Doing Your Own Marketing Isn’t Saving Money. Here’s Why.

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Raise your hand if this is you: You’ve hired not just one, but two, three, or even four marketing agencies only to find yourself back where you started. Each time, you’re out thousands of dollars and building more resentment toward marketing agencies. Well… you are definitely not alone in this case. Agencies as a whole get a bad rap for over-promising and under-delivering.

Does this thought process sound familiar?

  • Can I learn this on my own and get the same results?

  • Can THIS agency deliver the results the last one claimed to be able to deliver?

  • Is this just a lot of smoke and mirrors?

  • Is this the right time to get an agency, or should I just try to learn how to do enough to get to where I can hire an agency?

  • Where can I put my dollars to get the best ROI?

  • Can this agency beat my hurdle rate?

Related: Thinking of Bringing Your Marketing In-House? think again

Checklist for finding the right agency partner

How can you avoid the lead agency dilemma and find someone who will actually deliver results? What we’ve seen at MavenXmedia is that there is actually a checklist of things to go through as you search for the right agency partner:

  • Is it the right time for you to use an agency?

    • Agencies will need you to commit to a minimum advertising investment to deliver results for services such as paid media. This is not to get you to spend more. It’s because to reach a scaling threshold, the algorithm needs a certain amount of data to find the right customers for you.

    • If it’s a website or creative service, you should consider whether, at your current stage, it’s better to find a friend with the basics or even do it yourself rather than hiring an agency that can professional photos and videos or create that world-class website.

    • It all comes down to allocating cash in the early stages. Cash is king in digital marketing, despite what you might hear from the gurus. Be conservative, but create certain frameworks like MARR, hurdle rate, risk asymmetry, etc.

  • Can they deliver results for my niche and have testimonials to prove it?

  • Is the agency willing to let you reach past clients so you can hear what they have to say about them?

  • How many employees do they have?

    • This will tell you the depth of the resources they have at their disposal. It’s not a leading indicator of quality or results, but if you’re a business, you’re going to need someone who has nearly unlimited resources to accommodate you.

  • What are the two or three services they specialize in?

    • All agencies under 15-20 people will specialize in only two or three services, despite what they say on their website or in their sales pitch. They simply don’t have the manpower to deliver over-the-top results for more than that, nor do they have the size to attract top talent to actually deliver those results.

    • If they claim to be masters of five services at this level, dig deeper to find what they really specialize in.

  • Should I hire an agency for just one or several things?

    • If you’re in the early stages, you should be looking for someone who can deliver 80% of the results that a top-tier agency would deliver. You’ll save money and the headache of having to listen to talking heads at multiple agencies. If you are much larger or even enterprise-level, you should consider using multiple agencies that specialize in different services such as Facebook ads, SEO, brand strategy, website development, CRO, etc.

  • Will they be malleable to what I think will work or are they inflexible?

    • Many times, the agency will have a set of processes that they have seen work best. But if they’re not willing to flex with what intricacies make your business unique and what your customers buy, it might be wise to go in another direction.

Related: How Your Business Can Use Both Outbound and Inbound Marketing

The most important question of all: What is the best and best use of my time as an entrepreneur?

Say you need heart surgery. Are you going to visit a pediatrician? Or maybe a GP? Of course not! You will be searching on Google for the best heart surgeon you can find. Because? Because they have specialized knowledge in delivery, almost perfection in what they do.

The same goes for a marketing agency or any other operations role you might hire to free up time so you can actually work on growing your business. As a business owner, you start out as a jack of all trades, doing everything from marketing to operations to product management to HR to accounting. As you grow, you hire for these roles, because there are others who are simply better than you. Yes, believe it or not, you are losing money by not hiring for these roles (opportunity cost of not using your most valuable skill set).

What it really comes down to is where you are in your life cycle, what you can afford and your current skills. Find out these three things and consider the questions above to determine where you should lean. This should dramatically reduce agency turnover and, most importantly, the loss of precious growth time.

Related: Ways to Hire an Effective Marketing Professional for Your Business

warning: If you are truly an expert marketer with years of experience in a certain area like Facebook ads, Google, SEO, etc., you can wait to hire them until they start eating up too much of your time from other areas of the company.

Consider these points carefully and conservatively. Here’s your most consistent growth and put an end to getting an aspirin after firing another marketing agency. Health!

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