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Masooma Memon on March 19, 2021 (last modified on March 17, 2021) • 18 minute read
Want to hire a marketing agency?
If you’re nodding yes, I’m sure you have a million questions buzzing around in your head at the speed of light:
Is it worth the investment?
Perhaps I can do it all myself or get the team to do it?
Our results are stalling, but competitors are soaring, maybe we should work with an agency?
No matter what you’re thinking, we’ll answer it for you right here, right now as we dive into the why and when of hiring a marketing agency.
Briefly, we’ll discuss the following today:
Throughout the piece, we’ll look at the experiences of others like you, who’ve questioned whether they should hire a marketing agency and decided in its favor.
These people come from various backgrounds with the majority working in the marketing/communication field. The rest are professional service providers, eCommerce businesses, software companies, and others.
Ready to make some decisions? Dig in:
The first question that pops up when it comes to hiring a marketing agency is, of course, why should you hire one.
Fortunately, the advantages far outweigh the investment and initial work you put into working with a marketing agency.
So, let’s look at the chief reasons why you should hire a marketing agency:
Hiring a marketing agency is way more economical than hiring and training new employees.
This is despite the fact that most people (or, at least, 27.3% of the folks we surveyed) consider insufficient budget a constraint when it comes to working with an agency.
“It is more cost-effective than hiring an employee (benefits, vacation, sick days, etc.),” explains Margaret Geiger from Twelve31 Media. Basically, “you are hiring a pro at a lower rate than hiring an entry-level person.”
On a side note, to give you a cost idea, the majority, around 65%, of our respondents share they spend less than five thousand dollars on an agency per month.
“The main benefit is that you’re able to hire a team of experts in their fields instead of hiring internally a jack of all trades (average at everything but master of nothing),” opines Growth Hackers Agency’s Jonathan Aufray.
“Indeed, when you work with an agency, you will have access to web designers, copywriters, data analysts, PPC advertisers, social media managers, content creators, SEO experts, and more. If you want to hire those skills in-house, you will need to hire 10 people. Working with an agency instead is cost-effective.”
It’s why HomeTree’s Daniel Foley rightfully puts it: “Outsourcing roles that require specialized knowledge makes sense.”
Explaining further, Foley writes: “to draft your contracts, you don’t enroll in a part-time law program; instead, you hire a lawyer. You don’t do your own taxes; instead, you hire an accountant. The same can be said for marketing.
If you bear the entire burden of running a business on your own, including marketing, you may eventually succumb. Don’t let your company become your kryptonite. Maintain your composure while allowing an agency to contribute their expertise and resources. An organization would be a specialist in their area.”
Michelle Palacios of Giant Partners, Inc. brings another important point to the table. “Agencies provide a fresh set of eyes and new perspectives on how to promote a business.”
“By outsourcing marketing, you have experts working on your business 24/7 who have collectively more knowledge than a single person,” Palacios adds. What’s more, “agencies have access to many different tools, so the value is much more than just what they pay them. They have the intelligence, network, and background to execute the various campaigns at scale.”
Not to forget, the skill and tools that agencies offer help them create data-backed strategies for your business. Palacios talks about this as well: “Marketing agencies are able to use lists and other data in order to make informed decisions. Effective data utilization can make a huge difference in lead conversions and make the most of any marketing budget.
Especially for small businesses who cannot afford to hire in-house data analysts to take those numbers and translate them into omnichannel campaigns in creative ways. It is time to hire a marketing agency when you are not seeing measurable and actionable results from your current efforts.”
It’s clear that marketing agencies are cost-effective, help you save time, and offer skilled expertise that you can’t learn overnight.
Making up your mind to work with an agency? Awesome. Let’s tell you when it’s the right time to hire a marketing agency.
But, first, here’s an overview of the ten most important reasons for hiring a marketing agency:
And, here’s a list of when to hire a marketing agency with the details below:
You can always do the legwork yourself – draft a strategy, analyze what competitors are doing, get the right tools you need, and even execute the strategy. Except, it can lead to a waste of time and resources since it doesn’t guarantee results. And, who is to say, you’ll get all the strategy and execution part right in one go?
A fruitful alternative then is a marketing agency that knows what to do. It’s why Paul Kim from Groovewallet suggests, “Hiring an agency is a great way to get initiatives started when you’re exploring new marketing channels for the first time.
For example, if you’ve never done SEO at your company, it’s usually more cost-efficient to hire an agency rather than try to build a team of full-time employees.”
Besides, “hiring an agency [also] makes more sense is if you need extra hands/minds working on a specific strategy. For example, if your SEO team needs help scaling out more links each month, it could make more sense to work with agencies rather than increasing your employee count.”
On a similar note, Gina Lee De Freitas from Ideas Made Measurable (IMM) observes, “It may also be time to look for an agency when you are at a critical moment of change such as moving into eCommerce, launching a D2C brand, or expanding the footprint of your business.”
