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Should I Hire A Marketing Agency? 3 Signs It’s Time To Upgrade

When a new small business is first launched, the head of marketing is usually the same person in charge of everything else: The owner. That may work for a while, depending on the nature of the business – you are your own best selling point. Sooner or later, though, you need to go to the next level.

Entrepreneurs pride themselves on wearing many hats, but marketing is a full-time job. It takes years to learn what to do and when to do it. Since most marketing now takes place online, there’s always a new tool or technique to learn. Standing still is as good as going backward.

Eventually, your strategy needs to pivot from the one-on-one relationship marketing so many service-based business leaders are good at. Instead, you need to reach the right audience at scale and build a relationship of trust before you even meet for the first time.

Partnering with a marketing agency at the perfect moment supercharges your growth. It helps you double down on your existing strengths and create new ones. And the investment develops over time into a lasting competitive advantage. But that doesn’t mean every business is ready.

Hiring a marketing agency can be your best move – but there’s a right time and a wrong time.

How can you be sure you’re ready for the next step?

These three signs mean you’re on the right track:

1. You Have a Challenge Marketing Can Solve

Marketing is, bar none, the best way to connect with an eager audience and turn more of those people into customers. But there are many other challenges and growth opportunities for which marketing, no matter how well-designed, doesn’t offer the right toolkit.

Before partnering with a marketing agency, it’s a wise idea to have a vision for where your business will go next. That gives you the ability to verify that your biggest opportunities are marketing-related – and that nothing else will stand in the way of those opportunities.

Ask yourself:

  • Are your existing customers pleased with your product or service and how it’s delivered?
  • Is your team actively contributing to the customer experience with great customer care?
  • Are your operations efficient, reliable, and repeatable, helping keep costs under control?

These issues are critical because marketing will expand your reach and accelerate your business. That may be like pouring fuel on the fire if customers are getting turned off by service issues or finding that, after the honeymoon period, your offerings don’t necessarily suit their needs.

An experienced marketing team is enthusiastic about what marketing can do, but also realistic. It’s not a cure-all. Making the most of it can mean asking yourself some tough questions. Bring your team around the table to clarify the long-term vision and address areas for improvement.

Ideally, you should be looking at smooth sailing for two quarters before you bring a marketing agency on board. That doesn’t necessarily mean that sales and revenue are flying high – after all, that’s part of how marketing can help – but that you’re getting a solid grade from your existing customers.

2. You Can Ramp Up to Service the New Customers Marketing Will Bring You

The biggest reason your fundamentals need to be solid is that you’ll soon be building on them.

Introducing a marketing agency gives you capabilities you’ve never had before. It may start with growth of 1% or 2% in your marketing metrics – but before long, that growth compounds. You can see double or triple the numbers of people you’re used to. That could be exactly what you want … or a disaster.

Luckily, there’s no such thing as “overnight traffic.” Even when you’re using online advertising to get eyes on your website quickly, you still need a strong marketing base before your ads will be profitable.

Even with 10x results from your marketing, the odds you’ll be dealing with an influx of thousands of new customers in weeks are slim. But even if a bustling crowd in your waiting room is still over the horizon, you’ll save yourself a headache later if you have plans in place for hiring now.

Some businesses are more scalable than others. Customers might need less one-on-one attention or less time overall. Because they have “stretch,” these firms bend with the unexpected. Others can’t cut down on personal attention – it’s the nature of their business. As a result, they need to plan ahead.

Many companies have found, often to their horror, that going viral was more of a curse than a blessing. They could navigate it for a while but soon found themselves over their capacity. That means snapping back to normal like a rubber band. And the sting can be just as harsh.

Ramping up can be rough, and it can also make your business bigger than its sweet spot.

Consider carefully.

3. You’re Willing to Commit to Get a Real, Professionalized Marketing Function

What does it mean to have professional marketing?

It means everything is there under one roof. It means consistency (which often means “no freelancers.”) It means you don’t have to pay extra for tools, technology, or education because your marketing agency partner should bring it all. In our opinion, the formula is:

5x the work at 10x the quality for 1/2 the cost

We ran the numbers and found that it costs more than $7,779 on average to employ just one marketing director. That person, in turn, needs to do all the footwork to recruit and train an in-house team. When all is said and done, you could be waiting a year or more to even start getting benefits.

By contrast, you can engage a marketing agency’s services for about half the cost or less than hiring that employee on average. The key? The first month plants the seeds, but it takes time to bear fruit. You may start to see results in 90 days, but the impact becomes most obvious when you’re looking back at your first full year.

Here’s the catch.

All the things we listed above can be used as excuses to put your marketing spend on the chopping block. In the early going, there’s always something that looks more serious, more urgent. But if you aren’t investing in tomorrow, you’re ceding the future to your competitors who are.

Luckily, an agency-driven marketing strategy is more like a tree growing than an egg hatching. Using the data generated by your website, social media, email marketing, and many other fronts, your team will be there to keep you in the loop. You can see exactly what’s happening, step by precious step.

Ready for a Marketing Agency? Call New York Ave

If you’re thinking about a marketing agency, the time to start a conversation is now. With New York Ave, you’ll get what you need to make an informed decision: Personalized advice from experts who’ll listen to you, take stock of your goals, and give you the facts about what you can expect.

Contact us to get started.

Need marketing? Get 5x the work at 10x the quality, for 1/2 the cost with an agency.

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1 Average median salary in Florida for ‘Marketing Director’, based on research by Glassdoor. 2 Retirement calculated at 3% contribution, based on research by 3 Health premium average calculated by ranges provided from a 2016 Health Benefits survey. 4 Total employee average calculated at first year and includes the following considerations: $4k onboarding and training, $1k software and subscriptions, and $3.75k outsourcing help. Total agency average based on Florida-located, full-service agency.