It’s a general rule (so take with grain of salt), but for most SMBs the cost of hiring a marketing agency is probably in the same ballpark as hiring a full-time marketing employee (not including the costs of things like Google AdWords or online advertising, media buying, etc.).
And I’m sticking to this rule.
I’ve written about the real, actual, true costs of hiring a marketing employee vs an agency before, and I continue to (biased-ly) believe that businesses could get a lot more bank for their buck by hiring a marketing company.
Here’s a few reasons:
- Access to an Entire Team
- Multiple skill-sets and range of experiences
- Business Continuity (Agencies won’t quit or leave)
- Know what’s worked for other B2B Businesses
- Efficient Systems and Software often already in-place
- You’re Not Paying for Recruitment, Training, Benefits, Equipment, Taxes, Vacations, Sick Days and other Employee Expenses (while an Agency is a Business Expense)
- The Outsider Advantage of assessing your Brand and Business
- Speed and Scalability to easily increase staff and resources as needed
- A Single Contact for all your Marketing Needs
- Measurable Results and ROI
Why Hiring an Agency Isn’t Necessarily Outsourcing
Now I’m speaking for my own agency, but I don’t think that hiring a marketing company for your business should always feel like it’s “outsourcing”.
Granted an agency team is not on your payroll, but here’s what it can look like working with one:
Forget monthly check-in meetings. These days I often am available for quick chats on Skype, phone, email, or am just a text message away. Just like a lot of businesses have virtual employees, agency staff can be available for quick questions, tasks, and updates.
Real-Time Lead Gen
I think a lot of businesses that hire marketing agencies worry about ROI, and don’t know if they’re getting their money’s worth. But with tactics such as PPC or paid search, clients can get alerted with every new lead in real-time – every form submission, every download, and even every phone-call if they please.
That way they’re seeing results every day, not just waiting for that monthly check-in meeting.
A sign of a good marketing agency is when you can count of them for things other than the standard work you’ve contracted them to do. I don’t mean asking them to do things outside the scope of work, but relying on them as a soundboard for businesses decisions. Some questions we’ve received over the years:
- Will purchasing domain X add to my SEO value and rankings?
- Is this email (or email campaign) CASL or CAN-SPAM compliant?
- What else could our company be doing that our competitors aren’t?
- Should I be using a marketing automation tool and if so, which one?
- How should I be using social media for our company’s multiple brands?
The more you work with a trust your agency, the more you should be able to lean on them for strategic advice and direction.
Benefits of Knowing Your Biz
As an agency gets to know your business, it should feel less like an outsourced marketing company and more like an extension of your marketing team.
The big advantage of this is that agencies can be more proactive vs reactive when it comes to your marketing – not just doing work assigned but helping build your business as if they were a regular employee.
- Identifying potential bloggers and influencers to engage to help promote your product or services
- Leveraging their network for potential partners, resellers, or even customers for your business
- Introducing new tools, technologies, and practices that could benefit your biz
- Recommend trade shows, workshops, or events to attend or speak at
- Use other client relationships to cross-promote where there’s a similar audience
At the end of the day, your agency shouldn’t feel like another company, it should feel like another team member.
That doesn’t sound a lot like “outsourcing” to me.