Help! 7 Signs You Need an Outside Marketing Firm

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on March 15
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Does your marketing to-do list make your usually vibrant soul feel like a deflated balloon?

OK--a bit strong, perhaps.  But even marketing stalwarts can get overwhelmed.  No single person can handle all the work involved in running a competitive digital marketing campaign. Besides, not everyone likes marketing and advertising! If you’re a business owner or solopreneur that can’t stand the idea of hiring another in-house team member, outsourcing your marketing needs to an agency may be the best way to go. Your talents can be put to good use elsewhere, while your agency handles the rest.  If you're thinking you may need to partner with an outside firm, here are some signs to keep in mind:

1. Does a 40-hour work week sound like a vacation?

If you have more than 160 hours of marketing work that needs to be done each week and only two people to handle it, you know the math just doesn’t add up. This is especially true if you don’t have approval to hire another full-time employee. Think of all the tedious hours spent creating and distributing emails, developing sales collateral or publishing new content. With outsourcing, you can get those hours back—leaving you and your team free to work on what you do best: running your business. 

2. You just spent 30 minutes looking for synonyms to the word “and.”  

OK—that’s another exaggeration (for most).  However, lack of time leads to a tired brain, and a tired brain leads to vicious cycles of lost productivity and creativity. In content marketing, the cycle of unproductivity can look something like this: It takes too much time to create content because the creative process lacks focus, and the creation process lacks focus because you need a content strategy, but you lack a content strategy because creating content takes too much of your time! Are you so busy keeping up with your sales team’s increasing demands that you don’t have time to develop your own marketing plan? You aren’t alone.  Strategy is crucial to marketing success. When you outsource your marketing strategy needs to an agency, you gain an experienced team that can take you from good idea to goal achieved.  And in the best circumstances, that team essentially becomes part of your own.

3. Work quality begins to suffer from limited bandwidth:

An in-house team will have a set volume of work they can handle before quality suffers. When you’re ready to ramp up your efforts, you will need to hire new employees. This can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor, especially considering the above point that it’s challenging to find marketing talent. An in-house team may not have developed all the skills your company needs. Outsourcing B2B marketing services gives you access to expertise in all things marketing, from marketing positioning and strategy to execution and beyond, without having to pay for a full-time employee. Each member on your external marketing team is a specialist in their discipline area and works with clients across multiple industries. This allows you and your team to tap into the agency’s wide-ranging experience and gain a fresh perspective on what you can do to improve your own marketing efforts.

4. Your business lacks the marketing technology it needs: 

New, critical categories of marketing technology roll out constantly. And new vendors enter and exit the landscape. It’s hard to stay on top of it all. Where do you even begin? Many companies are deprived of crucial marketing technology like a CRM or marketing automation platform. These same companies are often intimidated at the thought of acquiring and learning a new piece of technology on top of taking care of their day-to-day responsibilities. nWhen you outsource your marketing services, you’re able to work with professionals well-versed in the latest technologies for marketing, analytics, automation and more—without having to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in additional software or tools.

5. You have zero idea what’s working and what’s not working. 

Marketing blind scares the crap out of us in the same way that driving down a dirt road with no headlights would. You need insights, you need analytics, you need metrics. Without these things you’re effectively marketing blind. It may not get you killed, but it could kill your business off pretty darn quick.  Unfortunately, measuring what does and doesn’t work can become a pretty involved process. Hundreds of tools exist to measure a thousand different variables. The marketer’s job is to figure out which variables matter for their company, and then test different marketing platforms and techniques until they land on the Holy Grail of campaigns. If your internal team is struggling to separate the good marketing from the bad marketing, it may be time to hire an agency focused on these objectives. Companies spend marketing dollars to attend trade shows, produce marketing collateral and run campaigns. What are you getting in return? Can you quantify the results of your marketing efforts to justify the money spent? An agency can work with you to define your overall marketing goals, provide recommendations around which tactics can help get you achieve them and, most importantly, report how those tactics are performing. This gives you visibility into which tactics are most effective.


6. You Could Benefit from a Fresh Perspective: 

Why do so many brands end up producing content that lacks value and feels too promotional? A big reason for this is that internal teams may struggle to think objectively about the brand, which makes it challenging to truly adapt a customer’s mindset and create content that is customer-centric, not brand-focused. An agency isn’t influenced by the internal biases that may lead to misunderstanding which types of content interest your target customer.

Furthermore, a good agency will point out areas for improvement and missed opportunities, which may be tougher for an internal team to identify and communicate.  We see challenges of this kind all the time.  We sit with companies and talk about things like their core values, what guides the business, the image they’re trying to create, the things about their business they won’t compromise on and other questions. Often, the questions are things they haven’t thought about in years…or even at all. It’s not because they’re bad business owners or because they don’t care about the service they’re providing, it’s because when you spend so much time IN your business, you’re very often not the best person to see what’s happening OUTSIDE of it, where your company sits and how you can best position yourself. Sometimes having a third party come in is the best way to do that. Take a minute this week to ask your key team members, or even your entire staff, who your company is. If they can’t tell you, it’s time for a refresh.

7. Your marketing is failing to produce new customers: 

You’re dropping Benjamin’s faster than a trailer trash lottery winner and it’s yielding up…nothing. What gives? It may be that you’re thinking too traditional in your marketing approach—focusing on trade shows and print ads getting lost mid-magazine when you should be spending on digital. Maybe you’re too focused on mass market tactics when something more targeted is needed—trade journals for instance, or Google ads targeted on specific websites. Whatever the case may be, bleeding revenue on marketing is sure sign you need expert help.



The right experience and skills

Consider the efficiency that comes with skill and experience. You could probably fix a leaky sink after looking up a how-to video, but an experienced plumber would be able to quickly diagnose the problem and fix it with confidence. Similarly, using an agency can save the time and resources it takes to learn on your own.

By working with an agency, you gain its collective wisdom. An established agency’s team has faced a diverse range of scenarios and challenges. They’ve tested and experimented with a variety of tactics and channels.

You also gain the agency team’s content marketing–focused skill set. Employees may include creative strategists, writers, researchers, designers, developers, PR specialists, copy editors, and data journalists. You’d need to hire a sizable team in order to acquire such a broad range of skills in-house.

If any of the above signs apply, then you are certainly welcome to contact the B2B marketing stalwarts at MarketScale.  Or visit our website for resources (like our marketing playbook, below) and insights to help you get your digital marketing back on track.  

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