Marketing management is a complicated, multi-faceted, and highly budgeted task. There are many components to successful marketing, and it can be quite overwhelming to carry out basic operations without a full-fledged department and strong guidance.
Many businesses invest thousands of dollars and hours into ineffective marketing campaigns that could have yielded greater results for half the resources.
Choosing to work with an agency carries an expectation that the money saved through increased efficiency and better strategy outweighs the cost of the agency’s services. To better understand how this is the case, we’ve broken down our own services into six major components. Although many agencies specialize in a variety of niche services, we hope this provides insight into the core offerings of most marketing agencies.
The most important and long lasting impact of marketing agencies are the recommendations and consulting suggestions that a relationship will produce. Marketing is a numbers game. Improving click rates, generating more customers per lead, and boosting the value of every hour and dollar spent are all essential aspects to successful marketing. Making sure the strategy in place is data-driven and appropriate is essential.
The expertise of marketing consulting comes largely from experience working with a vast array of clients. Some agencies specialize in specific industries such as healthcare, law, and consumer products, while others tend to have an array of clients from varying industries. The better option is largely subjective and depends more on the quality of personnel rather than the degree of specialization. Specialized agencies will have better knowledge of a target customer, while generalized agencies will be able to pull from wider experiences that can contribute to competitive insights.
Finally, when it comes to strategy, everything is hypothesized and then tested and confirmed with data. There is no such thing as the perfect strategy, but rather, the most effective given the cost. If the agency appears to know what they’re doing and can back up their suggestions with data, the benefits of their services may outweigh costs. As a rule of thumb, we like to aim for at least a $3 return for every dollar spent on marketing.
Website Optimization and SEO
Website and search engine optimization focus primarily, if not entirely, on boosting traffic. If I want to buy a pair of wireless headphones, I’ll likely do a little research. For example, I’ll google, “Best wireless headphones,” and any product I see is now immediately on my radar. I’m not ready to buy yet, but I’m starting to develop a short list of good options.
The expression, “you can’t win if you don’t play” applies to every business, product, or service. Before you sell someone on why you, the person needs to know you exist. Unfortunately, the greatest existential threat you likely face is not showing up on Google. So, how do you show up on Google? Well, SEO.
The first step is always running an audit often with a third party software like SEMrush. We’ll test for site speed, scrollability, and look for anything that could negatively impact site performance. Then, make those fixes. For an SEO audit, we would identify the domain authority and identify the status of current SERP rankings based on a list of 10-20 keywords. Then, analyze the content, check for faulty back-links, and anything that could contribute to a negative score. Upon completing the audit for both the website and SERP rankings, we would identify what areas can be improved, what can be fixed, and figure out what is most cost and time effective.
Lead Flow Infrastructure
Many businesses generate strong traffic flows to their site, but lack an effective mechanism to convert those visitors into leads and then customers. Marketing agencies spend much of their resources on optimizing and managing the lead flow process. Fundamentally, the most successful strategies are data driven though increasing click-through-rates on content and improving conversion rates. Agencies can help in not only updating and optimizing the infrastructure and process, but also serve as a managing aid to make sure everything is running smoothly. In most cases, agencies will use a third party platform such as Salesforce or HubSpot.
Our brains are hardwired to appreciate aesthetics, and the visual and written representations of a company are very important. An ugly website will generate ugly results, and vice versa. The process of creating logos, new formatting templates, improved website design, and other visual representations of a company feels like a daunting process. Nevertheless, marketing agencies have likely created hundreds of logos and designs before, and that experience allows for an effective and streamlined process.
As marketers, we live by the small increments in numbers that carry significant results. For example, a two percent click through rate on a marketing campaign with 100,000 impressions will lead to 2,000 qualified views. Increasing the rate to three percent generates an additional 1,000 views. That is a massive difference. The quality of copywriting has serious impact, and the additional expenditure through an agency may be worth it if that can be shown through the numbers.
As a rule of thumb, copywriting should be clean and impactful with as few words as possible. Poetry tries to evoke an emotional and personal response. Similarly, marketing copy tries to evoke action. When it comes to effectiveness, experience and expertise go a long way.
Media Buying and Digital Ads
Negotiating and bidding for digital, print, and TV advertisements is a relatively time consuming task. Furthermore, it can be hard for inexperienced media buyers to identify good prices. Working with an agency for media buying can help save time, and when negotiated properly, can actually lead to cost savings in addition to the agency fee.
Also, properly identifying the target customer and knowing which platforms and keywords to target is essential for effective advertising. Having the right infrastructure such as landing pages that ads will point to in addition to effective copy and ad design are all essential components to growth-inducing marketing.
If you decide to work with an agency, be sure to confirm their experience with purchasing ads, and follow-up whether or not they are properly negotiating. On the other hand, if a business knows exactly where and what to advertise, and has the time to negotiate and manage the media buying process, operating inhouse may make more sense. The decision to use an agency largely depends on the clients’ needs as well as their capacity for time.
Last, but not least, video is growing as a tool for companies to spread their message. As a result, agencies are beginning to incorporate video into their services to further solidify marketing campaigns. Marketing videos can be highly effective when produced with quality and clear, short messages.
Video hasn’t been adopted by all agencies, and there are many companies that specialize solely in video, but having that as a resource will help many agencies attract more clients. As a recommendation, use a specialized production company for expensive, high trafficked commercials, while an agency would be a great option for cost-effective and brand-aligned videos. Check out our new 2019 videos by clicking here!
As a more generalized agency, we offer services covering Strategic Consulting, Search Engine Optimization, Lead Flow Infrastructure and Management, Design/Copywriting, Media Buying, and Video. Understanding exactly what an agency does is important to know whether you’re getting value for their services and if they are the right fit. Using an agency can be an expensive option for small to medium sized businesses, but can lead to game-changing long term results when working with the right agency.
Identifying your weaknesses and strengths as a company and deciding which aspects are most needed is the first step in deciding who to work with and whether they fit your needs and budget.