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If you want to be profitable, at some point every business needs to improve and expand their marketing outreach by using external consultants – from sole traders to large, complex organisations.
Even though you may have extensive marketing skills and knowledge in-house, an extra pair of hands can be invaluable when you get really busy. Bringing in additional marketing support also makes a great deal of business sense when faced with particular challenges or opportunities. Or to buy in specific marketing skills and experience that provides you with the viewpoint of a professional outsider.
It could be that you are considering using a marketing company to help you to launch a new product or service effectively. Or, to underpin a far-reaching expansion programme. Another reason to seek out marketing companies is if your new website – or an existing one – is failing to live up to expectations.
Companies sometimes call in digital marketing service professionals if they want to start using social media to promote products or services.
Or perhaps you are about to invest heavily in an innovation, new equipment or a new marketplace. In which case you need some quotes from market research companies.
Sudden gaps in your marketing team can be a nightmare, particularly for small businesses or any ambitious enterprises that need to stay competitive. So, you may be looking for marketing services to help you as an interim measure, or to avoid the expense of recruiting new staff.
Whatever your reasons for needing to track down and consider the best marketing companies, you may find the choice a little overwhelming. It can be a time-consuming task to whittle down all the candidates and find the right marketing company for what your business needs.
Here are some pointers for what to look for when appointing marketing agencies, and some tips on how to go about briefing marketing services companies too.
The aim is to help you meet your organisation’s marketing needs, within a clear budget, to achieve the best possible outcomes, and get a good return on your investment.
What Are The Differences Between Marketing Companies?
You need to start by having a reasonably clear idea of what sort of marketing company would be the best fit for your current needs and challenges.
A lot depends on what particular sector of industry and commerce you are in, as many marketing companies specialise in particular fields. You may also find that some agencies focus on business to business marketing, while others are particularly experienced in business to consumer marketing services. If you are looking to focus on business to business marketing, then you’re going to want to ensure a professional outlook with all of your marketing campaigns, and a specialist agency should provide you with this at all times.
There are marketing companies that provide general services across a range of marketing disciplines. These are sometimes referred to as full-service marketing companies.
These days, all marketing agencies need to be proficient in helping clients to make the most of the opportunities online. However, some marketing companies promote themselves as digital marketing specialists and concentrate on websites, social media and search engine optimisation, or SEO (how high your website ranks on search engines such as Google).
Other marketing companies focus on one part of the marketing process. For example, branding consultants, advertising agencies and media planning and buying companies. Some provide specialist direct marketing advice and services – such as email marketing campaigns, and some may focus solely on business to business marketing, whereas others are more content with focussing on consumer marketing campaigns.
There are also public relations (PR) marketing agencies. These can advise you on your relationship with your stakeholders – customers, staff, suppliers and shareholders, for example. How can that relationship be improved? They can also create crisis management plans for your organisation, which would include aggressive marketing support to enable your company to survive a major problem.
As so much of marketing these days centres around well-researched, expertly written and visual material, content marketing agencies are also becoming more common. You would seek out content marketing companies if you want help with a strategy and material for blogs, social media, newsletters and any other marketing communications.
Marketing Research Matters
Any marketing agency worth their fees would need to know the answers to some basic questions, in order to provide meaningful marketing consultancy and activities.
Who are your customers? What are the special features (unique selling propositions) of your product or services? Where is your marketing now, and where do you want it to go?
If you don’t already have clear and detailed answers to help you to brief marketing agencies, you may need to consider marketing research specialists.
The best and most successful marketing plans are based on marketing research. If this is not something you can carry out in depth internally, then a marketing agency with specialist knowledge and experience could be helpful, in order to provide you with the most efficient marketing research available.
Market research companies can provide data for you to use to formulate not just your marketing plan but also your business strategy. They can literally investigate your market place from all angles. What type of people buy your products and how can you attract more of them? Where do your potential customers get their information? What influences their buying decisions? Who are your competitors? How do your competitors carry out their marketing services to get a good response and increase sales?
Another valuable service provided by market research companies is creating data to help you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities. They can provide a start point, and then measure again to see how far perceptions have advanced. This is an important way of seeing what is working – and what isn’t – from any activities carried out by an external marketing agency or your own team.
What Is Network Marketing?
The rise of social media and the increasing opportunities presented by mobile technology have led to the prolific growth of network marketing companies. These are companies which base their whole business model and strategy on creating a network of freelance marketing people or ventures.
Products are positioned and promoted by this network of often part-time or flexible workers. Network marketing companies can help you to recruit this group of people across a wide geographical spread and can provide a steady flow of ideas and artwork for them to use. In this way, network marketing companies can disseminate your marketing message across social media or at events for example.
Tips On Creating A Marketing Services Brief
Hopefully, you have now got a clearer idea what type of marketing company you need to take your business, product or service forwards.
It is probable that you also know how much your company can afford to invest in marketing agency support. And of course, you want a good rate of return on any marketing agency fees you pay.
Our handy comparison tool can show you the companies that are able to generally match your needs and expectations, within the cost structure you have worked out.
Getting a price comparison is a great way to help narrow down who to talk to about your marketing brief.
After all, you don’t want to waste precious time briefing a marketing consultancy – or specialist marketing provider – only to find their fees are way out of your league!
Having used our handy price comparison for marketing companies, you can start talking to potential suppliers of marketing services.
The next step is important. It can make or break your working relationship with a marketing services provider. It is the brief you give them.
In a nutshell, your marketing brief – in order to get the best working relationship started with a marketing company of any type – needs to map out what you want to achieve, in detail. Where are you now as a company, and where do you need to be? What activities would you want a marketing services agency to provide? What controls would you want in place to measure and monitor marketing consultancy support? It also helps if you set clear timescales, a reliable pathway for communications and approvals, and instructions on any subcontracting arrangements you are prepared to accept.
Remember though, costs for using external marketing specialists can quickly run away with you. So start the ball rolling by using our website to find the best marketing companies offering affordable fee structures.
We can put you in control of your external marketing support from day one.