“When brands are going through a transformation, either driven by them or for them – as has been the case with many during the pandemic and the shift to all things digital – you need an agency to ensure that you are taking the right step, making smart investments, and measuring your progress along the way,” De Freitas explains.
“Often, brands are so strapped for time and resources that they are only concerned with ‘getting it done’ and not stopping to understand if what is being done is driving the business in the direction it needs to go.”
As a starting point, De Freitas says you “start with asking yourself:
If the answer is yes to either or both of those questions, then you probably need to bring in an agency to help do some of the heavy lifting as well as be that strategic partner, that sounding board, that you always wished you had.”
Hire a marketing agency “when you know EXACTLY what your goals are,” recommends TJ Kelly. “If you’re still in a general ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ discovery phase of your marketing, an agency is the wrong move.
Sure, there are some unicorn agencies out there who excel at helping answer those questions, but that’s really more a sales or business consultant question. Marketing is a means to an end. If you can’t adequately define your ends, a marketing agency is the wrong move.”
Editor’s note: Know your marketing performance by keeping tabs on important monthly metrics such as your leads, SQLs, MQLs, conversions, visits by source, and more. Track them all on one board called the HubSpot Marketing Performance dashboard.
If you don’t have the right skill set to crack a marketing strategy, you’ll only see limited growth.
TampaCoverage.com’s Melanie Musson shares their experience related to this: “An honest review of our marketing results showed us that we were making minimal progress in attaining our goals. A lot of effort was invested but even though we hoped for the best, we weren’t seeing growth.
We realized that instead of focusing on what we were good at, we were trying to succeed outside of our strengths. We needed to allow an outside marketing agency to use their strengths so we could use ours.”
It’s for this reason that Tiffany Lewis from More Meaningful Marketing comments, “you’ll know [when to hire a marketing agency] if you experience either a lull, a steady decline, or a complete stop in the results you’re expecting from your campaigns.”
Rafe Gomez of VC Inc. Marketing shares another useful tip: “An easy way for a company (startup or established) to determine the right time to hire a marketing agency is to look at the results that your competitors are generating and compare them with yours.
If your internal efforts aren’t able to keep up with or exceed the PR, SEO, lead gen, or sales outcomes that other firms in your space are locking in, then it’s time to seek outside guidance from an experienced services provider.”
Gomez continues, “This smart move can help correct your course, put some points on the board, and become a threat to the firms that had previously been eating your lunch (and maybe your breakfast, dinner, and bedtime snacks as well).”
Editor’s note: Understand how well your marketing and sales efforts are reaping by tracking your monthly leads, daily opportunities, deals closed per month, and other metrics on this free Marketing and Sales Overview dashboard.
This one’s a no-brainer.
“Hiring a digital agency is ideal when you have confirmed that a given marketing channel will deliver a positive ROI for your business, but you do not have the resources or expertise to manage it in-house,” SoftwarePundit’s Bruce Hogan says.
“Finding the right agency partner is critical – one that adds value, is cost-efficient, and takes ownership over operations. This is necessary to ensure that bringing on the agency has a positive ROI, and allows your business to scale operationally.”
“When looking at your business you have to know how much your time as the owner or CEO will cost the business,” notes Jesse Heredia from Ravecode Solutions.
“Usually, this number is very high and when you don’t have enough time to do certain tasks, you have to weigh the importance of each goal and see which merits your personal attention.
If there is a certain task that will help the business but can be outsourced, then this is the sign that you should look into hiring outside help. When you no longer have time and the return on investment is clear, what will benefit your business the most will be to outsource so you can focus on more important things for your business.”
ManyChat’s Fara Rosenzweig agrees, “If you spend a great deal of time on marketing efforts and excel in another part of your business, then it’s time to hire an agency. Time is valuable and can cost a lot. Sometimes spending money in an area that can speed up your marketing efforts will help you fast-track your marketing goals. Think about cost vs. time.”
Want an example? At DiscountCarInsurance.org, the team decided they couldn’t do without a marketing agency after realizing they didn’t have “the time, energy, or resources to execute an excellent marketing strategy on our own,” Vickie Pierre shares.
“We wanted our business to have a strong social media presence. For us, that meant having a combination of consistent posts, as well as creating targeted ads with strong videos and eye-catching graphics.
But when it was all said and done, we just didn’t have the background or expertise to execute what we were looking for. For our team to go out and get the training, purchase the equipment, and put it all into practice, it would not only be time-consuming, but it would also be costly.
In hiring a marketing agency, we were able to share our vision with experts who had the tools and understanding to execute our strategy well. When it came to digital marketing, they knew the best strategies, they knew the research, and they knew the data. When it came to video, they had a track record of producing high-quality work with results.
Best of all, they always kept us informed of how our ads and social media accounts were performing. We could discuss what was working, what wasn’t, and make adjustments along the way. In the end, we could continue to do our jobs while they did theirs.”
