Deciding when to bring in the expertise of an outside marketing agency is an important – and difficult – decision for any growing company. When is the right time to make this serious investment? We’ve collected some of the most common indicators that it may be time to get help.
- Your Company/Competition is Growing
When is your in-house marketing staff not enough anymore? It’s a tough question to answer, which is why many growing businesses remain unsure when it comes to hiring an outside agency. Let’s make the math a little simpler: If you find your business rapidly expanding, it’s time to expand marketing along with it. If you don’t have the resources or knowledge to expand properly, then it’s time to seek outside help. If you are still in doubt, cast an eye over to your competitors. If they are working with third parties and creating more complex marketing campaigns, you should be following suit.
- You Don’t Have a Social Media Strategy
Growing businesses have a love/hate relationship with social media. On one hand, social media is user-friendly and most platforms are largely free to use. On the other hand, ROI can be tricky to measure and creating a true social media campaign requires top-down planning, the right tools, and much more. If your company hasn’t made the jump from “lone intern posting to Twitter when they think of it” to “scheduling blog posts based on our most recent analytics about type of content and time of day with highest user engagement” then you may need advice. Launching social media strategies is a common agency expertise area these days (this goes double for mobile optimization, another field you should be considering).
- You’re Not Analyzing and Optimizing Your Metrics
Businesses have two problems here. The first problem is never getting around to picking out KPIs (key performance indicators), putting into place data collection, or reviewing lists and spreadsheets – if you produce them at all. The second problem is picking a few metrics to measure – say, ad conversion – and never changing, never comparing and never applying those metrics rigorously to your sales funnel. So whether metrics are largely absent or just unattached to useful decision making, you are missing the core of results-focused marketing. It’s time to bring in help.
- Your Ideas Have Become Stagnant
Let’s switch to a more intangible issue – a lack of ideas whether out of sheer workload, a lack of experience in the market, or old-fashioned writer’s block, businesses come to a point where they just aren’t producing new marketing ideas. Content, channels, annual events: It all becomes static. When campaign messaging and tactics remain unchanged, it’s likely you’re not attracting as many new customers as you could with a new technique. An agency can bring in new viewpoints, new ways to brainstorm, cutting-edge ideas, and trends to follow – plus, skilled consultants can set up these new tactics in an ongoing strategy that ensures you will always have access to creative options.
- You Need Help Solidifying Your Brand Message
This concept may sound a little nebulous, but this usually demonstrates itself in one of two ways. The first is rapid growth when marketing departments are called on to rapidly increase the production of content in many channels. There may be new hires, quick promotions, the adoption of brand new systems, and other changes. It can be very difficult, in the midst of this growth spurt, to ensure the company’s brand messaging and tone remain the same in all marketing materials. The second is when the design team sacrifices brand consistency to create something new. The same font and colors your design team may get bored of are the same ones your customer identifies as your product. When trying new things, it’s important to maintain brand consistency. An outside agency can help provide valuable oversight that keeps the brand message and visual branding centered, focused, and appealing.