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Thrive or Survive: Do I Need a Marketing Agency?

on January 13, 2020

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Over 600,000 new businesses open in the United States every year. This means that competition between business owners is constantly growing. It also means that, in order to succeed, you need to be constantly working on ways to promote your business and sell your services.

Without doing this, you may join the other 80% of businesses that fail within their first 18 months of trading. But to successfully promote your business you need to know exactly what you’re doing. You need an up-to-date knowledge of current marketing trends and how to use them for your business.

For most business owners, this is outside of their area of expertise and this is where a marketing agency could help. Hiring an agency of marketing professionals could give your company the boost it needs.

Not sure what a marketing agency could do for you? Then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out exactly what a marketing agency does and how it could help your business.

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Why is Marketing Important for Your Business?

You could have the best idea for a business in the world, but it will only make money if people know about it. Without customers, you won’t be able to sell your products or services. Marketing is key to bringing in customers.

The right marketing campaign targets your customers with information about your services. There are various ways a campaign might do this.

A lot of marketing campaigns nowadays are digital. This allows them to target the 3 billion-plus internet users throughout North America.

Digital campaigns can use specific platforms to target particular audiences for your business. For example, if you want to target a wide audience a digital campaign could use Facebook advertising. This site alone has 2.27 billion active users each month.

Other, more traditional, campaigns may use other means of advertising. This can include video advertisements, buying space in publications or creating billboards. An agency may also help you put together a campaign to promote particular deals that you want to launch in order to bring in new customers.

Often agencies will use a combination of marketing strategies for maximum effect.

Running an effective marketing campaign can have a huge impact on the success of your business. However, it is also a full-time job for whichever team is running it. This is why a lot of businesses have a specific marketing team in-house.

Other companies choose to hire a marketing agency to create and lead their campaign. So what exactly do these agencies do?

What Does a Marketing Agency Do?

A marketing agency spends its time managing marketing campaigns for its clients.

This involves meeting with clients and looking at their long-term business goals. Once they have an understanding of your goals and ethos they can design a campaign that will help to achieve and reflect these. An agency can also assess your business’ current marketing strategies and figure out which of these are failing and why.

In order to create an effective marketing campaign, an agency will use up-to-date market research and team this with market trends. A full-service marketing team will also include specialists in different areas of marketing.

For example, digital marketing experts will know how best to run an effective digital marketing campaign. This involves doing things like taking out Google adverts and improving your SEO ranking. They will also create a social media presence for your business and focus on your mobile and email marketing strategies.

A digital marketing expert can work alongside an expert in public relations for your company. Together they can craft a campaign that will help you to target customers in a variety of ways but remains coherent throughout.

However, as we mentioned some businesses already have their own marketing departments. So why use an advertising agency instead of putting together an in-house team?

Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Agency vs. In-House Marketing

If you already have an in-house marketing team in place, you may not think there’s much point in hiring an external agency. However, there are several benefits to bringing in an independent agency.

Most agencies can offer a lot more expertise than an in-house team can. As we already mentioned, they’ll have a team of marketing experts who specialize in different types of marketing. They will also have a wealth of experience marketing in different industries.

This type of insight is particularly useful if you’re launching a campaign that your business has never run before. For example, launching a digital campaign can be really challenging if you don’t have any experience in this area.

A marketing agency will also have more manpower to throw at getting your campaign on its feet. Just think about how much it would cost to hire the number of people working in an agency versus how much hiring the agency itself costs. It’s way more cost-effective to hire an agency than to hire new members for your in-house team.

A bigger team working on your campaign means that more time will go into it. Marketing is all about responding to and updating your campaign as you go. So you need someone who can be on top of this at all times.

To truly succeed, it’s very important to find the right marketing agency for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should look at when hiring an agency to run your business’s marketing campaigns.

Find a Marketing Agency That Offers Flexibility

Before you hire a marketing person to run your campaign, make sure you look at the type of contracts they offer.

Some agencies will only offer fixed-term contracts for their work. These are usually quite long-term, meaning that if you aren’t happy with their work you can’t opt-out. You want to avoid any agency that tries to do this as it could mean you have to pay fees for a company whose services you aren’t satisfied with.

If a company has a fixed-term contract with you it also removes the incentive to put loads of work into your campaign. Your money is already guaranteed so they may start dragging their feet.

