Marketing agencies are an essential part of the digital marketing ecosystem. Agencies provide strategic marketing guidance and expertise.
Nobody can do it all. No matter how good your marketing team is, there is going to be expertise and experience they don’t have. Fortunately, there is a marketing agency somewhere that does. They are an essential part of the martech ecosystem, filling gaps and providing insight faster and (hopefully) less expensively than you could do yourself.
If your company engages in advertising campaigns, chances are you have already considered using the services of an agency. Whether businesses should bring in external expertise or rely on internal talent is an age-old conundrum and a tough decision to make. It requires careful consideration of industry trends and a detailed understanding of your marketing objectives and capabilities.
With user preferences changing rapidly, you need to constantly rethink your advertising strategy to stay relevant in the advertising scene. In light of this, it may be wise to bring in an external agency with expertise in the changing advertising landscape and the best practices within it.
Important factors when considering external help
The decision to bring in external help is context-specific. You can choose to outsource a specific campaign or your entire marketing vertical, depending on the requirements of your business.
Consider the following factors while making this decision:
The complexity of your campaign
If you plan to use a single-channel approach with a relatively straightforward campaign, you can use in-house talent. However, the nature of advertising has changed; most campaigns now use multiple platforms. In fact, using a multi-channel approach enables you to reach the most potential customers.
Selecting multiple platforms and coordinating their use requires considerable time and energy. Additionally, it also requires cross-channel expertise. Agencies can guide which channels are the most effective and in what combinations. They also centrally manage your campaign, making it easier to track the impact of various platforms.
The skills of your internal talent
The advertising landscape is subject to constant changes. Constantly upskilling and retraining your employees to match industry requirements can be a fairly expensive affair. In addition, hiring full-time employees each time a specific marketing need arises can blow up your marketing budget.
You should also consider what technical tools your team can access and use effectively. Is your internal marketing team able to successfully track customer data and campaign performance? Certain third-party agencies specialize in leveraging data to generate high-impact campaigns.
While hiring external agencies can be more expensive than producing an in-house campaign, you should also consider the marginal benefit agencies provide. Advertising agencies aim to keep their teams updated with current market trends. Hence, the quality of the content they produce can be remarkably better than the output of your internal team.
Is the additional cost imposed by external agencies offset by the additional benefit they provide? That is the primary question to consider from both a quantitative and qualitative lens. You can also consider your past experiences while making this cost-benefit analysis.
How to find the right agency
Finding the right agency can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re taking external help for the first time. All advertising agencies are not the same; different firms specialize in different aspects of advertising. You should consider your marketing objectives, requirements, and budget to identify the right agency for your business.
The following process can help you shortlist the right agency:
Do diligent research
The fundamental purpose of conducting detailed research is to ensure that an agency’s expertise aligns with your advertising objectives. First, determine your budget. This will help you eliminate agencies that fall out of that budget and focus on a smaller pool. Additionally, you can also tap into your network or analyze your competition to determine which agencies are the most popular in your industry.
Next, outline your requirements in detail. Do you need help with the creative or technical aspects of advertising? Or do you prefer getting support for both? Certain agencies specialize in leveraging data and using sophisticated artificial intelligence tools to optimize the reach of your campaign. Others specialize in producing creative and engaging content. It is crucial to understand which agency is likely to help you meet your objectives.
Listen to pitches
Invite shortlisted candidates to present their pitches. Typically, this process involves agencies understanding your budget and requirements in detail and proposing their plan of action for your campaign and business. As part of this process, agencies might take a close look at your past and current campaigns on platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
The pitch will give you a concrete idea of what to expect from the agency and will allow you to judge whether their expertise can support the marketing needs of your business. You can finally hire the right agency depending on which pitch aligns best with your objectives.
Finding the right agency has numerous benefits for your business:
- Save time and energy. By relying on external experts to produce high-impact campaigns, you can focus on the core functions of your business. Streamlining your core functions can considerably improve your sales revenue and reduce costs. Further, the cost of hiring and training new employees can be higher than working with an agency.
- Leverage the latest technologies. Advertising agencies stay up-to-date on shifting market trends. From tracking data to employing AI tools, agencies can supplement the work of your in-house team to produce high-impact campaigns. This can give you a competitive edge and help engage your audience effectively.
- Get an external perspective. An outside opinion can be valuable, especially from an expert. Being closely attached to your product, brand, and customers might narrow your perspective and be an impediment to producing an impartial and effective campaign. Expert advice and multiple perspectives from professionals can improve the creativity of your marketing efforts.
How are agencies adapting to changing trends?
The advertising industry is witnessing considerable startup activity aiming to compete with traditional agencies. These startups are leveraging cutting-edge technology, such as AI, to help circumvent the problems arising from privacy law restrictions and increased competition.
There exists an agency to cater to every niche of advertising and marketing. If you have clear objectives and a fair assessment of the limits of your in-house talents’ capabilities, you can consider using an external agency to supplement your marketing efforts. Agencies can help you produce state-of-the-art, effective, and technology-backed campaigns that can provide the highest return on your investment. While identifying the best agency for your needs is a time-consuming process, the right agency partner can supercharge your marketing efforts.
The following Akshat Biyani from 2022 provides their research perspective. HERE