Lastly, Perfect Search Media’s Rob Nimmer shares another point as Nimmer recalls their experience “there was an inherent feeling that ‘there has to be a better way to do this’. In our situation, we were doing a decent job.
However, many of the tasks that my team was doing were not maximizing their skillset. The difference between our in-house team doing a ‘good’ job and an agency partner doing a ‘great’ job has meant tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue.”
Now that you’ve read through other’s experiences, let’s also tell what agency owners have learned from their clients on why they decide to work with them.
We’ve two experts talking about this. To begin with, Precise Creative’s Nikki Corbett writes, “As an agency owner, I typically see businesses coming to us for one of four reasons:
Similarly, Greta Simeonova of PAN Digital Marketing shares their clients’ ‘why’ behind working with a marketing agency. “From speaking to our clients, we’ve noticed that there are a few common signs that make people make the decision to hire a marketing agency to help. These are:
Oftentimes, the reason for hiring a marketing agency is to exit the loophole of slow sales.
If your sales team is complaining that there aren’t enough good leads to convert into customers, if you’ve noticed that your business is solely relying on current, loyal customers and you’re not growing your client database, or if seasonal shifts are causing your business to lose leads, maybe it’s time to call an experienced marketing agency.
Another sign that you need help from a marketing agency is if you don’t have an experienced, qualified, and capable marketing team in-house.
If you have a single marketing professional working to create and maintain your whole marketing strategy, chances are that the results won’t be great. There are so many different aspects of marketing and it’s essential to have a skilled team.
Unfortunately, it costs a lot to hire one internally and pay monthly wages. A lot of companies have discovered that it’s much more affordable to work with an agency and have access to their pool of knowledge.
If you feel that you’re spending too much money on your marketing efforts and not really getting the returns you’re after, this is a clear sign that it’s time to work with a marketing agency.
Due to the vast experience of working with clients from different business areas, a marketing agency will be able to help you focus your marketing budget on marketing activities that are bound to give results. Your current marketing efforts are left to chance.
Lastly, if your in-house marketing team is experimenting with different marketing strategies but doesn’t really have a clear focus or expectation about results, this is a sign that you’re leaving everything to chance and you don’t have a process in place. Marketing agencies are well-known for working according to detailed step-by-step processes that are result-proven.”
As for which services others are hiring a marketing agency for, the most popular answer we learned is digital marketing.
Strategic communication planning, web development, and media planning and buying are the next most important services.
Chances are you realized you’re in dire need of a marketing agency’s help as you read through when to hire one. If that’s the case, we have the next steps outlined for you below.
“Firstly, ask for recommendations in your network; match the right agency to your specifications – there are plenty of marketing agencies around but check their specialisms,” outlines F&G Funnel Mechanics’ Sarah Green.
“Marketing is a massive subject – all agencies are different from their culture to their services. It is important to find the right fit to get the best results,” Green continues.
As you identify the perfect fit, keep the following two factors in your mind: “cost and reliability – how confident are you that you will get value for money?” suggests TwinklHive SEO Service’s Dan Rawley.
“It’s also important to ensure you have a good understanding of the work that will be undertaken on your behalf, and why that work is valuable.” Speaking of which, you’ll need to do some work internally besides looking for the right agency.
To this end, Vye’s Andy Brown highlights quick steps to take:
A smart agency will have awesome tools to make this process comprehensive, effective, and fun.
Make getting crystal clear a priority. This is key to holding yourself and your agency accountable.
How do you know if your sales and marketing efforts are successful? Ask yourself this question and establish clear deliverables and timing.
Keep track of your progress. No big brother approach here. Have fun and celebrate your wins. You live in a complex world with ever-changing business dynamics. Your dream agency will help you unlock new bandwidth and increase your effectiveness.”
Laura Rike of Laurarike.com also recommends you ask yourself: “What results you can realistically expect from the marketing agency, what investment level is needed [and] what steps will get you more leveraged results.”
Remember, “the money they stand to bring in through expert marketing will ultimately be more than the cost of that marketing,” insists Jessica Mason from Jessica Mason Marketing.
So if you’re hesitant about making the investment, don’t be. “While onboarding may be a larger investment, a good marketer will have the conversion with you about ROI and what makes sense to spend on marketing vs. what you are earning from that marketing.”
In fact, “Regular reviews of analytics and reporting will ensure you are recovering your initial spend, and inform you on what efforts have been most successful,” reminds Mason.
The right agency can help you grow exponentially. To recap, you can tell when to hire a marketing agency when your team can’t take on more work, you don’t have the time and resources to execute an expertise-demanding strategy yourself, and your growth has stagnated.
“The exact moment will differ by the company and their unique situation [though],” concludes Niles Koenigsberg of Real FiG Advertising + Marketing.
“At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself one question: ‘Is our current marketing strategy effectively delivering results on a continuous basis? If the answer is no, then it’s time to seek the outside support of a marketing agency.”
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