How to know when it makes sense to hire a marketing agency

Unless you’re very lucky, whether you’re a small business owner or you manage your company’s marketing, you’re working with a limited marketing budget. With all the resources available to help businesses market themselves, from click-and-drag website builders to online printing, how do you know when to do your marketing yourself, or when it makes sense to outsource it? Here are a few benchmarks to help you decide which way to go.

When to do it yourself:
  • When your needs are very simple
  • When you’re short on funds and long on time
  • When you have in-house resources with the ability and time to create what you need

For example, here’s a scenario. Jill has been a stylist at various salons for several years, and has decided to go out on her own. She’s rented the space and equipment, and has hired an assistant. Now she needs to get people in the door. She knows she needs a sign, some kind of website and business cards, and some way of getting the word out. But she’s stretched thin as cling wrap until her business starts to grow.

Jill should do her marketing herself. She can build a simple website for a low monthly fee on a website builder. She can generate interest for free on social media, and she can order a pre-designed business card online for a few bucks. When her business starts to grow and she has more money and less time to manage her social media or website, she can look into getting some help.

When to bring in the hired guns:
  • When it’s not getting done
  • When it’s taking you away from the rest of your job
  • When you’re out of your league

Here’s another scenario. Jack is the office manager for a medical products company. His assistant updates the website and puts together email newsletters , but not that often because she’s swamped taking care of the other needs of the office. Jim places ads in some trade magazines, but isn’t sure he’s in the right ones, and he knows the ads don’t look like the website or their project proposals or their trade show display because they were all created at different times by different people. He knows he should do something about it, but he hasn’t had time.

Jack should hire a marketing agency. He’s missing marketing opportunities, which are costing the company potential clients and revenue worth far more than the cost of hiring marketing help. A consultant would be able to advise him on the most effective marketing efforts, streamline the company brand look and message so it’s more effective, and get it all implemented quickly and professionally. And most importantly, it would get the day-to-day marketing off his to-do list, so he can pay attention to building the business.

Hiring a marketing agency costs money, and it doesn’t make sense for every business. Once you’ve decided which marketing camp your business fits in, you can go ahead and get your marketing done the right way without second-guessing.