If you are an owner of a small to midsize business, you may already be wearing too many hats at your company to deal with marketing as well. That’s when most decide to hire a marketing agency. There is nothing wrong with that, but perhaps a marketing consultant makes more sense.
The Cost of a Marketing Agency
Some agencies, though they may have cutting-edge design and SEO prowess, still bill you with old-fashioned prices. Having a brick-and-mortar building, employee salaries, and benefits, and needing to earn a profit to pay for the rising costs of doing business can drive up the prices that an agency charges.
Oftentimes, the costs of having a marketing agency do any sort of work can cost more than the business client realized. To save money, the client will have to cut corners on projects or worse, revert back to someone within their business handling some of the marketing. Unfortunately, this can lead to inconsistent branding, patchy marketing plans, and substandard results. This is a frustrating scenario for both the business client and the agency.
The Oversight Required
Many marketing agencies will make a good effort to remove as much of the work from their client’s hands. Unfortunately, there still needs to be someone to meet with the agency, review projects, provide industry insight and knowledge, and review return on investment.
If you are in a regulated industry such as financial, insurance, or medical services, it will still be your responsibility to review marketing projects for compliance.
A New Marketing Agency – The Marketing Consultant
A marketing consultant is not exactly new, but it has become a preferred choice in recent years. As virtual offices and web meetings have emerged, there is no longer a need for customers to pay for an agency’s overhead in their pricing.
In addition, a marketing consultant isn’t limited to only using in-house employees. They can pull together freelance marketing partners who better fit their clients’ industries and projects. This cuts down on the required oversight needed by the business client.
The cost of these freelance professionals is often lower price than an agency and can be more budget-friendly for businesses. In turn, a balanced work life and schedule can often lead freelancers to be more productive and creative.
How To Decide Who To Use
Don’t be afraid to carefully interview your choice of marketing agencies and marketing consultants.
Look for a strategic business partner who can work with you to vet your business’s unique value proposition and target market, and ultimately develop a comprehensive marketing plan.
You’ll also want an experienced marketing partner who can coordinate that plan and connect with the proper marketing channels, services, and professionals while making efficient use of your marketing budget.
Your decision needs to be based on these tangible attributes and not just dazzling presentations, fancy office buildings, and “free” coffee and treats. Again, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. Your marketing budget depends on it.