Marketing companies can be a vital addition to your business. They can help you develop a marketing strategy, plan your campaigns and manage them along the way, and provide you with the results. But not every marketing company is a clone of the others. Different companies provide different services at varying costs, so you will want to pick the one that works best for your needs and budget.
Today’s blog post will talk about the different types of marketing companies, and how to find the right one for your business.
Types of Marketing Companies
There are hundreds of thousands of marketing companies across the world, and none of them are exactly alike. Some are closer to the more traditional forms of advertising, and they’re like the ad firms you would see in Mad Men. But while those agencies are still vital to the advertising and marketing world, they’re not the whole story.
Here are some marketing companies in today’s world:
Traditional Marketing Agency
When you think about marketing companies, this is probably the kind that comes to mind first. They can be big international firms or small boutique agencies, but they’re all about the more established and traditional forms of advertising. That means print ads in glossy magazines, high-quality commercials that run on all the big networks, and radio spots and jingles.
These marketing companies likely also include some digital advertising in their marketing strategy, but it’s not their core focus.
They excel at helping companies with big marketing budgets grow and gain market share across a region of the US or the whole country, or even to an international audience. Their rates are high, but if that kind of reach and high production quality is what you need, they’re a good way to go.
In-House Marketing Agencies
Many large corporations have such extensive marketing needs that they build their own in-house agencies. A Fortune 500 company might have several hundred marketers working full-time on their advertising campaigns and digital marketing activities.
Hiring and building an in-house team is expensive, but for the big companies, it pays off in having dedicated and knowledgeable staff on hand all the time.
Digital Marketing Company
Full-service digital marketing agencies are a fast-growing type of marketing company. This has only been accelerated by the recent widespread adoption of online shopping and the rapid growth of online media.
Digital marketing is all about online marketing – reaching your customers where they spend their time.
While traditional marketing companies may also engage in some digital marketing tactics, it’s not their central area of expertise.
A digital marketing company, on the other hand, lives and breathes all kinds of digital tactics.
These could include:
- content marketing
- paid search campaigns
- email marketing
- designing and building a business website
- copywriting for the website
- social media marketing and management, and more.
An SEO agency specializes in just one part of digital marketing – optimizing your search engine marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) expertise can be very valuable, especially for small businesses that are looking to grow affordably. But becoming an SEO expert is time-consuming, and many parts of SEO are pretty technical. Hence, busy small business owners can benefit from outsourcing these tasks to an SEO agency.
SEO agencies can help you develop keyword strategies, grow your backlinks, optimize your website for SEO, and create an SEO-focused content marketing strategy. Some SEO agencies can also help you develop a strategy for PPC (pay-per-click) ads on search engines, like Google Ads.
Direct Marketing Company
Direct marketing is old-school, but it’s effective for many industries – it’s all about managing direct mail campaigns.
As such, direct marketing companies can help you:
- develop mailing lists to target your customers
- design effective ads to mail
- mail the ads and offers to your prospects
- calculate the response and results for the campaign
Marketing Communications Company
Marketing communications companies help you plan and create your communications materials.
Theses might include:
- product guides
They can help you write, design, and produce all these materials and more at a high quality.
How to Find the Right Marketing Company for You
The above types of marketing companies are just a few of the marketing agencies available to today’s business owner. Many marketing companies specialize in particular niches, industries, or geographic areas.
Does that sound like an overwhelming amount of choices?
It can be at first – but it also means that you can probably find an agency that fits your needs very closely. That’s great news, because the more your marketing company understands your industry and your needs, the better your marketing targeting and success will be.
How do you start looking for the right marketing company for your business? First, you need to figure out what you want from a marketing agency.
Assess Your Needs
What part of your marketing needs help? This is the first and most important question to ask yourself when you’re looking for a marketing company.
Maybe you don’t have any idea what you need – that’s ok, and it’s good to know. Perhaps you want help with your overall marketing strategy. Or maybe you already have a marketing plan, and you just need help implementing your campaigns. There’s no wrong answer – but you need to know what you want so you can find the right agency to help you effectively.
You should also look at what types of marketing you’re interested in for your business. This could include:
- Content marketing through blogs, articles, or vlogs
- Paid digital ads on search engine sites or website banners
- Social media, whether it’s organic content, paid ads, or both
- Making your website more appealing
- Creating video production content or ads
And assessing your business goals
You should tie your marketing aims into your business goals too. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- What is hindering your business right now?
- Is your website not bringing in enough traffic, or is does that traffic have low conversion rates?
- Do you know that you need to engage with your prospects more, but aren’t sure if social media will work for you?
- Do you want to increase brand awareness?
- Are you looking to create a nurture marketing campaign to drive more sales?
- Do you need marketing consulting services, or a strategy built from the ground up?
Being thoughtful about what you need – and open about what you don’t know – boosts your chances of finding the agency that’s right for you. When you’re talking to marketing companies in your hiring search, they won’t expect you to know everything you need, but they will be able to help you more if you have clear goals in mind for your marketing.
