Stuff Business Owners Should Know Before Hiring a Marketing Agency

marketing-dollars, marketing-budget, marketing-agencyFew businesses can escape the need for marketing. According to some estimates, Nike spent around $2 billion on marketing last year alone. But for everyone who doesn’t have a few hundred million dollars to spare for advertising, making the most of what you have is crucial. That’s why more small businesses are turning towards marketing agencies.

Why Hire a Marketing Agency?

Contrary to many expectations, marketing agencies may help you save money in the long run. Marketing your business is a must, and a professional marketing firm knows exactly where and how to invest each of your dollars to maximize their benefit to you. They’ve got educations in marketing and years of experience in the business. They know how to be maximally effective with their time and have the resources and connections on hand to do so. Furthermore, never underestimate the value of an outside perspective that a third party can bring to your business. Not only does your inside perspective often keep your thinking “inside the box,” but a marketing agency—that works for your business gives it a unique vantage point from which to dispense the best possible bias-free advice.

What Else?

Any first rate marketing firm will pride itself on keeping up with the latest trends in marketing, meaning that they will know which social media websites are going to give your type of business the best returns, how to appeal to a company’s specific demographics and how to tap into markets that your business may be missing out on. Ever wonder why so many businesses outsource their legal needs to a law firm, as opposed to taking on a staff lawyer? As a business owner, externally hiring people, or “outsourcing,” enables you to expense your tax returns. Hiring a marketing agency is no different. 

How To Pick a Marketing Agency

You could spend hours reading about exactly how to pick the right marketing agency, but for the short and sweet version, there are a few main tenants of consideration. First of all, don’t fall into the misconception that you need an agency with experience in your industry. While it doesn’t hurt to have prior experience, it’s far from necessary. Agencies that do have prior experience or specialize in one niche of marketing are usually excellent at what they do, but that niche experience can also mean that the agency has a fairly small repartee or frequently sells the same marketing again and again. It’s crucial to find a program that can meet your precise needs rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. 

While cost is obviously an important consideration, don’t be drawn in by expensive or inexpensive depictions of per-hour rates, because these rates are usually misleading and often irrelevant. Experienced marketers might charge five times the rate of an inexperienced marketer, but may get the job done ten times as fast and just as well as a novice. The best way to approach the cost question is to have budget parameters going into your selection and to constantly get cost estimates for each and every project you sign off on. Most important, make sure to have realistic expectations about the cost and returns long before any contracts are signed.