In the early days of any business, owners find themselves forced to wear many different hats… sales, finance, human resources, and marketing to name a few. But as an organization grows, the owner and/or their internal team quickly realize there are not enough hours in the day, nor do they have the ability to deliver the level of attention needed in each of these functional areas.
Recently, we’ve been meeting with business owners and marketing folks at companies that find themselves in exactly this transitional period — they’ve outgrown their internal capacity to deliver and are facing the reality of adding to the expense column by hiring outside professional services. So, just when is it the right time to hire an advertising agency for a growing business?
This is such a great question. And it’s a decision most struggle to make at some point in the life of a business. Unfortunately, there is no “one decision fits all” answer. But here are a few things to consider as you evaluate your company’s specific needs:
Money: It’s true. Ad agencies cost money. But it’s crucial to look at this new expense as an investment in your business. And like all investments, you are correct to expect a return on these dollars. Before hiring any ad agency, make sure you have a good understanding of how they bill, what they bill, and what analytics they will provide that shows the value received for the money spent. Some portion of your investment is certainly brand building in nature, and as such, is difficult to quantify with a measurable ROI; however, most tactical initiatives can and should report on the success of the tactic.
Time: You have heard the expression “time is money.” What would your business gain from you being able to focus all of your attention on your “real” job? And have you considered the dollar value/impact potential on the business of having that opportunity? Partnering with an ad agency can free up valuable hours needed to maintain an effective marketing program, thereby allowing you and your team to be more focused on increasing sales, building relationships with customers, or targeting new markets.
Creativity: Perhaps the single greatest value an ad agency brings to your business is creativity and impact on your message. Many businesses find the outside perspective and competitive research capabilities of an ad agency bring a refreshed focus to your business’ unique selling points. Much too often, businesses get lost in using industry jargon, or trying to be all things to all people. Having an outside perspective helps focus the message and gives your business a strong voice in the market.
Yes, the leap to partnering with an advertising agency requires a financial line item investment that, up to this point, you have done without. But the payoff from this investment, if executed correctly, will be well worth the dollars. Finding a partner for your business allows you to benefit from the focused attention of trained marketing professionals, while freeing up you and your internal staff to focus on business development and delivering on your brand promise. This will pay dividends and ensure your company’s continued growth and success.