Going into your marketing agency search with clear goals in mind helps you sort out the right company for your needs. Marketing companies are so specialized these days that there’s one that’s just right for you – if you know what you’re looking for.
Look at Your Budget
You can get anything you want from marketing companies these days – as long as your budget allows. You will want to set a smart marketing budget based on your current size and sales (check out our free marketing budget tool for more detailed info). Setting a realistic budget before you start talking to marketing companies will help you stick to what your business can reasonably afford.
If you’re struggling to calculate how much you should spend on marketing, watch our video on what goes into a marketing budget. Ideal marketing spend can seem high if you’re just starting out, but when your marketing works, it should return much more than you’ve invested.
Start Your Research
You know what you need and what you’re looking to spend. Now the search for the right marketing company begins.
You can begin with a simple Google search for marketing agencies in your area or your industry. Any marketing agency should have a helpful, professional website – if they can’t master that part of their marketing, it doesn’t bode well for how they will handle your own digital presence. Check out their cases studies and their clients – are they similar to your business?
You can also look at the website of other companies whose marketing you admire and look around (usually in the bottom corner) for the name of the company who built it. Keeping a digital file of websites and ads you like may help narrow the search as well – it will help you visual what you’re looking for in ads and digital presence.
Ask the Right Questions
Take advantage of the free consultations or calls most marketing agencies offer to ask about their services and address your needs and budget.
Who offers you real data about the effectiveness of their services?
You want to be able to measure your marketing results, not just pour your ad dollars into creative that looks great but doesn’t deliver.
Check with Your Network
Other businesses in your area or industry can be a valuable source of referrals and recommendations for marketing companies. Check in with your peers to see which marketing agencies they’ve worked with.
Find out who did they see great results with, and who disappointed them. Word-of-mouth referrals and reviews can be especially helpful if you’re in a very niche industry, as it can help you pinpoint agencies that truly understand what you do and what you need.
Network references can also help you avoid working with agencies who over-promise and under-deliver. This is just as important, because marketing isn’t cheap. Avoiding a partnership that doesn’t work for you now helps set you up for success down the road.
How to Successfully Work with Marketing Companies
Once you’ve chosen the right marketing company for you, the work isn’t over yet! Working with an external marketing agency can take some adjustment at first if you’re used to doing it all in-house – or all yourself.
But there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your marketing partnership more successful.
Have the Right Marketing Mindset
If you go into your new marketing campaign convinced that it will fail, you’re right. Marketing requires getting into the right mindset. You need to believe you’ll succeed in order to actually see results from your marketing. If you don’t think you can grow from your current marketing plan, you’re right.
Learn more about marketing mindset in this video.
Having a negative marketing mindset is even more damaging when you’re working with an external partner like a marketing company. If you’re determined not to see what’s working well, or if you’re not willing to adapt, the relationship will suffer, and so will your business results. Your careful choice of the right marketing partner should have alleviated any concern about their skills, so check into the deeper fears and worries behind your concern before you launch anything.
Set Clear Goals, Not Tactics
Often, business owners come into a meeting with their marketing company determined to launch a video series or an Instagram ads series. But if you’re starting your marketing plan thinking about the tactics you want to use instead of beginning with your business goals, you might be missing out on what’s most effective.
Your marketing company knows the field better than you do – that’s why you hired them, after all. They can tell you which marketing tactics will be successful. Your role is to tell them what you want to achieve for your business – that’s your area of expertise. Then they will work with you to figure out the marketing plan to get you there. It should be a true partnership to get the best results.
This is not to say you shouldn’t come in with ideas of your own – ideas are always welcome. And you might come up with a great new plan your marketing company loves, and is happy to implement. But being tied to a tactic instead of an outcome is a mistake if it makes you miss out on the right way to achieve a goal. It’s easy to get caught up in a trend, but correcting a mistake is harder.
Regularly Review Your Success
And those results should be something you see frequently. Any good marketing company should show you metrics and data on a regular basis so you know how your marketing campaigns are performing, what you’re spending, and the ROI you’re getting for that spend.
Many business owners don’t have much time on their hands – they just let those reports sit in their inbox unread and trust that they’re getting measurable results. But you should be reviewing that data on a regular basis so you’re up to date on what’s happening with your business.
You should have regular check-ins scheduled with your marketing company to review past results and look ahead at the upcoming months. Many businesses and industries have a seasonal flow throughout the year, so you will want to be sure you’re adjusting your plan and spend ahead of time.
And if you’re not sure what the data is saying, then ask your marketing company. They should have insight into what’s causing any upticks or downturns, and suggestions for ways to capitalize on success or turn around an effective tactic.
Find Your Digital Marketing Partner Today
Coming up with a complete digital marketing strategy isn’t easy – it’s a lot of moving parts. But you can’t afford to miss out on the benefits to your business, by appearing near the top of search results.
Looking for a partner in digital marketing who will provide you with a thoughtful, comprehensive marketing solutions, excellent writing, and results you can measure? Then get in touch with us at ContentFirst.Marketing.
Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses grow. You can use these insights for inspiration, and let us do the marketing for you.