Enlisting the services of a marketing agency can be a good idea when you are trying to take your product or service to the market. These agencies have wide experience dealing with clients just like you and they may give you relevant feedback, data and up-to-date analysis of market trends for your business. They also tend to recruit the best talent in each of their departments as a way of assuring quality service.
With talent, experience and marketing tools at their disposal, marketing agencies are seemingly the best option for any business. However, agencies are not for everyone. Don’t get it wrong. Before you enlist the services of a marketing agency, you should first consider the value addition you will get.
1. You are the only employee
If you are the only person in your business, you should think hard before using a marketing agency. There are a lot of things you will have to do when alone. You’ll have to coordinate customer service, strategize on the relevant content you need and still be able to check on your organic interactions, and other relevant metrics for your business - not forgetting you will still be looking for new business (how else will you make money?).
If this is too much for you to handle, you can bring in a marketing agency to handle everything for you. However, most agencies will charge a premium for this. So if you are the only person, have an unlimited budget and don’t want sleepless nights, then a marketing agency may work for you. On the other hand, it’s good practise to have an in-house marketing expert or freelancer who will be ready to coordinate with your marketing agency in order to cut the costs of hiring the agency on a full-time basis.
2. You are only looking for web design
Many people look for a marketing agency whenever they want a website designed. This is not a bad idea at all. However, if you are thinking of developing a website and then just waiting for business to come your way, you have been misinformed.
Web development and design is an on-going process; it doesn’t simply end when your site is up and running. For you to make conversions and have your business seen by relevant audiences, you’ll have to invest in marketing. This is where a marketing agency comes in. If you are a start-up and don’t have enough capital for hiring a marketing agency, you can leverage the power of social media for your own marketing campaign. Simply have a freelancer develop your site and then start marketing it across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google. This will cost less and you will learn valuable things about marketing along the way.
3. Have an idea but no product
You might have a great idea that is in the development phase, and want to bring a marketing agency on board. This is quite normal and many people do this. A marketing agency will help you familiarize and create a product that taps into your target market. Some successful app and service start-ups have leveraged the combination of marketing agencies and infrastructure development to come up with solid end products that have been successful.
However, this is only possible if you have an unlimited budget that can accommodate both your developers and marketing agency. It’s better to concentrate on the beta product first, have it launched and then bring in the expert analysis of marketing agencies in order to propel your product to further heights.
4. You don’t have the stability
This is especially common in start-ups. Many people hire marketing agencies, start their projects and have to pause halfway. This may be due to cash-flow problems, staff changes or pivoting. The last two are hard to change but you should definitely have an idea of how you will fund the whole process of hiring a marketing agency.
It doesn’t make business sense to spend money on marketing and then stop halfway through the process. Marketing is an ongoing process and the chances are that you won’t get the success you envision immediately, but if you are patient enough it will come. So don’t hire a marketing agency if you are looking for quick results, but don’t have enough money to sustain the whole process.
5. Have a not so user-friendly website
Your website is your company’s first impression on potential clients. If it’s outdated and lacks user friendliness, the chances are you are already losing potential clients. Marketing agencies usually come in to market your product through different channels in order to direct people towards your website. If your website is outdated, this whole process will be futile.
There are many freelancers that can help revamp your website to match current web technologies. So before you even think of bringing a marketing agency on board, you should check whether your website is user friendly.
6. Unreasonable expectations
This is common with many businesses. Marketing agencies have many clients on board. Therefore, your budget only translates to the number of hours they will be working on your project given the talent and experience they have.
Some businesses expect to make a lot of money just because they have hired a marketing agency. If you want to be successful, you should first strategize and set realistic goals to be met. Some marketing agencies will help you with this. If you expect to just sit back and wait for business, you might be disappointed.
7. You don’t know your long-term business goals
Using a marketing agencies means you need to know exactly what you want to achieve when you hire them. They expect to hear your long-term goals and what you want to accomplish.
If you still don’t know where exactly you want your business to get to, then a marketing agency will do less to help you with your business. You are better off hiring an in-house, or remote marketing expert to help you streamline your goals first.
8. You are not ready to scale
This is especially true for service and app start-ups. A marketing agency will only help you acquire new customers. If you don’t have a plan of how you will scale once you have a lot of business coming in, you should first re-strategize. Don’t waste your resources if you are not ready to fulfil orders from the increased exposure.
9. There is a lack of ongoing news
Some businesses are propelled by current trends in the market - but trends come and go. If you are in the low season, i.e. there is no interesting news to push your product, it’s better to hold onto your money rather than give it to a marketing agency. It doesn’t make sense to market vigorously when no clients are willing to buy the product. Just follow the trends, strategize and get the services of a marketing agency at the optimum point.
Marketing agencies can be helpful to your business, but only if you hire them for the right reasons. If you are still thinking about how to set-up your business and run it, then you are better off waiting before hiring one.
Do you have suggestions, tips or dissenting opinions? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below.