to handle a broad range of marketing related tasks, or are they specialized in just a few areas? How does this align with the goals you’ve set? If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, a firm that specializes in SEO may not be your best bet.
Understand the cost
The rates of an agency are of course a major factor in the hiring decision, but understanding how you’re being charged might affect the decision as well. Some agencies will charge by the hour, and others will charge a flat rate per project or per month. Be aware of the differences and what they mean.
An hourly rate is usually associated with a smaller scope of work and can often mean getting a lower rate. However, it also usually means that the agency has a fixed budget for the estimated scope and won’t absorb extra hours if the work goes beyond the budget. A flat fee, on the other hand, is often billed at a higher rate to offset the risk of running over on time spent, but you know at the outset what the work will cost and you know that the work will be delivered even if they have to absorb some hours.
Set Bandwidth expectations
Many companies underestimate the amount of work it takes to work with a marketing agency on a big project, like a multi-channel campaign or a new website. Hiring a marketing agency without setting clear expectations for your involvement and availability can mean big problems for both parties down the line. Be clear upfront about what you can contribute to this arrangement to avoid big headaches and failed outcomes.
Relationship is key
It’s likely that you’ll be working closely with the people you’ve hired for your marketing, and you want to have a healthy relationship with them. Is there immediate friction between your people are theirs? You may want to reconsider that partnership, even if their work seems outstanding. Do they have excellent communication and transparency? Chances are good that you’ll be able to work in harmony towards your mutual goals.
If they turn out to be a good fit, chances are that your business relationship will grow and that scope of their involvement with increase. Find an agency that is able to grow with you as you expand to new channels and tactics, and that can support you in times of growth and transition in your own company.
On a related note, it can be tempting to bring on the services of a single specialist, rather than a small team with broader skills. But a benefit of having multiple people on your account is that they’ll be able to support you through changes in their own company. There will inevitably be turnover, with talent coming and going. Having multiple people working your account can ensure that valuable knowledge and experience with your business carries over.
Working with a marketing agency can be a game changing decision for many businesses. Find a team of talented people who can invest in your business, truly understand your goals and aspirations, and communicate effectively, and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Our team of experts at Primitive Social specialize in creating strategies and content to help you achieve your business goals. Contact us for a free consultation today.