How does a business know when to hire a digital marketing agency versus solely relying on an internal team? While the answer depends on the industry, business size, and budget, the advantages of using a digital marketing agency are extensive.
Beyond the cost-savings of employing internal experts in high-level marketing positions, digital marketing agencies can help grow your business in various ways.
They Conduct Comprehensive Market and Audience Research
Most businesses know that having a clearly defined target audience is essential for growth. And, some companies go as far as creating customer avatars to be even more effective in crafting content that targets a specific segment of the audience.
However, digital marketing agencies are more likely to conduct comprehensive market and audience research to help businesses articulate their potential strengths, competitor challenges, and overlooked opportunities.
Even if a business has invested in market or audience research, a digital marketing agency takes this process a step further into the realm of data validation – a resource most small or medium-sized businesses do not have.
Using data validation tools and conducting A/B testing, an agency is more equipped to help businesses identify the types of content or products most likely to resonate with its audience and help them bring those ideas to life.
They Offer Diverse Perspectives and New Ideas
While planning and brainstorming are often exercises businesses say they believe in, few put these into practice regularly. Furthermore, even fewer businesses allow employees the leeway to explore out-of-the-box ideas or the time to develop new theories fully.
Digital marketing agencies are experienced in this area and have developed systems around effective brainstorming, story mapping, and customer journey ideations. In addition, because they are outsiders to the business, they offer diverse perspectives and fresh ideas that internal staff members may not bring.
Agency teams also define the processes and systems required to test new ideas and theories without putting the business at risk. For example, if handled internally, a staff member may advocate spending an entire month’s advertising budget on a new campaign that does not ultimately move the business forward.
However, a digital marketing agency is skilled at incorporating new ideas while keeping return on investment in mind and not abandoning all current strategies.
They Know Which Tools Are Best
Most businesses understand the value of having the right digital marketing tools at their disposal to make their efforts easier to manage and more effective. However, even those that operate effectively in this space often lack access to enterprise tools that make scaling a realistic approach.
With so many digital tools available, it’s nearly impossible for businesses to know which ones are best and, even then, to have the time and resources for training and implementation.
For example, software solutions like Sendinblue, which help businesses automate, segment, and market, may not be on the radar of an individual company but may be very familiar to agencies. Or, other enterprise software solutions like AWS or project management software like Monday are all examples of tools agencies can help businesses implement where appropriate.
They Offer Objective Analysis
There’s nothing more difficult for business leaders than to ask team members for ideas, give them the freedom to implement new ideas, and then deliver negative results or feedback. However, when businesses use digital marketing agencies, they can forgo these difficult conversations.
While teams should still be a part of planning and forecasting, the analysis, testing, and changing strategies often fall to the marketing agency. These agencies have extensive experience in offering an objective analysis of plans and giving honest and unbiased feedback on the success of a campaign or initiative.
This process of relying on the agency allows business leaders to encourage their teams to keep iterating and learning instead of getting bogged down in delivering discouraging feedback.
Agencies also know when it’s time to pull the plug on a campaign and call it a learning experience instead of digging in deeper when results aren’t likely to change. But, for businesses, keeping this mindset can be difficult, and emotions or relationships are likely to get in the way.
Plus, when agencies brief employees, they are more likely to be receptive to the feedback and open to new ideas, versus getting stuck on feeling like their internal peers are acting in an unfair or biased manner.
There is no singular right time to bring in an outside marketing agency to help your business grow. The decision to move in this direction is typically a result of stagnant campaigns, increased staff turnover rates, or a radical shift in the industry.
However, some businesses start with an agency, and others never get to that point. As they evaluate their business goals, review and analyze past performance, and build a team, it often makes sense to partner with a digital marketing agency, at least for a short time.
At worst, the business discovers that working with an agency is an added expense that isn’t manageable long term. At best, the business experiences unprecedented growth, helps employees learn and grow, and discovers new opportunities to thrive.