Who Needs an Agency? Four questions to ponder when trying to decide
We are often asked, “How do I know when I need an agency?” or “Do we have the right situation to hire an agency?” An agency can be a critical tool and resource to help your organization generate revenue. Of course, many executives come with their biases either for or against agencies, often based on past experience. Regardless, these four questions should help you decide if you need an agency partner.
# 1: Do I need an outside perspective?
Many organizations fall into a rut when trying to make strategic marketing decisions. It is easy within an organization to fall victim to groupthink or feel like you know the answer and do not need an outside perspective. Successful companies may be particularly vulnerable to this, as success breeds confidence. However, what made you successful today will not necessarily enable you to reach greater heights tomorrow. An agency team has most likely worked in dozens of scenarios similar to yours and can bring that experience to bear for you.
# 2: Are there creative skills or specialized expertise that my team lacks?
It can be challenging – and expensive – to build an in-house team with every skillset from web programming and PR management to writing or graphic design. An agency is a great way to access specialized talent of many different types, including highly creative talent. Additionally, even if you were to hire a writer or a designer, you are stuck with the style of that singular person. Use an agency to tap into multiple creative resources at one time.
# 3: Do I have enough work for a full-time hire?
What should your organization do when you need one-quarter of a writer, one-half of a designer, and one-third of a PR manager? You are stuck with two poor options. The first option is to hire a jack-of-all trades, which is highly unlikely to be successful. And, even if you found this person, it is unlikely they will be equally good at all of the things you are requesting them to do. Or, you can over hire in each slot and try to fill up their time with activity – another poor option. This is where an agency excels, by providing fractional resources across multiple disciplines. And, as your needs evolve over time, the mix of the fractional resources can be easily changed.
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# 4: How agile and responsive does my marketing department need to be?
Marketing is often seasonal, for example, around a tradeshow season or an annual buying cycle. This leads to a situation where a tremendous amount of work is needed in a very short amount of time. The same can happen with a big product launch or an acquisition. An agency can move quickly to deploy resources around the times of the year when you are crunched. And, if you are growing too fast and can’t keep up, an agency provides greater flexibility to ramp up resources for these business situations.
What now, since I have answered the four questions? Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – there are certainly other reasons to hire an agency – but they are a great start. If you answered the above questions objectively, you are in a position to decide whether it is a good time to add an agency to your go-to-market mix. If you need an outside perspective, specialized expertise, fractional resources and greater agility or responsiveness, chances are the time is right to consider an agency partner.
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