Why Hire An Agency?

Apologies if, to the more cynical amongst you, this post seems simply self-serving and a thinly veiled excuse for a sales pitch. Bear with me as I explain …

A few weeks ago we received a request from a potential client that we help her “sell” her boss (the CMO) on the concept of hiring a marketing agency, when, in the opinion of said boss, “We can do this ourselves.” That opinion is not uncommon, the thought being (one supposes) that if a company has marketing managers, marcom managers, program managers, marketing specialists and the like on staff, why on earth does it need an agency?

Here’s what we told this particular client:

* when you work with an agency, you have one contact – your account executive – who coordinates all agency activity and saves you time by eliminating the need to deal separately with writers, designers, list brokers, media vendors, etc.

* a good agency spends the time doing the things you never have the time for: monitoring campaigns, making adjustments where necessary, tweaking creative, etc. A good example of this would be paid search (Google) campaigns; managing and monitoring a search campaign is virtually a full-time job in itself. When clients don’t have the time to manage campaigns properly, the results suffer.

* your agency will take care of the little details – the tedious proofreading, quality control, and vendor coordination – so you can focus your time on more strategic issues. One example is reviewing test messages from e-mail list vendors: a typical campaign can involve reviewing up to 4 messages from each list, many of which (in our experience) will inevitably include typos and other errors.

* using exclusively in-house resources can lead to an insular marketing strategy where campaigns are developed in a certain way because “that’s the way we do them.” A qualified agency can bring a fresh perspective – ideas for new strategies, new creative, new media, new offers – and real-world knowledge of what’s working for other companies in your space.

* hiring an agency isn’t just about substituting one resource for another. The right agency can advise you from the planning stage onward – meaning that before they’ve even written one word of copy or ordered one list, they’ve already made your campaign more successful by helping select the type of campaign, media venue, offer, audience, etc. that’s working best for other companies like you.

Are these reasons compelling (enough) for you? Why do you work (or not work, as the case may be) with an agency? Comments welcome.


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