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As you look at trying to crush your revenue goals, the idea of outsourcing to an agency may come up. You’ll likely vet numerous options and try to find the most value from each agency. The problem many marketing departments face when looking to outsource is their internal team typically wants to go with the cheapest option.
Lowest Price=Most Value right?
Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. And to address the elephant in the blog, yes, we are a marketing agency. No, we aren’t the cheapest option. But here are the top potential sacrifices you could be making based on some of the horror stories of our now (happy) clients.
If you are looking to outsource any piece of your marketing, you are looking to get back some of your time and move an initiative further along more quickly. If you’re looking at an agency partner, this is a great option! You can allow your team to focus on what they are best at and leave the rest to the agency that is full of experts.
But sometimes, when you partner with a smaller agency, you may find yourself that's a one-person shop with numerous contract partners. When this system runs well, it’s honestly a great model to keep costs low and maximize output. But when you have one contractor with a higher workload than the rest of the partners, that one piece of the project comes to a grinding halt.
Additionally, in the contractor partner model, most contractors also have their own businesses. They are striving to accomplish work for their own clients. If it comes down to finishing work that represents their own company or performing work that represents a different company, what work will they prioritize?
Lastly, there’s always the hidden opportunity cost. If you’re looking for a website overhaul, how much money are you losing each day because your website doesn’t invite potential customers into a sales process? Especially when it comes to marketing-related activities, speed is critical.
So as you are vetting your agency partners, you need clear expectations of timelines and a clear understanding of how the partner will meet the timelines. Again, the model of one point person that has numerous contractor partners isn’t a bad model. It’s just significantly more difficult to ensure timelines when everyone working on your project also is working on their own projects.
Quality of Work
If you've ever been a part of a start-up, you know most start-ups close anything they can to get revenue coming in. Once the deal is closed, they figure out delivery and execution. Start-up agencies with one or very few people are typically the same way. Once they have closed the deal, they then try to figure out how to complete the task.
When someone is constantly trying to do anything they can get their hands on to keep the lights on, they do not have any specialty. No specialty simply means they can probably get you from Point A to Point B, but it's going to be an average.
Additionally, they may close the work and outsource it themselves to accomplish the pieces they can’t execute. When you have one central person that cobbles together a series of Upwork or Fiverr freelancers to do a major project, you will get a cobbled-together project that won’t come close to your expectations of quality.
Your Day-To-Day Involvement
If you are outsourcing the work, you likely are trying to get something majorly off your plate. You know there will need some level of involvement to ensure the project aligns with what you need, but you want to keep this down to about an hour of attention a week.
With less expensive agencies, you likely have your main point of contact function as the person executing your marketing. Unless they are incredibly disciplined to keep constant communication, you will likely spend a lot of time reaching out and wondering what’s going on. They are balancing executing projects for numerous clients. They have to often choose between doing the work and keeping clients updated. As a result, project updates fall by the wayside.
You will feel more involved, stressed, and wondering what’s going on with the project. Many larger agencies have project or account managers to ensure clients stay up to date and the project keeps moving. You want to ensure you understand the cadence in which communication will occur and your expected level of involvement.
Ability to Execute
If you are partnering with a less expensive agency, there are a couple of reasons they could be less expensive, like experience. With less experience, they likely don’t have as many work examples they can show you to prove the kind of work they can execute.
A lack of experience doesn’t inherently mean they can’t execute. Everyone has to get their start somewhere. They may not have had an opportunity to execute or create a case study. But back to the idea of time, you don’t want to place the face of your business in the hands of someone that has little to no experience.
So whenever possible, see examples of their work. Even if you aren’t seeing the exact work of the person working on your account, you’ll see the quality standards of the organization. You just want to know they have executed an ABM strategy, for example, and aren’t using your business as the trial run.
Understand Your Vision
Outsourcing your marketing means you entrust someone outside your organization to execute something you may live with for years to come. You want to ensure they understand your vision and your values.
Culture fit and mutually aligned vision are often overlooked when considering the costs of partnering with an agency. The reality is you will spend a fair bit of time together monthly, and this organization could be crafting the words you’ll use to communicate with your customers. You want someone you feel comfortable hanging out with. You want someone that cares about the results of your business. You want someone that will treat your business the way they treat their own.
Values are critical to long-term success with a partner. Because the other side is no-one is going to be perfect. Mistakes will happen. But if you’ve partnered with someone that understands your vision, your values and wants to see you succeed, they will make it right.
Potentially Having to Start Over
This reason is honestly the most critical of them all. As you look over the list above, any one of these issues can cause a lot of internal troubles. Unfortunately, there are many cases where you invest thousands into a project with a partner, and they just can’t seem to deliver what you are looking for.
As a result, you end the relationship after months of trying, with thousands of dollars gone, burned by an agency, and have nothing to show for it. This, unfortunately, is a more common occurrence than you’d think.
Simply put, it doesn’t matter how inexpensive an agency seems compared to every other option. If you invest money and end up with nothing to show, you get 0 ROI. So when choosing a partner, consider how much you trust the agency, their previous work, and how much would be lost in time and money if you received nothing to show for it.
Get Started Today
If you need help with your marketing and are in conversations with numerous agencies, keep these hidden costs in mind. If you feel uneasy about any portion of the ideas above, dig further until you feel confident or keep searching for a new agency. Again, this agency could become an incredibly valuable resource for years to come. And a little higher investment upfront could result in a significantly higher ROI.
If you’re looking for an agency that can help you crush your revenue goals, schedule a call today. We aren’t the cheapest but are the ones that will help you exceed your goals year over year.
As President & COO, Nikole is obsessed about building a great company made up of an inspiring culture and highly successful client engagements. Outside of Mojo, Nikole is also pretty obsessed with traveling, spending time at their cabins in Broken Bow OK, her Golden Retriever, Bella, and enjoying Italian dinners and wine with her husband, Mike.
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