Should You Hire a Marketing Agency

Should you Hire a Marketing Agency for Your B2B Business?

These past few years have been a wild ride, to say the least. As a marketer, you’ve likely found yourself pivoting, recalculating, and rolling with unexpected changes time and time again. Maybe you’ve considered hiring a B2B marketing agency to support your efforts amid change and uncertainty. But how do you decide if an agency would be the right fit for your organization, especially right now?

Hiring a skilled, best-fit marketing agency at the right time brings many benefits. They offer scalability, plan continuity, quick talent sourcing, resource savings, and niche expertise. This year especially, marketers are needing to be scrappier and learn how to do more with less. For many marketing teams, this means leaning more on outsourced services. Although hiring outside support for your marketing team might sound appealing, it takes the right agency and expectations to see these benefits come to fruition.

Over the years, I’ve seen that the most successful agency-client relationships come from true, mutual partnerships underpinned with realistic expectations. These partnerships stem from a willingness to collaborate and a desire to make the marketing agency an extension of the internal team. 

To figure out whether or not you’re ready to hire a marketing agency, it helps to think through what the agency can do for you and ask a few questions about these possibilities:

  1.  Do the key decision makers within my organization know what to expect from a partnership with an agency, or do we need more time to educate on these expectations or the role of marketing in general?
  2.  Do we have the proper internal infrastructure to work alongside what an agency can and can’t do?
  3.  Are we in a good place to accept outside perspectives, or do we need to understand our positioning better first?

In this blog post, I’ll cover what a marketing agency’s staff can do (and the benefits they can bring) and what they cannot do.

What can you expect a marketing agency to do?

A successful working partnership with a marketing agency starts with the right expectations. When you hire a marketing agency, you can expect the staff to:

Bring new perspectives and expertise to the table

A marketing agency can help you and your team generate fresh ideas. Your team can hire a generalist marketing agency or pick one specializing in content, martech, website design, social media, demand gen, etc. They’ll bring third-party expertise in their specific field, uninfluenced by the day-to-day bias of your organization. This new perspective could change the course if your in-house marketing team seems stuck in a rut or circling around similar ideas and initiatives. And if you’re in a specific niche, you can even consider hiring a niche marketing agency that aligns with your particular industry, vertical, etc. 

Help your team shape and execute a proactive marketing strategy

A proactive plan will yield better results than a reactive or inconsistent approach. It means you can set up infrastructure for planning strategically, executing thoughtfully, and measuring results thoroughly.  It also keeps your entire team heading in the same direction. A proactive marketing strategy empowers the whole marketing department to march towards the same goals, guided by specific KPIs that map back to these goals. 

Complete the heavy lifting

Hiring a marketing agency means you and your team won’t have to worry about some of the “heavy lifting,” such as drafting blog posts, auditing websites and content, executing campaign development, implementing brand messaging frameworks, conducting customer interviews for case studies, sending out emails, implementing martech tools, posting to social media, and more. This will give you and your team the bandwidth to focus on more strategic initiatives. 

Accelerate the growth of your business

Unlike hiring full-time in-house employees, you can quickly augment your scope of work with the agency as needed. Whether your marketing budget increases, a higher-up decides to prioritize a new sales/marketing initiative, or a product launch comes up on the horizon, an agency’s staff can step up and fill in the gaps. 

Tap into a whole network of experts 

Typical B2B marketing agencies don’t exist in a vacuum; the staff has connections and former colleagues they can tap into as needed. It’s a more extensive network than what you can access in-house. 

The agency will also have focused subject matter expertise, such as designated SEO experts, graphic designers, video specialists, etc. Even though you’ll have a specific team or point-of-contact servicing your organization, you can leverage this agency-wide talent pool as needed.

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What you can’t expect a marketing agency to do

However, marketing agencies do have limits. If you, or any decision makers, have false expectations, it’s a sign that you might need to focus on marketing education or internal coordination before hiring an agency. 

You cannot expect a marketing agency to:

Drive projects from start to finish without help from your internal marketing team

You can’t just set the marketing agency loose on a project and expect them to see it through. Although they’ll get lots of heavy lifting done, they still need participation from your end. You and your team must actively participate in the agency’s efforts by:

  • Guiding the agency toward the right SMEs and making introductions when needed.
  • Facilitating fast-paced feedback loops (especially as the agency ramps up and gets to know your business).
  • Signing off and finalizing projects.

As a good rule of thumb, at least one point person and a few SMEs should be present and involved in the relationship with the marketing agency.

You’ll see the best results from your agency when you accept them as a trusted partner. 

Immediately provide results upon hiring

B2B marketing agencies are used to working with multiple companies at a time and can ramp up quickly to learn your business and put specific processes in place. But, the agency still needs time for deep thinking and learning. Before judging the agency’s worthiness and value, give them about 3-6 months to acclimate. They must adjust to your org’s unique business needs, communication style, hand-off processes, and other workflows and operations. 

In addition, some marketing projects take time to show tangible results. An SEO initiative could take several months to show results, for instance, as it takes time for content to gain traction with search engines.

Complete every task without strategic prioritization 

Before starting any project, the marketing agency needs a brief, a call with internal stakeholders, or other clear guidelines. They will also need time to strategize and delegate the right resources. As a result, only some marketing projects are a good fit to pass off to an agency. Others, such as a quick task that needs to be completed within 24 hours, might require the immediate attention of a full-time employee.

And as with any other project-based service, it’s important to remember the iron triangle of project management. The agency can only prioritize two items from this list (and not all three): time, budget, or quality. After all, agency staff aren’t magicians. If they prioritize time and budget, you will see an impact on quality; if they prioritize budget and quality, it will take more time, and so on.

So while you can give your agency a bunch of ad hoc tasks to complete, you’ll probably see a better return on your investment by employing their efforts on deeper, more strategic work.

Is it time for your team to hire agency support? 

A collaborative partnership between a marketing agency and a client can lead to massive wins. But to build this type of partnership, you and your organization must have the right expectations. 

It’s also important to note that this relationship will look different depending on the type of agency you want to hire and how your marketing team is structured. Sometimes, it just takes starting a conversation with a potential agency partner to see if they fit your needs and expectations.

Here at Megawatt, we love helping B2B tech businesses dream up innovative strategies and produce high-quality content, helping lean and busy teams achieve their marketing and sales goals. We’re passionate about supporting B2B tech businesses amid economic uncertainty. Building transformative relationships is core to our values as we seek to know our clients as people and build trusted rapport with them.

Did the tech layoffs impact your marketing team? We can help you keep your content marketing engine running. Contact us today to learn more about our content services.  Contact us today.

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