The purpose of working with a marketing agency is to make life easier for your business, while helping you achieve your goals. So why do some companies have a fantastic experience with their marketing agencies, while others don’t feel they receive the support they anticipated?
In a recent survey, it was discovered that 96% of small and medium sized businesses are willing to pay an agency more to help them improve in related areas of the business, and not just marketing alone (The Drum).
The realisation that marketing agencies can have an impact across the business is an important one. The desire to parachute expertise into a company for specific projects or objectives is another key trend, taking the pressure off permanent marketing staff who are juggling multiple priorities.
But how do you ensure the marketing agency you work with lives up to your expectations? Here we unpick some of the pros and cons of working with marketing agencies, to help you get more out of your working relationships.
PROS OF WORKING WITH A MARKETING AGENCY
You’ll work with specialists
Working with a marketing agency means you’ll work with specialists in specific areas of marketing. When hiring in-house employees, it’s virtually impossible to find candidates who have genuine specialisms in the multiple and diverse areas of marketing, such as pay per click, video, copywriting and PR. Instead, the specialisms you need can be found under one roof with a marketing agency.
You’ll often gain access to more senior marketing specialists than you’d be able to afford in-house too. For example, an agency should be able to offer specialists of Chief Marketing Officer level, but you only need to pay for them for the amount of time they spend on your project. A few hours a week of this level of expertise can be transformational for the strategic direction of a business.
As a B2B marketing agency, we regularly work with in-house marketing professionals who come from a B2C background. Our B2B specialism means we can guide these clients through the acronyms, jargon and processes, helping them to ramp up their progress towards their objectives.
You’ll benefit from industry expertise
If you work with a marketing agency who has experience in your industry, you’ll benefit from their breadth of expertise, contacts and connections across that industry. Marketing agencies who are industry experts have a deep understanding of the sector you work in, and can add tangible value to your marketing strategy and business growth overall.
This expertise means they’re able to hit the ground running when you hire them. They’ve already done the relevant research and they can provide insights quickly. With their network of established contacts, experts in related fields can be consulted efficiently too, saving businesses the time it takes to start these relationships from scratch.
They focus on outcomes
Marketing agencies are not distracted by the internal operations of your business, which means they have the freedom to focus on outcomes and delivering results.
Most of the in-house marketing professionals we work with are juggling day to day administration, and regularly get pulled into unexpected meetings or have to deal with unplanned staff shortages. Marketing plans can easily become derailed or delayed for all these reasons. Having a marketing agency working in the background to get tasks done means that progress is a certainty, whatever a business has to react to in its day-to-day operations.
You’ll be exposed to new ideas
Good marketing agencies will have a constant stream of new ideas and innovative tactics that you might not necessarily have in-house. Importantly, they have the time to bring them to fruition too. If you’ve been working for a business for a long time, it can be difficult to take a step back and invigorate your approach. Agencies can provide an alternative viewpoint that breathes new life into a marketing strategy. They draw from their wider pool of experience and knowledge that spans across your industry, and perhaps cross-industry too.
If your agency is working on delivering essential items in your plan, it will also free up more time for you internally to identify new areas of opportunity.
They’ll work through a defined process
Marketing agencies have a defined process that they work through with all their clients, which ensures an additional layer of quality to the work being done. While working with an agency also brings flexibility, being underpinned by a distinctive process that is designed for success is important for quality assurance.
Agencies often work with multiple technological platforms to aid their work, so businesses can benefit from gaining access to these, without having to invest in them directly. This helps save time and money, as well as introducing helpful new tools into the marketing mix.
CONS OF WORKING WITH A MARKETING AGENCY
There is a learning process
Working with a marketing agency means there is a transition period where the agency has to learn about your business, and perhaps about your wider industry too. This is particularly the case if you work with a marketing agency that does not have a specialism or expertise in your sector. The fact they are not sitting within your business everyday can be both a positive and a negative.
To ensure the learning process is quick and efficient, it’s always best to find a specialist agency who understands your niche.
Charges and expenses
Understanding what you are expected to pay and any additional costs is important to define from the outset of working with a marketing agency. The nature of marketing means there are a number of additional costs that could be added to a marketing campaign or marketing service delivery. Hammering out costs with an agency and ensuring transparency in this sense is key to ensuring you stick to your budgets and don’t get burned by unexpected costs that weren’t discussed upfront.
Conflict of clients and priorities
When you work with a marketing agency, you’re one of several clients, and so you may not always be the priority. Often the level of investment you make with a marketing agency will reflect the priority you are given. It is therefore essential to set a clear timeline and delivery expectations from the outset, ensuring you make the most of your investment.
Changing account teams
One frustration for businesses working with marketing agencies is that account teams can change regularly. Constantly having a new point of contact and getting to know new team members can make the relationship feel disjointed. When starting work with a marketing agency, it’s important to find out how the team is resourced, who your key point of contact will be, and what happens if there are team changes. Working with a small, well established agency often means you experience fewer of these problems.
How to get value from your marketing agency
Know your business goals and objectives.
Have a clear idea of what your challenges are in the business.
Understand how that agency has helped similar businesses.
How does the agency measure success?
Who is the account team, and what is their specific specialism or expertise?
Haynes MarComs has a defined process for gaining momentum, building credibility to help you shape strategic direction and have agility. Let’s have a conversation about how we can put you and your team on the road to success.