You’ve heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” In that vein, companies find that working with a marketing partner offers benefits that make them never want to go it alone again.
We touched on some of these benefits in our article that compared hiring an in-house marketing person vs. a marketing agency. Marketing agencies provide:
- Experienced, diverse skillsets
- Ability to hit the ground running
- Fresh perspective
Most importantly to many business owners, a marketing team can frequently be hired at the same cost as a single in-house person, and sometimes even less.
Yet, although it’s a business relationship, the company-agency dynamic has more depth than a company-vendor relationship. A marketing agency is not a vendor in a traditional sense. When you hire an agency, you’re not choosing a good or service from their showroom, paying for and receiving it and then going your separate ways until you’re ready to do business again.
Rather, you enter a true partnership in which you work together, frequently over an extended period, to achieve one or more goals. With this in mind, the level of success hinges on the amount of communication and collaboration that takes place.
When you have an ongoing, regular relationship, both parties benefit. Read on for our list of reasons to get closer with your marketing partner.
1. Stay Up to Date on Marketing Trends
Do you keep up with Google algorithm updates? Have you read the latest research about the best days and times to deploy marketing emails? Are you plugged into current advice from content marketing experts?
Don’t worry if you’re not. You’re definitely not alone. Most business owners and even many internal marketing people aren’t plugged into the daily happenings of the marketing world.
Here are a few of the possible reasons why:
- Too busy/not enough time
- Lack of resources to implement new processes/technologies
- Feeling that it does not apply to their department/company
- Not fully understanding the news/information available to them
When you work with a marketing partner, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the latest marketing trends and deciding how relevant they are to your business operations. Your agency will take care of that for you.
With experts specializing in areas like SEO/SEM, marketing automation, content and social media, your marketing agency has an entire team that stays in the know. They can take what they learn and pass it along to you so you can collaborate and map out the best path to continually improve your marketing.
It will save you time and enable you to evolve without blowing your marketing budget.
2. Better Define Goals and Objectives
We don’t need to tell you that goal-setting is a critical component of marketing. Without goals, you have no way of knowing if your campaigns were successful.
When defining goals, make sure they’re SMART:
When you’re close with your marketing partner, they can provide valuable input to help you better define your SMART goals and objectives. For starters, they bring an outside perspective that won’t be influenced by company biases and influences in the same way as someone who works within the company.
Additionally, your agency will be equipped with experience, knowledge and statistics that allow them to formulate more informed goals and objectives. They can draw not only from experiences of working with other companies but also industry averages and expected outcomes.
The more information you have at your fingertips, the more realistic you can expect your goals and objectives to be.
3. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Do you have a road map for success? Have you formulated backup plans in case your original fizzles out? If so, you’re being proactive with your marketing.
Proactive marketing is when you utilize data to formulate marketing plans far in advance, ideally for an entire year. Of course, this would include contingencies to adapt campaigns for maximum impact.
The alternative is reactive marketing, which involves responding to consumer actions and trends as they happen. Marketing choices are influenced by current buyer sentiment, and campaigns are developed and executed on the fly.
There is a place in your marketing toolbox for both proactive and reactive marketing. However, we believe that it’s better to be proactive. Working from an established blueprint makes campaign preparation and execution go more smoothly. It also makes it easier to budget because you always know what’s coming down the pike. Conversely, a “shoot from the hip” reactive approach is more hectic and makes it more difficult to forecast expenses.
How can your marketing partner help you be proactive instead of reactive? First, they have experience working with a variety of clients, so they can draw on those experiences to help you develop a long-term marketing plan that makes sense based on your goals and objectives.
Working closely with your marketing agency also increases the manpower you have available. Tasks can be delegated to make processes more efficient. In addition, it expands the knowledge base that goes into your marketing, so you can rest easy that the marketing plan that is developed will keep you on track and build momentum throughout the year.
4. Get More Detailed Reporting Data
You know that reporting data is vital. But are you proficient in all the applicable data-collection tools, and do you know how to interpret and act upon the data that is collected?
Consider the possible data sources:
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Reporting Dashboard
- LinkedIn Reporting Dashboard
- Email/Marketing Automation Reporting Dashboard
To dive a little deeper, you must also think about the supporting tools that contribute to more enhanced reporting and a more detailed look at exactly how well each marketing piece is performing.
These tools include:
Your marketing partner, if they’re worth their salt, should utilize and know how to use the reporting information these tools and data sources provide. This gives you the benefit of getting a more detailed and nuanced look at the performance of all things going on with your marketing.
5. Increase Accountability & Get Better ROI
When you have more detailed reporting data at your disposal, it’s much easier to identify which of your marketing tactics are working well and which ones need to be improved. You can act on what you learn by stopping the poorly performing tactics and replacing them with new ones that you can fine-tune until you get the results you’re looking for.
This process of continual improvement will provide you with better ROI because you’ll stop wasting money on efforts that aren’t producing results and shift the marketing spend to the ones that are generating and converting leads.
Detailed reporting insights also increase the accountability of your marketing partner. With that kind of data at your fingertips, it increases the urgency for them to produce positive results. Complete transparency will keep them working hard for you.
6. Alleviate the Burden of Learning Technologies
Today’s marketer has no shortage of tech tools available to them. However, it is a double-edged sword. Technology can make your job easier and improve your marketing performance. But at the same time, the true power of technology is only unlocked once you completely understand all the components of the application and how to apply it.
This is another situation where a close relationship with your marketing partner proves valuable. It’s the agency’s job to stay up to date on marketing technologies and solutions and provide feedback.
This saves you the time and work of researching and learning for yourself. You can decide whether or not to implement new technologies only after your agency has provided you with a summary of the pros and cons.
And when you do bring a new application into the mix, your agency will be there for support during the onboarding process and beyond.
7. Get Real-World Feedback on What Works and What Doesn’t
Every marketer strives to improve their strategy and execution in order to get better results. The challenge for an internal marketer is that his or her data and experiences are limited to their current company unless, of course, they are new to the company and can draw from what they remember from their previous employer.
When identifying what works and what doesn’t, there is the caveat that the answer is unique to one’s current situation. What works or doesn’t work for one company may not apply to another due to several factors.
This is why it’s important to have a close relationship with your marketing partner and utilize their experiences. Marketing agencies work with many different clients in various industries. They can cite many examples of successes and failures. You can get real-world feedback from your agency to learn from others’ achievements and mistakes.
Do You Need to Get Closer with Your Marketing Partner?
So, you’ve hired a marketing agency. Great! Are you getting the most out of your relationship, or do you need to get closer with your marketing partner?
This article highlighted several benefits of collaborating and maintaining strong communication with your agency. As you continue to work closely with them, we’re sure you’ll continue to discover even more benefits.
For advice on assessing the performance of your agency, read our article The Business Owner’s Guide to Grading Your Marketing Partner.