Should your business hire a marketing communications agency, or handle your marcom need in-house? This is a critical decision for every business and one that is vital to success. There are certainly pros and cons to both, but if you want to grow your business, hiring an agency to handle your marketing is the right choice. Why?
Marketing communications is an extensive umbrella that covers countless skills and many specializations. You have public relations mavens, social media experts, paid search managers, crisis communications savants, media buying specialists, content and digital media experts…and the list goes on. Expecting a handful of individuals to effectively cover all the necessary skills is highly optimistic. The phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” comes to mind. By spreading your team thin, you definitely won’t get depth of experience, and will likely have a difficult time achieving maximum results for your marketing campaign.
Agencies offer experts with depth of experience in the specializations you need to establish and shift your marketing strategies quickly and innovatively. Relying on an agency to implement efficient and expert tactics gives your team breathing room to focus on objectives, engaging your internal teams, and confirming that marketing implementation is driving results.
Marketing communications agencies typically work with clients of different sizes, in different markets, across different industries and with different needs. This diversified portfolio and breadth of experience offers proven executions, fresh ideas and different perspectives. It is also beneficial for identifying and injecting new opportunities into your marketing campaign, to help you stay ahead of marketing and consumer trends that can be harder to see from an insider’s perspective. Whether it’s something as simple as enhancing your current campaign or as big as re-branding your business for a better customer experience that sparks sales, an outside perspective gives businesses a leg up on the competition, room for growth, flexibility and scalability.
When it comes to paid media, marketing agencies have relationships with a large list of vendors, media reps and media buying specialists. These specialists are familiar with current media rates, how to negotiate for the best ad price, and when the best times are to place your ads. Since agencies buy a lot of advertising space, they get better rates and are more likely to be presented with fire sale offers. Utilizing its strong vendor relationships and significant buying power, an agency can negotiate pricing and get the best deals and placements for your business.
The same goes for digital advertising. When you spend a lot of money with companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing, more perks are available to you. While your business may not have the budget to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these digital platforms, an agency manages many clients at once, which adds up to a lot of ad dollars. As a result, for example, Google will give agencies access to “beta” products before they are available to everyone else (e.g., ad extensions, responsive search ads, etc.), and designated reps help agencies improve campaigns.
Agency relationships with digital platforms also allow for faster customer service support to address blocked accounts and other problems with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn campaigns that are urgent and often challenging to fix.
On the public relations front, agencies foster close relationships with reporters and editors across many beats with local, regional, national and trade media. Agency media relations specialists can make one phone call or send one email pitch and deliver quick results. In moments of crisis, experienced issues management specialists can guide communications and engage with reporters to minimize reputational damage better than inexperienced generalists.
“What gets measured, gets improved” — Peter Drucker
Measuring and tracking results is crucial for businesses these days—but the truth is, measuring and analyzing your campaigns can be difficult and time-consuming. Optimal reporting requires processes, expensive software, tracking implementation and more, which is why agencies invest a lot of time and money in media tracking, research and content management systems (CMS) to track and measure results. Often, these systems and software packages are well outside of many organizations’ marketing communications budgets, and internal teams often don’t have the time or expertise to analyze the resulting data.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is measuring campaign results using vanity metrics such as “likes,” impressions, clicks, etc. These are important, but don’t often impact the bottom line. Knowing what does, and measuring those metrics correctly can help you improve your marketing tactics and ultimately improve your bottom line—this is something marketing agencies do best.
Last but not least, hiring a marketing communications agency is often more affordable than hiring and maintaining a comprehensive in-house marketing team. As surprising as it may seem, hiring an agency is truly more cost-effective.
For example: let’s say your business is in Buffalo and you need a strong digital and PR presence. For direct hires, you’d need to hire a Social Media Manager, Paid Search Manager, Media Buyer, Public Relations Coordinator, Web Developer, and a Marketing Manager to oversee the team. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for these new hires would be more than $300,000, before accounting for employee benefits, third-party software/research fees, etc.
Marketing agency costs and fees will differ from agency to agency, but often ultimately cost less than what it costs to hire an in-house marketing communications team.
There are many reasons to choose an agency, to keep your marketing in house, or to have a combination of both. Ultimately, hiring an agency will make your life easier and drive results more efficiently and cost-effectively. Let us handle driving awareness, leads, and customers to your business, while you do what you do best: engaging your customers and providing them with the best products and services.
Michelle is the CEO and founder of Tipping Point Communications, driving results for her clients for more than 15 years. Thinking about hiring a marketing agency to help drive results for your business? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk!