We work with in-house marketing teams every day and understand why in-house teams might worry about working with an external agency.
Marketers are a proud bunch. We’re proud of our knowledge, our systems, and our successes. And it can be intimidating to bring on an agency that might actually shake things up.
But we don’t view in-house teams as competition, we view them as collaborators. At Quantum, we love working with in-house marketing teams because if we succeed, it makes everyone look good. The in-house team, the agency, the CEO – we’re all winners!
In this article, we’re going to discuss how in-house teams can successfully work alongside marketing agencies and:
- Save Time
- Save Money
- Grow Revenue
Sound too good to be true? It’s really not. Let’s look at the topic a little closer.
Why In-House Marketing Teams Are Important
First off, there is nothing wrong with in-house marketing teams. In fact, we love in-house marketing. It’s essential for organizations to keep a talented team close by to fill several key needs.
- In-house marketing teams know the brand better than anyone. When it comes to articulating what a brand is all about, you need someone within the organization to stand behind that message. Sure, you can work with agencies to hone in your messaging, but ultimately it is YOU who has to give the final word.
- In-house marketing teams might save you money. If you’re paying an agency $250,000/year to do the work of a single employee, you might want to rethink your approach. More often, we find that working with an agency actually saves money because it allows you to hire a team of experts for the cost of a single employee. Not to mention the cost of payroll taxes, benefits, office space, etc.
- In-house marketing teams are agile. Wanna shift tactics on a Tuesday morning? Wander up to your in-house marketing pro with a cup of coffee and tell them your dreams.
Why Work With a Marketing Agency?
Now that we’ve sung the praises of in-house teams, let’s talk about how marketing agencies can complement those teams.
Marketing Agencies Fill Knowledge Gaps
Sure, you have an in-house team of social media experts, PPC experts, SEO experts, design experts, etc. But do you have someone 100% dedicated to building and monitoring email drip campaigns? List segmentation experts? Deliverability experts? SMS experts?
Working with an agency allows you to fill expertise gaps within your marketing team without having to hire a dozen new full-time employees.
External Marketing Agencies Work With You
This isn’t a hostile takeover: it’s a partnership. Good external marketing agencies work with in-house marketing teams. They work hard to learn your brand voice (more about that later) and read all your assets to ensure they blend in.
We’ve worked with companies that want 100% creative control of email designs. We’ve worked with companies that rejected 75% of our suggestions. And that’s fine. As a marketing agency, it is our job to act as a guide, not hijack your business,
In many cases, decent third-party marketing consultants improve work-life balance for in-house teams and improve employee retention rates.
External Marketing Agencies Contribute Expertise
Think you have all the best ideas? Well hey — if you do, we want to know about them. You never know, we might have insider secrets to share with you, too.
When teams work collaboratively, they learn from each other. Our knowledge becomes your knowledge. Our expertise passes to your internal team. Mi casa, su casa. And so on.
External Marketing Agencies Reduce Your Workload
We talk to marketers all the time that are burning the midnight oil and working 80 hour work weeks. And frankly, the work suffers.
You might have the best in-house marketing team in the history of the world — hey, you probably do — but when times get hectic, they’re still human. Overworked employees get overloaded; overloaded folk get burned out; burnout equals disaster.
Hiring an agency is one of the easiest ways to reduce your internal workload.
External Marketing Agencies Bring Fresh Perspective
You know your product inside out. You’re undoubtedly the experts — but familiarity can cause complacency. When did you last implement a new email template? Have you updated your KPIs lately? What about your buyer personas?
With fresh eyes comes fresh ideas.
External Marketing Agencies Save Money
This one comes as quite a shocker to some people. People have asked us, “why should we pay you $X a month when I can hire an employee for the same price?”
If you can hire an employee with dozens of years of collective experience that can implement and deploy dozens of automated workflows while staying on the cutting edge of email automation, technology, deliverability and more – then congratulations!
Seriously though, if you find someone like that, let us know. We’re always hiring.
Of course, there are times when hiring an in-house person is a better financial decision. Ultimately, it comes down to a case-by-case basis. We’ve found that for most SMBs, it’s advantageous to go with an external email marketing team.
Marketing Agencies Make it Easier to Scale
Hiring people is hard work. Not only do you have to sift through dozens of resumes and interview candidate after candidate, but you also have to spend months training. If you want to quickly scale your business, hiring a marketing agency is the fastest way to increase your productivity without hiring a full team of experts.
When you hire an agency, they are already experts in their field (or at least they should be). Plus, a good agency can quickly learn your preferences and adapt to your teams needs.
What About My Brand Voice?
Your voice is an integral part of your brand identity. So, what happens when you bring in an external marketing team? Will Quantum, for instance, dissect your content production guide and trample all over your brand identity.
No. We won’t.
When it comes to brand voice, we’re the ultimate chameleons. We match your colors, your vocabulary and your levity level to a T:
- When peddling porcelain tea sets to British royal family aficionados, one must strike the right tone. Coupled with correctly placed inflections — and an emphasis on the luxury of bone china — the right words go a long way.
