You might not need a marketing agency, and that’s ok
That might seem like a very strange and counterproductive title for a blog from a marketing agency. You could argue that it’s the opposite of business development (business sabotage?).
However, it’s true.
Whilst we like to think that there’s no situation where a business couldn’t benefit from the range of expertise we have at our disposal at h2o, we have to acknowledge that many businesses have great in-house marketing teams and therefore do not need us.
Being realists, we won’t waste any time sitting in a dark room over this. There are a number of reasons that a business may decide to take their marketing in-house.
Having their ‘own’ department dedicated purely to their business is reassuring for some brands. Knowing they can pop down the corridor rather than writing a brief or scheduling a meeting can make you feel like you are better-equipped.
Other times a brand will get an agency to create a strategy before bringing it in-house to execute it. We get it, owning the marketing team that knows your brand’s products back-to-front is great, once they have direction, they can carry out the strategy perfectly.
All of this is fine. Honestly, it is.
Allow us to make an argument for agencies at this point; Whilst having an encyclopaedic knowledge of your business is indisputably a good thing, it can be easy to get stuck in a bubble where you can’t see innovation or how new trends that may not be directly associated with your industry could be applied. Sometimes working in-house means you’re constantly viewing things with your branded spectacles on. Not being able to see the wood for the trees if you’re looking for a cliche.
Letting an agency help you to take a step back and see the wider picture can be a positive attribute when it comes to strategic thinking. In addition, having broad horizons from working with clients in other industries, as well as the pressure of needing to be innovative can mean that a marketing agency can sometimes be a breath of fresh air for a brand’s marketing.
As an agency, we know where we stand. We are dedicated to helping our clients exceed their marketing ambitions and always look to build long-lasting partnerships. But let’s be honest, we know we’re a resource that can be turned on and off whenever we’re needed (grow up). Often we work on a project-by-project basis. Whereas an in-house marketing team are salaried regardless of how busy they are.
Adding in the fact that employees often need to attend internal meetings, training sessions, one-on-ones, are selfishly occasionally ill, and even worse — take holidays (all whilst being paid!). What seems like efficient, constant marketing support down the corridor can rapidly seem limited and overwhelmed.
In an ideal world, all of our briefs would be well in advance of the deadlines. However, being realistic, we know that sometimes things get dropped on you at the 11th hour. This means you need us to get something done at the 12th hour. As an agency, we have the freedom to be slightly more flexible to accommodate these beyond urgent requests.
The Middle Ground
We’ve painted a bit of a black and white picture here, you either work with an agency OR you have an in-house team. This isn’t the case. We work with many marketing teams who occasionally just need a bit of support during particularly busy times of the year.
Other clients will use us as a bit of a sounding board for their marketing strategies, they will run their plans and schemes past us and get an external point-of-view that can offer a different perspective or idea they may not have been able to see. In this role, we’re almost like a marketing consigliere without the Mafia connections.
Some teams need specific expertise for a project or campaign. Whether this is digital, social, design, voice or video-based. They may feel that they don’t have sufficient experience or expertise to tackle something. In this instance rather than scale back their ambitions, they come to us (or another agency) for assistance. It may be that for subsequent projects they have gained enough insight and understanding to go it alone. In which case, we’re happy to have been able to help and look forward to working with them the next time we’re required.
We think the sign of a good agency/client relationship is when you are considered to be a specialist extension of the client’s marketing department. Our way of working is to be your in-house, external marketing specialists if that makes sense.
Ultimately whether your marketing is done in or out of house, is totally your decision. There are positives to each approach, and it’s important to remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing strategy.
If you want an external view of your marketing strategy from a business that has wide-ranging expertise and inspiration from working with a broad client base, why not get in touch?
Of course, we’re biased, but if this blog encourages you to seek a new perspective when it comes to your marketing strategy, that’s a positive. You’re welcome.