Struggling to Craft a Digital Strategy With Proven Results? Hire a Pro.

in-house versus agency costs
craft a digital strategy
Image courtesy of Alfredo Media

Do you struggle to craft a digital strategy with proven results? Hiring a professional might be just what the Dr ordered. Well, at least that’s what this Dr (Ph.D. – marketing +25 years teaching digital marketing) orders.

Maybe you use Facebook and figure you can manage to craft a digital strategy with that experience. Or, you’re a web designer and know all the tools necessary to create an SEO optimized website. Well, unless you have expertise in marketing, experience managing websites and social media, and know digital advertising inside and out, I’m here to tell you you’ll struggle to craft a digital strategy that delivers the proven returns you envision for your business.

Why you need an agency

If you’re thinking about hiring an expert consultant or agency but you don’t know whether or not it is the right decision for you don’t worry, you definitely came to the right place.

Whether you’ve been thinking about hiring a consultant or agency for years or you’re frustrated with your performance and think an agency might help improve profitability, a consultant can help you move your business forward to improve performance with less stress.

Running the marketing for a business is overwhelming at first, especially if that’s not your area of expertise. While founders and even established businesses often think marketing is something that’s intuitive; something that requires no special training or experience, there are a number of warning signs you may need to engage an expert. From struggling to make the progress you envisioned to growing too fast, hiring a consultant or agency offers benefits you may not imagine at first blush.

Not only do agencies have people with the right training and expertise to deliver on the promise of digital marketing, but they’re also often cheaper in the long run. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the header image on this post that compares the cost of hiring an internal marketing professional versus the cost of using a marketing agency to craft a digital strategy for your business. Not only that, the opportunity cost of using an in-house agency can sink your business fast.

With that in mind, here are 5 signs you need to hire an expert consultant or agency:

5 signs you need help to craft a digital strategy

You struggle to make the progress you envisioned

Crafting a digital strategy then implementing it successfully requires knowledge and experience across a broad range of functional areas and only digital marketers have these cross-functional skills. Among the needed skills are:

  • marketing
  • business analytics
  • graphic design
  • content creation
  • web design
  • advertising
  • project management

And, that’s just to get started. Once you grow beyond a certain point, you need to build a team of specialists and your strategist will also manage the team, which requires skills in leadership, team management, and negotiation, as well as management.

If you started your business a while ago and ran the business for a long period of time, you have certain expectations regarding growth and profitability. Yet, you find that you’re struggling to make any progress, you may want to speak to a consultant to craft a digital strategy to give you a jumpstart. And, hiring a consultant or agency brings new skills and experience to help.

Also, while it may not seem obvious to you, someone external to the business not only brings experience with businesses facing similar situations but brings objectivity as an outsider that aids as they work through the problems and find solutions. For a guide on how to drive sales in the meantime, visit this site.

In fact, after working many years as a consultant and then a small digital agency, I discovered pretty quickly that internal employees offer many advantages to an agency, but crafting a strategy often isn’t one of them. Plus, in some situations, the firm knew exactly what they needed to improve performance but brought in a consultant for political reasons since it creates less conflict when an outsider offers unpopular suggestions than when management makes similar suggestions.

You don’t understand the market

Business opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you have a great deal of experience in a particular industry offering huge potential, but sometimes that’s not the case. Whether you’re moving into a new country or launching a new line of products, speaking with a consultant who has expertise in this area offers the best option to make your expansion a success. From orthodontic consultants to digital marketing consultants to international consultants to help with the ins and outs of the new opportunity, finding a great consultant or agency to guide the way eases the transition by providing specific insights on the market, logistic and legal concerns you face as you move into a new area, and even connections to make the transition easier.

You face a crunch managing everything on your plate

There are only so many hours in a day and you only have so much strength to get things done. And, some aspects of your business you just have to handle internally. Luckily, marketing is one of those areas where hiring an outside agency or consultant increases efficiency. The entire advertising industry arose from this opportunity to effectively and efficiently outsource marketing activities.

If you struggle when it comes to marketing, hiring a consultant allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, secure in the knowledge that someone with more appropriate skills and experience has everything well in hand.

Whether the agency or consultant spends a day with your in-house marketing team or you hire them on a recurring basis, they offer an extra set of hands when you need to stretch beyond your current staffing. For a guide to marketing your business, visit this site for up-to-date recommendations.

A PR disaster strains your ability to respond 

Although this doesn’t happen often, you may find that you need to recover from a PR disaster. When faced with such a disaster, it’s all hands on deck because recovery is so much easier when you respond quickly and completely.

Take the example of Tylenol and their recovery from the death of a customer from their product. The company jumped into action, removing all remaining bottles from store shelves even before the investigation that ultimately proved the tampering occurred after the product left their factory. They made employees available to any news organization rather than hiding behind the ongoing investigation as a way to avoid talking to the press. The result: the company emerged stronger than before.

The cost of software and other products is prohibitive

As part of crafting a digital strategy, you need software and much of the best software is prohibitively expensive. You need software to handle automation, such as Hubspot. You need analytics software such as Data Miner to extract insights from your information. You need themes and plugins for your website. And, you need an email company to handle lead nurturing. All this costs money. By hiring an agency or consultant, you pay a fraction of the cost for this software since the agency spreads the cost over multiple clients so they charge you much less than if you had to purchase your own subscription.

Conclusion

With lots of signs to look out for, you can be sure you’re hiring an expert at the right time for you. What else do you need to look for? Did we miss anything off of the list? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.