The Blue Kite Blog

Should You Hire A Digital Marketing Agency?

By | July 27, 2015

There is an interesting trend happening in the marketing space right now – many companies are deciding to bring their marketing efforts in-house.

As my good friend Mark Schaefer shared on his blog last week, many larger companies are opting to leave their agency relationships behind in favor of building their own marketing team.

In a lot of instances, it makes sense to build a marketing department. For example, I believe that content marketing is always stronger when created by your own team because you own the knowledge and expertise. The same can also be said about social media.

As Mark mentioned in his piece, when you’re in the business of building relationships (either online or off), that’s not something an outsourced team can do very well. That’s why you must have people on your team who are responsible for this.

Signs You Need a Marketing Agency

Despite the shift to bring marketing in house, there are still plenty of times where it does make sense to bring in a marketing agency for your business. A digital marketing agency can indeed add value to your business. The trick is determining when a digital marketing firm makes sense for your business and understanding how an agency can help you.

If you’re not sure when this makes sense, here are some top signs that it might be time to bring in some outside help.

1. You have a marketing problem that needs solving.

One of the biggest reasons to get help from a marketing agency is that you have a marketing problem to solve.

Maybe that means sales are down. Or, you’re not getting enough qualified leads.

Maybe increased competition is hurting your business.

Maybe no one knows you exist.

Or, maybe your marketing efforts aren’t getting results.

If you’re experiencing any of this, a marketing agency can be helpful to you. Marketing firms are great at problem solving and looking for ways to further optimize your efforts. And, if you’re not sure exactly what the problem is, marketing agencies can often be helpful in identifying and diagnosing that as well.

2. You lack direction or strategy. 

When one of our clients came to us, they knew they need to be marketing, but they didn’t know where to spend their time or resources.

They would randomly run ads in publications and call that marketing. Marketing became a box that needed to be checked instead of strategic effort to help them grow their business.

If your marketing simply consists of a random selection of activities you do when you think about it, it might be time to bring in a marketing agency.

An agency can bring focus to your marketing efforts and create a marketing strategy to help you reach your business goals.

3. You lack time and internal resources. 

Is marketing one of 15 hats you wear at your company? Or, do you have a long to-do list of marketing initiatives that never seem to get done?

If so, it might be time to get some outside help.

Sure, you might know what needs be done. But if you’re never able to cross items off of your to-do list, it’s doing you very little good for your company.

Bringing in some extra hands can free you up to focus on the things that you do best. An agency can bring focused attention to your marketing efforts and ensure that your marketing plan actually gets implemented.

4. Your marketing is stuck or stale.

Let’s face it. When you’re in the weeds of the day-to-day operations of your business, it can be challenging to come up with fresh ideas. Because you’re so close to your business, it can be difficult to see potential problem areas or opportunities for growth.

That’s where an agency can really help you. Because they are looking at your business from a new perspective, they can see things in a way that you can’t.

Not to mention, agencies are often stacked with creative minds and problem solvers. If your marketing is stuck or stale, some outside reinforcements can be a great help.

5. You lack skills or expertise in certain areas.

If you’re a small-to-mid-size company, chances are good that you have a small marketing department to match. Heck, you might even be a one-man-marketing-band.

As a result, it can be difficult or nearly impossible for your small team to keep up with the dramatically shifting digital marketing landscape. After all, we don’t just have three or four marketing channels available to us today, we have hundreds. And, that can be downright overwhelming.

There are so many different practice areas within marketing today that it’s very likely your team might have skills gaps in specific areas. For instance, your team might be great at content development and social media, but you struggle with social media advertising or search engine optimization.

If you find that your team lacks expertise in certain areas, an outside agency could be a great asset. Depending on the volume of needs in those areas, it can often be more cost effective to outsource those tasks to a marketing agency instead of hiring a full-time employee.

Or, if you don’t want to have a long-term relationship with an agency, you can hire them to train your team in the areas where you need help.

6. You can’t afford to hire a marketing department.

Many smaller companies need additional help with marketing, but they simply can’t afford to build a team of full-time employees to do the job.

And, in a lot of cases, it might not make sense to do that. In today’s fragmented marketing world, it can be far more cost effective and productive to bring in a marketing agency or even a freelancer to build your marketing team.

After all, it might be difficult to get all of the skills you need in the two or three people you need to hire for your department. Hiring an agency can give you a broader spectrum of talents for the same price (or often even less).

7. You don’t know what’s working.

Do you know which marketing efforts are producing results for your business?

If you have trouble tracking your marketing efforts or identifying where your business is coming from, a marketing agency can help you figure this out.

Good marketing agencies should be able to help you build measurement dashboards and systems to better track your efforts. From there, a marketing firm can also provide recommendations for testing new ideas to improve results.

Marketing Agencies Can Help Your Business

Certainly, there is a time and a place for marketing agencies. Although they can be incredibly helpful for your business, you have to know when it makes sense. Because, as Mark pointed out, there are times when it’s better to build your own team in house. But, if you can’t do that, marketing agencies can add real expertise and value to your business.

What do you think? When do you think it makes sense to hire a marketing agency?

P.S. If this post has you thinking you need some marketing help, click here to schedule a time to talk to me. I’d love to connect with you to see if we can help your business!