should you hire a marketing agency or market yourself?

There’s a lot you can do yourself. But should you?

The Internet is one of those amazingly empowering places that sells everyone on the DIY dream in almost every aspect of their lives. After all, that’s what blogging is largely about: putting information in your hands so that you can understand a topic well enough to make informed decisions.

I’ve known marketing agencies that are hesitant to turn the keys over to their client. The question they ask is, “if we show them how to do this, will they still need us?” It’s a question that puts the marketing agency’s needs before that of their client, and it’s one we don’t ask ourselves. If you can do your own marketing—and if it’s the best choice for your business—then you don’t need us. But there are a lot of good reasons why you may still want us.

1. You don’t want to become a marketing expert.

Your industry is your expertise. You know it more thoroughly than any marketing agency. And any marketing agency that isn’t willing to work shoulder-to-shoulder with you to create content and run ads that speak to your industry’s needs isn’t worth your business. But a lot of marketing requires specialized knowledge that agencies have earned through years of hands-on experience.

You can learn that stuff, but doing so will be a significant investment. Sure, you could delegate learning most of this stuff to an employee. But if that employee leaves you’re going to be stuck training someone new—and hoping they don’t leave as well. And at the end of the day, hiring or training a new employee to handle your internal marketing isn’t likely to spare your budget much.

2. It’s not your cup of tea.

Ask yourself: Do you actually want to do your own marketing? If the answer to this question is “no,” then why would you? That’s not why you started your business. In fact, for many businesses, marketing is a chore more than anything else. And even when they recognize its importance, items on their marketing “to-do” list tend to get shoved aside in favor of other projects.

Instead of tasking yourself with a bunch of marketing initiatives you don’t want to do, why not pass the work on to people who like it so much they do it for a living? The experience we bring to the table is what we’ve learned from tracking industry developments, attending conferences, and testing niche marketing tools so you don’t have to. Why not take advantage of it?

3. You don’t have the time.

We’ve worked with businesses who are very marketing savvy. They understand it, they enjoy it, but they’re overwhelmed by work and don’t have the time to handle it on their own. Because of this, all the great ideas they have for marketing campaigns, newsletters, and blogs fall by the wayside. A month goes by, then two, and pretty soon they realize that they don’t have any marketing to speak of, and it’s going to hurt their business.

Everyone’s priorities are different. Yours are to meet your customer’s needs, to make that client meeting, approve the latest stock order, etc. Ours is to make sure your marketing runs like clockwork. Wouldn’t that be a relief?

4. You want the most bang for your buck.

Remember all those marketing tools we mentioned earlier? Those conferences we attend, that industry news we follow? It’s a lot to keep up with. And that’s each of us, in our specialized fields, pursuing that knowledge so that we can bring our best work to our projects.

The reason why marketing agencies are such a great investment is that you get a full team of people for the fraction of the cost of a single employee. You have access to the expertise of a full-time graphic designer without having to hire a graphic designer full-time. The same holds true for your copywriter, your marketing specialist, your sales lead, etc. No single person can match the professional knowledge of all these people combined, and even if they could, their salary would be through the roof.

And yet, because you’re only paying for a few hours of time from each of these people per month, the final budget comes out to less than what you would pay a full-time employee. Add in the tools we use (design programs, keyword trackers, CRMs, etc.), and the fact that you don’t have to manage all those programs, and you start to get an idea for why agencies really are one of your most cost-effective options.

Find a team that will work with you.

A good agency doesn’t want to leave you in the dark. On the contrary, they want to answer your questions, let you in on their secrets, and de-mystify the process as much as possible. Because by doing so, they know they will grow your confidence and your appreciation of all the good they’re doing for you and your company.

So, if you’re just starting out, you’re interested in learning about marketing from the ground up, you enjoy the process, you have the time to manage it all, and you don’t have the budget for anyone else (including an employee), then it makes sense for you to handle your own marketing.

But for anyone else? Hiring a marketing agency isn’t about whether or not you can do it yourself. It isn’t even about whether you could do a good job. It’s about whether doing it on your own is the best business decision for your company. Marketing isn’t so complex that you couldn’t do it yourself. But it is time consuming. It requires some expertise, and it demands a lot of attention and maintenance to be run effectively.

So, if you’re thinking about working with a marketing agency, don’t listen to the ones that want to confuse you with their jargon. Do look for the ones that emphasize transparency and collaboration. They’re the ones that will take your business ahead.

Published 08/10/17 by Laura Lynch