An outside marketing agency is the ideal way to manage a hefty campaign, brainstorm when it's time to develop new campaigns, or head up a new strategic undertaking, such as developing a new website, converting from an outbound marketing strategy to inbound marketing, or deploying marketing automation. But the outside firm is often met with resistance. It's easy for the employees to view contracting with an outside firm as a vote of no confidence in their own skills and abilities.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Bringing in an outside marketing agency is actually a tremendous help to the in-house team. The outsiders can compliment the talent and expertise of your employees, and can add a fresh perspective on your business and the industry, reviving in-house efforts and rejuvenating their ideas. Plus, when resources are stretched thin, an outside agency is an excellent way to fill in those gaps and make fewer resources work to the fullest advantage.
What does an outside agency bring to the table? How can they fix what's not working in-house as well as it should? Let's find out.
What Can a Marketing Agency Bring to the Situation?
A common argument against bringing in an outside agency is that outsiders don't know your corporate culture and aren't intimately familiar with your business. That's actually one of the most potent arguments for outsourcing. It's the old forest-for-the-trees adage. Your marketing team is likely so steeped in your 'corporate culture' that delivering a fresh, unique approach has become impossible. An outside agency can step in, show your team new perspectives on the same old products and brand, and revitalize efforts that have stagnated over time. Here are the additional benefits of outsourcing some of your marketing endeavors:
An Outside Agency Brings Specialized Expertise
Agencies that provide outsourced marketing services generally keep on staff (or in some cases, on contract) specialists for all sorts of marketing niches. For example, maybe you need someone with strong skills in marketing on fringe social media channels, such as activist sites. Or, perhaps you need some savvy in developing videos with high SEO value, or want to establish your executives as industry thought leaders through guest blogging opportunities. Agencies either employ or contract with various experts, including copywriters, website developers, Web application programmers, videographers and photographers, and other professionals needed to supplement marketing's talents from time to time. Bringing in an outside agency gives you direct access to these specializations, which can be difficult or impossible (not to mention extraordinarily expensive) to recruit, hire, and retain on your own.
An Outside Agency Brings a Fresh Perspective
This has nothing to do with talent -- the most incredibly talented marketing guru on the planet can become stale when looking at the same material day in and day out for years on end. In fact, that's one of the reasons many of the most talented marketing pros are attracted to careers with agencies as opposed to working for a company's in-house marketing department. Their ideas and creativity don't become tainted by boredom. When creative folks like marketing pros are constantly exposed to new ideas, concepts, and materials, it's easy to keep a fresh perspective. But when you've had to reinvent messages for the same brand and products over and over and over -- well, it gets old. It becomes difficult to breathe new life into what are essentially endlessly rehashed ideas. That's why an outside firm can come in and knock the ball out of the park on the first pitch. They aren't better or more talented than your own team. They just have the advantage of a fresh perspective.
An Outside Agency Has Established Relationships with Publishers
Marketing agencies deal with publishers, the media, top-tier bloggers, and others on an ongoing basis. They have established relationships, a strong rapport, and a mutual understanding about how things are and the way things get done. Hence, it's always easier for these guys to get your marketing messages and content where it needs to go faster, with less hassle, and almost certainly cheaper than your own team could. It's the difference between a frequent flyer knowing all the ins and outs of scoring a free upgrade to first class versus a first-time flyer trying (and failing) to do the same.
What are the Obstacles of Doing All Your Marketing In-House?
It's not just about what your inside team can get from outsourcing. It's also about helping your own marketing team overcome some of the obstacles that stand in their way. Here are a few of the obstacles that you can overcome by opting to partner with a marketing agency.
In-House Teams Lack True Objectivity
Every company that's been in business for awhile has established ways of doing things. "This is what we do, this is the way we do it, therefore this is the right way to do it, and the only right way to do it." Those words probably aren't articulated that way out loud, but you get the drift. While that may work well in terms of sticking to policies and procedures, it's kryptonite to the Superman of marketing creativity. An outside agency comes in with an objective perspective. They aren't totally in love with the new line of products, and they aren't totally sick of the old line. They're neutral. They are objective. This helps the marketing team get past biases that all employees naturally develop and carry about the company, it's brand, and its products. With objectivity comes a blank slate of marketing creativity. There is no bias for or against -- only a new perspective with which to work and use to spark new creative thought. That is marketing gold, right there.
In-House Teams Have a Limited Capacity
Even with a phenomenally talented team, there are only so many of you. When you're working with inbound marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, and likely a fair amount of traditional marketing channels, as well, just collecting and analyzing the metrics for all these activities is an overwhelming job. An outside firm can take over some of the responsibilities, so that your team can ease up on those 80-hour work weeks and perhaps see their kids a time or two before they all graduate college and leave the nest.
In-House Teams Can be Hard to Keep Full of Great Talent
Hiring top notch talent in most any field is becoming more difficult. Marketing is no exception. The hiring process is long and tedious, the job pool is often too shallow, and once you get a great member onboarded and trained, who's to say they aren't off to one of your competitors with their experience, talent, and a whole lot of insider knowledge about your business? This is particularly troublesome for businesses in smaller cities, where there just aren't many job seekers in marketing, and it's harder to lure someone from another city or state. Marketing agencies work under confidentiality agreements, so even if they do contract with one of your competitors, all of the proprietary secrets of your organization are kept safe -- just like if you hired a lawyer or visited a doctor.
In-House Teams Cost More Money
There used to be a common misconception that it was more expensive to contract with a marketing agency than to hire in-house staff. That's not true. As the total cost to recruit, hire, train, and provide benefits to workers continues to skyrocket, you can get an agency for significantly less money. Plus, when the job's done, there is no severance pay to worry about or other unsavory disadvantages of issuing pink slips.
When Do You Need to Consider an Outside Marketing Agency?
Excellent times to consider supplementing your in-house marketing team with outsourcing include:
- When your own team is overworked and stressed out (never expect brilliance from someone who barely has time to sleep and eat)
- You need to find new revenue streams & drive stronger company growth
- Your team has been struggling in a particular area (such as getting website traffic up, effectively leveraging social media, implementing or using marketing automation, or other specific marketing tasks)
- Your team has been using the same marketing channels since someone named Bush was in the White House
- Your team is overly focused on tactics and is losing perspective when it comes to strategy
- Your marketing results are lackluster
As you can see, there are many ways an outside agency can support, supplement, and inspire your in-house marketing team. For most businesses, it isn't actually an either-or question, it's a matter of leveraging both to their fullest possible extent.
- What Can a Marketing Agency Bring to the Situation?
- What are the Obstacles of Doing All Your Marketing In-House?
- When Do You Need to Consider an Outside Marketing Agency?
At Inbound 281, our marketing approach begins with a solid commitment to match highly targeted strategies with your company's own goals and objectives. We are passionate about helping customers navigate the complex and often confusing landscape of digital inbound marketing. We are equally dedicated to helping businesses connect with their customers in a more meaningful, lasting way.
In everything we do, we seek to inspire your audiences with content they want, content they need, content they like, and content they can actually use. We do this by means of strong inbound marketing and web design stragegies that are proven to work for business, corporate, and enterprise marketers.
What's involved in hiring an agency to help with your inbound marketing efforts? It's easier than you think! Contact us to get started now.