So, your organization has an internal marketing team? Great. But, keep reading.
Some companies think if they have an in-house marketing staff, they have no reason to hire a marketing agency. Some say an agency doesn’t know your company from the inside-out like your inside team and it is just going to cost you more money on your marketing line in your budget.
That may be the case in the short term, but a marketing agency can provide many benefits that are well worth your investment in the long term.
At one point, I thought these same things, but I learned that you can use an agency in a variety of ways to help achieve the results you want.
Let’s start with the talent
While I am sure you have the best marketing person in the world (I know because I was one), let me ask you a question: does that person have instant access to a top-level creative director, writer, art director, an SEO strategist, a PR guru, and a media planner? If the answer is yes, you can stop reading now and I say congratulations on a well-built team.
Typically, the top creatives don’t go and work for a corporation, they go to the wonderful world of advertising agencies where suits and ties are worn and scotch runs free (oh wait, maybe that is just on “Mad Men.”). Anyway, with or without the scotch, agencies are where the creative go to thrive.
Now let’s talk strategy
Does your marketing department staff really have a strategy? I don’t mean they tweet, post, and connect on a regular basis and throw an ad online every once in a while. Do they really have a strategy?
Is everyone working toward the same goal with cadence and consistency? Does your sales team know what your marketing department is promoting? Or do they think they are just in there planning company picnics and coloring?
After all, we market to sell more. An agency will help you build that strategy. Take a step back and look at your sales and marketing goals and develop the best way to achieve them, across all platforms of the marketing world. With the digital age we are in, measuring your marketing results has become easier as well, so a good agency will help you monitor and analyze that information to ensure your success.
If you fail, try and try again
Let the agency’s experience be your guinea pig. Advertising agencies have experience in all of the media platforms and know what has worked and what has not in the past for their clients. You probably can’t afford to have your internal team taking chances and throwing money at a project that you are unsure will drive sales. Chances are, the agency has already made those mistakes and tested the waters. Use its knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals. Just because the agency may not have used the tactic in your exact industry, doesn’t make it invalid information.
Agencies have fresh ideas
Being so close to your product or service doesn’t always allow you to see it the way other people do. And let’s be honest, we get so busy, we just continue to go with the same things we have been doing because it is easy and saves time. A good agency becomes an extension of your team. It gives you a fresh set of eyes to look at your marketing and open your eyes to some new ideas. It always made me feel like I had 10 more people on my team that I didn’t’ have to manage every day but knew they were talking about my company and creating some new ideas for me to drive more business.
Agencies have clout
Let’s face it: Agencies deal with the media all day long — 24/7, 365. They are going to have a better relationship with them than your internal team. PR is the cheapest advertising out there and it is free. We all love free.
Every company in town is trying to get the media to pick up their “story,” usually with many unanswered emails and messages. Agencies have some clout. Use it. They have the ears of the media based on placement volume and years of relationship building.
Change can be difficult
Working with a marketing agency can seem outside the comfort zone. However, it’s important to realize that marketing agencies are there to help solve your unique challenges in a way that works for you. This may mean helping in one specialized area or being a comprehensive marketing partner.
Every organization and team has different needs. An agency can be exactly what a marketing manager or marketing team needs to help them accomplish a goal or take the organization to the next level.
Jenn Cline is a sales and marketing consultant for ABC Creative Group and the Business Journal News Network. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org