Time. There is seemingly never enough of it, nor is there ever any to waste for companies looking to reach new customers, expand their footprint, experience sustainable growth in their given industry. Whether it’s facilitating sales, managing accounts, doing payroll, hiring new team members, or the myriad of other tasks associated with running a business, the nuts and bolts of a holistic marketing strategy are often sacrificed for the other mission-critical initiatives on your plate.
According to a 2019 report by the marketing automation firm Outbound Engine, more than 50% of small businesses surveyed indicated they do not put together an annual marketing strategy, and 58% of respondents said they spend less than 5 hours per week on marketing activities.
You shouldn’t be disheartened if you fall into this camp. In fact, you should be energized with optimism and opportunity, as it means you have a chance to get ahead of the competition. The question is: How do you get started with injecting new life into your marketing strategy?
You could go it alone. Or, you could partner with a marketing agency for a variety of reasons — we’ll start with five of them — that will not only benefit your business but also help you better understand who you are, your place in the market, and what you need to do to get where you want to go.
Reduce your marketing costs
While partnering with a marketing agency will cost some money at the onset, the total cost over time will pale in comparison to the expenditure of hiring an internal marketing team, which could take several months when you factor in the talent search, onboarding and training, and not just salaries but full compensation packages.
In addition, because most marketing agencies employ a variety of specialists for things like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, social media management, digital or print content creation, graphic design, and web development, you’ll have access to a wide net of marketing professionals, each with a specific skill set and expertise.
On the other hand, because of the costs associated with hiring an internal marketing team, odds are you’ll likely have 2 or 3 individuals who have to wear multiple hats, are tasked with projects outside their comfort zone, or are working in areas of marketing in which they’re not experienced or knowledgable.
It’s also important to remember partnering with a marketing agency is not an all-or-nothing proposition. While small companies may completely outsource their marketing activities to an agency, mid or large-size companies will sometimes connect their in-house marketing team with an outside agency to expand their internal marketing goals and supplement their internal strengths with those of the agency.
More time for the work that matters to you
This is not to say a marketing strategy that drives brand awareness, generates new leads, and prompts existing leads to move through the sales process is NOT important work — of course it is. This is to say that business owners and their teams have quite a lot on their plates, and partnering with a marketing agency allows more time for these teams to focus on the work they do best.
You may be thinking anyone can publish an online ad. Anyone can whip out an email campaign. Anyone can post a video to social media. While this may be true, it’s also analogous to a skilled home cook thinking he or she can jump into the kitchen at a 5-star restaurant during dinner service without missing a beat.
In partnering with a marketing agency, you’ll collaborate with an email marketing strategist who has a deep knowledge base of email marketing best practices and knows how to optimize email campaigns to achieve high open rates, click-through rates, and other important metrics. Or, in working with a social media coordinator, you’ll have a powerful ally in creating pertinent social content for your audience, optimizing content across a variety of platforms, and understanding how your social media content is performing relative to defined performance goals like engagement, impressions, or even lead generation.
An outsider’s perspective
Any business owner will tell you that sometimes they’re just “too in it” to truly have perspective. By “in it,” we’re talking about being too involved in the day-to-day operations of running a successful company to have a larger, global perspective on elements like brand identity, status as an industry thought-leader, or their place in arenas like social media.
In partnering with a marketing agency, you have access to a fresh perspective on your brand, your voice, your website, your submission forms, and a host of other forward-facing elements of your business.
Most marketing agencies will begin your partnership by conducting a discovery session, which is designed to identify who your company is, what makes you unique, your place in the market, and avenues to gain a competitive advantage via a comprehensive strategy to optimize inefficiencies and double-down on areas where your marketing activities are already proving effective.
Let creativity reign
Everyone possesses some level of creativity, even if they say they do not, but the mission of any marketing agency is to assemble a team of the most creative people in their respective fields to think outside the box and generate innovative, unique solutions to your marketing challenges. In today’s omnichannel, multi-platform world, where cutting through the noise is critical to customers receiving your signal, old-school sales and marketing tactics are often not enough.
This is where creative problem solving reigns in terms of connecting with your customers in memorable ways. Whether it’s augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mobile apps, or virtual/in-person event marketing, a marketing agency can unlock a level of creativity with a strategy that you (and more importantly) your competitors cannot achieve on your own.
Sales and marketing enablement
Sales and marketing are inextricably linked. A marketing strategy that amplifies your brand or voice offers a personal touch when closing deals, as well as helping you reach new customers to hit sales targets. Partnering with a marketing agency can pay some unexpected dividends in creating a cross-functional collaboration point between sales and marketing to break down obstacles in communication and workflows that often exist between these two areas of your business.
In addition, the unity between sales and marketing can also open up other avenues for collaboration across your organization because these two elements touch so many other areas of your company. Marketing impacts sales and sales influences customer service and customer service needs support from IT.
The point is: Hiring a marketing agency can literally (whether directly or residually) help enhance every touchpoint in your organization, and that’s a top-to-bottom benefit that’s worth exploring.