Prior to founding LimeLight Marketing, I was a Senior Marketing Manager for LEGO® Education North America. Working for the world’s #1 ranked brand, and a marketing powerhouse at that, was an exciting venture and I learned a lot through that experience. One valuable insight I gained was understanding why and how a marketing team benefits from working with a marketing agency.
During my career at LEGO, our marketing team grew from a team of six to a team of 13. You might think that with a marketing team of that size there wouldn’t be a need for marketing agency support. Yet we found that working with professional agencies was an important part of our marketing plan and that finding agencies that treat you like a partner can feel like an extension of your marketing team. But let’s start from the beginning…
What is a marketing agency?
A marketing agency contains all the skills, knowledge, and expertise businesses need to either support their in-house marketing function or act as their marketing team. Marketing agencies vary widely in size and skillsets. Some specialize in digital marketing, for example, or even in the disciplines within digital: SEO, web design, social media, etc. Larger agencies tend to offer the whole range of digital marketing services, including things like offline, print, and TV advertising.
What does a marketing agency do?
Your agency can do as much or as little as you need them to (and this will also depend on your budget, of course). They can create a strategy, implement your marketing tactics, advise on channel direction, etc. One of the great benefits of marketing agencies is that they’ll provide you with the up-to-date expertise and technology you may not have in-house.
Why did I hire a marketing agency?
Here are the top 3 reasons I chose to hire marketing agencies as an in-house senior marketing manager:
Reason 1: Agencies provided expertise in specialized areas of marketing
In today’s digital world, there are so many specialized roles in marketing such as social media, website design, development, strategy, creative design, search engine optimization, PPC, and many more. Trying to find individuals for each and every role can be a daunting task.
Few companies are able to hire in-house employees for every role that the company will need. Often times hiring in-house is not the best option because these specialized areas didn’t require a full- or even part-time position. There are only a few aspects in digital marketing a certain in-house employee can cover which is why they are almost ineffective in terms of cost. The cost of hiring and maintaining an in-house team can be far more expensive than simply hiring a marketing agency. Aside from providing the right skills for each marketing strategy, a marketing agency offers their experience and knowledge to put your business out to your audience.
I found that hiring an agency that had experts who focus in specialized areas every day could be more efficient and effective than trying to handle it in-house. It also helps save on extra salaries, time, and training. Every company will always take their time to train the employees they hire for a specific role. You won’t have to spend valuable time on training if you have a marketing agency. With a marketing agency, there is no need for training because they are already experienced in developing and growing brands. They are capable of understanding various business models in order to establish the right marketing program. The only training that you can possibly invest in, is the time it takes for the agency to understand your business and audience.
Reason 2: Agencies helped us scale to fit business needs
As our business grew, so did our marketing needs, but it wasn’t always at a consistent and predictable pace.
There were months that were extremely busy and other months that felt manageable. There were roles that required 5-10 hours a week, but not a full 40.
Working with agency partners allows us to meet business needs in peak times with added support and capacity. If you can relate to this, you might consider hiring a marketing agency.
Reason 3: Agencies helped us prioritize and focus
Each year our leadership team would assess what new roles to hire the following year. Like most growing companies, there were always more requests than the budget would allow, so we were forced to prioritize.
We frequently asked ourselves: is this something we should hire in-house or something we should outsource to an agency.
This exercise allowed us to focus on hiring the right roles at the right times and using agencies to fill the gaps and maintain focus on all the necessary and opportunistic work. Without an agency, it was easy to deprioritize and push projects to the back burner simply due to capacity or lack of focus.
The competition in finding and hiring experienced talents for your marketing roles is high. Most businesses will pay top dollar to hire and retain qualified talents. If you’re looking for quality talents than you may need a high budget to get the talent you want. You won’t have to worry about this as much if you were working with a marketing agency. They can always optimize the marketing strategies you require for your current marketing needs.
What’s right for your business?
If you plan on working with your in-house employees it’s also good, but you should always know when you should seek the help of a marketing agency. Always look for key indicators that tell you that you it’s time to call a marketing agency. A major indicator if you need a marketing agency is if you notice that your marketing team is not getting everything you want done. Your in-house team has a lot to cover, it’s only natural that they may fail to accomplish some things as they continue to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends.
Another key indicator that you need a marketing agency is that if you notice your sales and growth decreasing. There are many factors that affect the sales and growth of the business and one of those factors is marketing. Marketing is vital for business growth and if you have a marketing agency to back you up, you can focus on the other factors that could be affecting your business growth.
The reality is – there’s a ton of work to do when marketing a business. You should aim for your business to be able to cover all the aspects of marketing. This is to ensure that your business is making the right steps in getting your brand out to your prospects.
You need time. You need resources. And you need budget to make it all work.
If you find your team strapped to execute all aspects of your marketing plan, you might consider talking to a marketing agency who can be a trusted partner to work as an extension of your marketing team.