Digital marketing is becoming increasingly important and requires time and expertise. Many business owners and marketing managers ask themselves whether or not to hire an agency to take on their digital marketing activities.
Unfortunately, this is not a yes-or-no question. In this article we will give you a few things to consider when deciding which direction to take.
Hiring an Agency Is Buying Time and Experience
There are a bunch of advantages for outsourcing your digital marketing activities. First of all, you work with experienced people who are on the outside and have an objective view of the brand or services you want to promote. It is always recommended to take a step back and look at things from another perspective, even if that is not self-evident.
Secondly, you can choose whether you partner up on the short, mid or long term, depending on the needs and resources of your company. For short term needs it could save you a ton of money by not committing to an annual salary. For longer term needs, the benefit is that you gain operational efficiencies and skills that you would have a difficult time replicating in-house. Besides, finding a new colleague is often harder than looking for an agency that can do it for you. Even assuming that a new employee has the required skills to perform the tasks, they still need time and training to really keep up.
There are obvious reasons to outsource. Time is one of those reasons, and an important one. Lack of time means doing things quickly and superficially, which is never the best option. In that perspective, put your digital performance activities in the hands of an agency that has the right expertise and knowledge to assure a successful outcome.
Agencies and Employees Both Require Critical Selection
Despite the advantages of hiring an online marketing agency, there are definitely some pitfalls you should be aware of.
One downside of outsourcing your digital marketing is that you don’t own the expertise. Preferably, you would have your own in-house expert to take on the work and carry on expertise. That said, digital marketing experts are hard to come by, and finding someone who’s a good match for your company without burning a hole in your pocket is no easy task. Moreover, an agency holds multiple experts for each domain or channel, allowing you to have an expert team working for you, only paying for the respective part of their time that is needed.
When hiring an agency, you have to accept that you’re giving up part of the control of your marketing efforts. It’s important to find an agency that’s transparent and gives insight in the way they handle your account, so you can align the strategy and targets. If you’re involved in a long-term partnership, ask about training options and consider investing some time and resources in understanding the processes and taking some of the work upon yourself.
It is also a good thing to include clear performance goals in the collaboration model, so you and the agency become partners, aiming for the same targets.
There are many agencies out there, all claiming to be the best. Digital marketing is a growing business and everyone wants a piece of the action. Take the time to research your options and don’t commit unless you feel comfortable and reassured. It might sound romantic, but you need to “click” with an agency before partnering up. A healthy working relationship is the best foundation for a long-term partnership that you are both happy about.
Practical Situations Where Outsourcing Is Recommended
A few examples of situations where reaching out to an agency is an obvious choice:
- Knowing how to use digital marketing tools is one thing, analyzing their outcomes is another. As this can also be very time consuming, it would be a smart choice to let someone else’s keen eye do the job for you. It is often easier to see things as an outsider, as in-house employees often don’t see the wood for the trees anymore. Agencies are trained to work with different technical interfaces in different digital fields (Affiliate Marketing, Real-Time Bidding, SEA, SEO, …). Agencies follow the latest features and technologies, giving them the insights to know which tools to use in which situation. In addition, agencies are in close contact with the technology providers, resulting in your campaigns taking advantage of new features or tools sooner. Outsourcing the analysis and evaluation of (some of) your digital performance activities is a learning process that you can do on your own after a certain amount of time.
- When a co-worker is leaving the company you lose knowledge and hands you can’t immediately replace. Looking for the right person to replace this co-worker can be very time consuming. Taking someone in on an ad interim basis until you find the perfect candidate, could be a safer choice. The agency can train the new employee for a temporary period. Afterwards, evaluation meetings can be organized until the new employee is confident and skilled enough to do the job on his/her own.
- Sometimes you don’t have enough hands to deal with everything, especially when planning a big promotion or action. An agency can help you with structuring the project, contacting the different media channels (Affiliate Networks, Direct Partners, Email Marketing, Real-Time Bidding, , SEO, YouTube, …), implementing, testing and launching the promotion; so you as an advertiser can focus on the content and budgeting. A digital marketing agency can also come to the rescue for temporary projects.
- When a company merges with another company it often becomes a mess organization-wise. Until everything has been sorted out, it is recommended to involve an external partner to assure the follow-up of your digital performance activities.
- When a specific problem that needs further investigation occurs. Examples can be problems deploying a good attribution model; organizing de-duplication; setting up product feed or API tools; sudden performance problems where you don’t see the reason, etc.
With this article, we hope to have given you some different angles to look at possible outsourcing of (some) of your digital marketing activities. A good agency is flexible and works together with you to establish a working method from which all parties benefit from and are comfortable with, a prerequisite for generating digital performance. An agency’s expertise can help you achieve your goals using the right tools and techniques in the correct situations, analyze the outcome, optimize the results, do the negotiations with partners and adapt to changing market situations.
FairEtail is a digital performance marketing agency where service & results make the difference. They are committed and eager to exhilarate their clients. Their expertise spans across all digital channels, with a focus on Search Marketing, Affiliate Marketing & Real-Time Bidding. To keep their clients ahead of the pack, they need to keep innovating and making smart choices. They work for A-brands like Krëfel, Lampiris, MoneYou, CheapTickets, Partena Ziekenfonds, Corendon and Office Depot