- If you sell supplements to pro bodybuilders, on the other hand, you need to use the right lingo or you’ll get derailed. Wanna pump iron like a boss? Throw down six raw eggs and chase that mess with a tall creatine shake. Everything’s gonna be okay, bro.
- Luxury furniture is another matter. Curate your space with a hand-tanned full-grain Italian leather fainting couch; elevate your look with one of this season’s range of tufted alpaca wool cushions.
We learn your brand voice like a language. Why? Because our mission is to help you achieve your goals — and we can’t do that unless we’re on the same page.
How to Pick a Great Marketing Agency
If you decide to bring a third party in your casita, make sure it’s the right third party. Don’t sign on the dotted line until you’re sure your potential partner is a good match. Here’s how to pick the right marketing agency for you.
Check Out the Agency’s Portfolio
First of all, ask the agency to show you some of their previous work. Hopefully, they’ll be able to show some real- world examples of how they helped other businesses grow – complete with KPIs to prove it.
Culture Fit, or Culture Clash?
Talk to your contacts at the marketing agency to see what makes them tick. Do you get along? If so, what are your shared goals? Will the marketing agency respect your current brand voice and will they take your assets into consideration when they create promotional materials?
Listen — it doesn’t matter how highly recommended the agency is: if you don’t like ‘em, don’t give ‘em any of your money. You have to be able to work with the marketing pros you hire or your efforts — and your budget — will fall flat.
Figure Out Where They’ll Fit In
Next, you need to determine where this newfangled marketing agency interloper will literally and figuratively fit in. Will they work with you in person in your office, or will they touch base remotely? If they do want to mosey on down to your premises, do you have a spare hotdesk available for them?
From a non-literal perspective, what do you need the marketing agency to do for you? If your in-house team takes care of banner ads and billboards, for instance, will you assign marketing emails to the third party?
We’ve found that it works best if there is a clear separation of duties. For instance, Quantum can build the email funnels and write the email copy, but your team might want to choose what products to feature or what image to use.
Ask About Pricing
Let’s face it, one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to hiring any vendor is pricing. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential marketing agency, “How much is this going to cost me?”
A good agency will be able to provide a fairly accurate estimate of costs.
A word of advice: never go with the cheapest option because it always ends up costing you more in the long run.
How to Work With a Marketing Agency
Let’s imagine you’ve found your perfect marketing partner (hopefully it’s us!). You’re contractually obliged to one another and now you’re walking off down the path of promotion, hand in hand and happy as can be.
Or are you?
Here are some tips to keep your working relationship on point.
Teamwork Is Everything
Be prepared for a little tension when you first bring your outside marketing mavens into the meeting room. Unless they’re very well prepared, in-house team members might feel threatened. The solution? Assure Janet that her job is safe and that Sam from Quantum hasn’t come to steal her office chair.
Always, always work in tandem with the marketing agency you bring in. Remember: this isn’t a competition between your in-house team and your newly adopted promo pals — it’s a partnership. The marketing agency you choose is simply an extension of your current crew.
We like to set up standing meetings with our partners so everyone stays on the same page. If your agency is hesitant to set up regular meetings, that should be a huge red flag.
Having seen much hullabaloo up close, we can say with some authority that miscommunication is the main cause of office-based sadness. Paul asks Sally about a deadline when he should have asked Sally’s boss. Sally replies with authority — without asking her manager first. Uh oh: great offence ensues.
Honestly, the easiest way to solve issues like that is to implement a standardized communication system. That way, deadlines don’t go down the drain and resources don’t get wasted.
Weekly Zoom calls — or a project management system to keep people on track, for instance. Regular email updates also help.
Share Your Skills
Remember those exercises you did on that one company-sponsored trust-building course? The one where the instructor told James to fall back into Larry’s arms — but Larry let go and James fell on his bad back? Don’t do anything like that. Forget that.
Having said that, great working relationships are built on trust. You and your external team have to trust each other — and you need to share your skills with one another to do so. Will you always agree? Probably not. But you can use your marketing partner’s insight to your advantage anyway.
Your in-house team knows about your product; your new marketing agency friends need that information to do a good job. Meanwhile, the third party you bring in probably has a ton of industry expertise to contribute. Go ahead — soak that knowledge up and make it part of your mantra.
Boost Your Brand With QDM
If you’re not sure where to go looking for a dream email marketing agency, we can help. How? Because we’re an email marketing agency.
That’s right — we’re an approachable, experienced, fun-loving email marketing agency and we’d relish the opportunity to work with your talented in-house team. Here’s what we can bring to the table:
- A mutually beneficial time-saving partnership. We tackle your email and SMS marketing campaigns, from welcome and cart abandonment series to retention. Meanwhile, your in-house team can concentrate on other important stuff.
- A huge amount of experience. We know lifecycle marketing inside-out. We’re up to date with the latest trends, we know how to write attention-grabbing content and we create industry-leading graphics to boot.
- A money-saving, time-saving marketing option. You don’t have to train anyone to handle email if you hire us. That means you’ll save the money and time you’d otherwise spend hiring and onboarding a new staff member.
Talk to us about your email marketing needs and we’ll come up with a solution that’ll make your life easier. Get in touch online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 208 495 6260 if you enjoy talking to real, live people. We’d love to hear from you.