As a small business owner, you may be asking yourself if hiring a marketing firm is the best decision for your company. Perhaps you have handled the business’ marketing needs yourself. Now, you’ve seen both your business grow and the factors that compete for your time. That’s a sign that it is a good time to consider outsourcing.
Identifying a trusted marketing partner can take some time and you do have your budget to consider. How do you know if hiring a marketing consultant could benefit your business? Start by asking yourself if you relate to any of these three scenarios:
Time is Your Most Valuable Asset
Our world moves quickly and that is especially true in digital marketing. Social media and search algorithms change every day and so too do the rules of engagement. Yesterday’s tools, search terms, and trending hashtags are irrelevant today.
There’s no doubt that you have the skills to market for yourself but consider if it’s worth your time and effort to stay current on this fast-moving industry in addition to your own. Do you have enough interest to eat, breathe, and sleep digital marketing for an extended period of time? Weigh that against the cost of hiring a professional team whose job it is to know marketing trends and innovations and the best practices for employing them.
Fresh Eyes Bring a Fresh Perspective
As Robert Burns’ poem begins, “Oh, would some power the us the gift, to see ourselves as others see us.” Outside perspective is the greatest value an outside agency or consultant can deliver. We all have blind spots and it’s easy to develop a culture of “groupthink,” where everyone on the team makes the same assumptions and decisions.
Our agency often brings in outside consultants, even in areas that are core to our business. We have expertise in messaging and content, yet when it came time to do a messaging session for our company, we hire external consultants. They helped us see our business in a new way and clarified some key messages that we had been circling around for months.
It’s hard to see the forest for the trees in a small business when you are worried about product delivery, customer service, and cash flow. Find an advisor you trust to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective.
Beware of the Curse of Knowledge
No outside agency will ever understand your business like you do. You are an expert in your field and know your products or services inside and out. Believe it or not, sometimes that well-earned expertise can hinder your marketing efforts.
Do you speak in acronyms or “shop talk” leaving your customers scratching their heads? The curse of knowledge — when you assume others have the same understanding you do — may have you communicating on an entirely different wavelength than those you need to connect with the most.
You might be explaining the latest and coolest feature of your product, while a potential customer doesn’t yet understand how your product works or how that shiny, new feature could possibly benefit them.
Any good agency or consultant will bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears to help you more effectively reach your target audience. Sometimes it’s as easy as shifting your thinking from features (your business or product) to benefits (what’s in it for the customer).
Adding additional expenses to your small business can be a difficult decision, and nobody can make that choice for you. The decision of hiring a marketing firm comes down to weighing your available time, need for business development, the cost, and the potential benefit they can deliver.
Lauren Yates is a principal and co-founder of ThinkWell Consulting, LLC. Here, she writes about consulting, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.