Instead, have a look for agencies that offer flexible rolling contracts so that you can see their work in action. If you aren’t happy with it, you can simply cancel your contract and find a new agency.

This also means that you can put more money into your campaign at different times. For example, if you’re launching a new product or service you may want to spend more on your marketing. If this is the case, make sure you look for an agency that is willing to manage your budget according to your marketing goals.

Check That You’ll Get an Account Manager

Different marketing agencies work using different team structures. Make sure you look into these before you hire anyone.

Some agencies, for example, assign each client’s marketing an account manager. This means that throughout working with them you have the same point of contact at all times. They’ll be able to answer any queries you might have about your campaign easily.

Other agencies choose not to use account managers for their clients. Instead, various people on their team will work on your campaign and you can contact any of these people. If you can, try to avoid this setup.

Having an account manager means you always know who you need to contact about your campaign. Your correspondence will be with one person so you can avoid any confusion.

You’ll also find that you get quicker, clearer responses to any questions that you might have. And your campaign will end up with a more coherent message because of all this.

In contrast, working with an agency that doesn’t use account managers can be a bit like calling a call center. You could end up speaking to someone who has no idea about your campaign or waiting for ages to speak to the right person. This can be a very frustrating experience and a waste of your time and energy.

Make Sure They’ll Share Their Resources

During a marketing campaign, an agency will create a huge number of resources for your business. This may come in the form of videos, blog content, or advertising copy. Or it might be the results of market research that they’ve carried out with your customers.

Whatever the content, make sure the agency you hire is willing to share this with you.

Some agencies don’t like sharing their materials with clients. This is because they’re worried that a client might drop the agency and use the materials themselves.

Any agency that has useful insights to offer, won’t worry about this. They’ll know that the resources are important but their skills are unique. Because of this, they’ll be willing to give you access to any materials that they create.

This is how it should be. If you’re paying a company to create marketing materials for you, then you should be allowed access to them. This allows for a proper collaborative relationship.

Before you hire an agency, make sure that they’ll be willing to share any material with you while you work together. If this suggestion sets them on edge, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Ask About Their Analytics

Analytics are key to the success of any marketing campaign. These tell an agency what is effective and what isn’t.

Different companies use different methods to analyze their marketing strategies. For example, some look at online statistics while others collect customer feedback. Most marketing agencies should use a combination of analytics to assess how well a campaign is doing.

Make sure that any company you hire uses in-depth analytics to assess their strategies rather than face value ones. A positive reception to a campaign doesn’t always mean it will lead to a boost in sales. To see the impact of it you need to look more closely at customer behavior.

For example, likes on a social media post don’t always mean that you’ll sell more. More useful analytics to look at include:

  • The click-through rate of adverts
  • The bounce rate of your website
  • The length of time people spend looking at your social media pages or on your website
  • Traffic source numbers
  • How many unique visitors come to your site

If a company uses in-depth analyses on its campaign then you know it means business.

Look at Their Portfolio and Talk to Clients

The best way to get an idea about an agency’s work is to look at their work for previous clients. This will often reflect the standard of work that they provide.

In particular, keep an eye out for high-profile clients and people who work in the same industry as you. This will demonstrate that you can trust them on big projects and show that they have experience working in your field.

When looking at portfolios remember that different campaigns will have had different budgets to work with. The better quality the campaign, the bigger the price tag.

For a better idea of how an agency works, make sure that you speak to previous clients independently. They will be able to give you an honest account of working with a certain company.

Know Your Budget

Last, but by no means least, always keep your budget in mind and be up-front about this.

Hiring a marketing company is an investment in your business’s future success. But there’s no point in hiring an agency that you can’t afford to keep on your marketing campaign. This could mean your marketing campaign lacks consistency and ultimately fails in its goals.

Discuss your budget with an agency before you hire them. A good agency will make sure that your budget stretches as far as it can to achieve the biggest impact. They’ll be able to outline their plans for spending before they start work and explain why it makes sense to use your budget this way.

Get Ready to See a Difference

If you’re serious about helping your business thrive, hiring a marketing agency is an absolute must. They will be able to devote their time, expertise and attention to creating and delivering a campaign that will promote your business.

For more help getting your campaign off the ground, schedule a free consultation with one of our marketing experts today. We’re here to help!

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