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Marketing Consultant Or Marketing Agency: Which One Is For Me?

Competitor Research
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You are the owner or marketing leader in a small to mid-sized company. Over the past few years, you have made multiple attempts to used different marketing tactics to improve your company’s bottom line and increase revenue. You have seen some success, but it has not come without a fair share of headaches and frustrations. You have reached a breaking point and have decided that you need to bring someone else in to take some of the weight off your shoulders and add a fresh perspective to your efforts. The problem is you are exactly sure which direction to go and fear making a costly mistake. 

Sound familiar?

I am sure this story has played out time and time again in companies around the world when it comes to marketing efforts and where to turn. I personally have had this conversation with business leaders hundreds of times, so I know that it happens. The question is what is the right path to take and where do you turn to find help? 

In this article we will explore two common options when it comes to getting help from outside resources for your company’s future marketing efforts. 

Marketing Consultant

The first of two options we will discuss is that of a Marketing Consultant. The term consultant has at times gotten an unfair shake due to certain stigmas around the business world. Thanks to movies like Office Space and Up In The Air, if a company hires consultants, it doesn’t send the best message to their employees. A lot of times, their initial reaction is to think they are not performing well enough or that the company is downsizing. Though, most companies hire consultants to augment their employees’ efforts, not replace them. (blog.hubspot.com) The fact of the matter is this is the furthest from the truth. 

What is Marketing Consultant?

“A marketing consultant works with brands to examine their current marketing strategy and devise, execute, and measure a new marketing strategy.” Source: blog.hubspot.com

The long and short of it is a Marketing Consultant is an individual or they work as part of a Marketing Consultant firm that is hired by a company to assist in the everyday marketing efforts of the company. When a company finds itself in a place where outside help is necessary or desired a marketing consultant is a great option. 

What Does a Marketing Consultant Do?

The job of a marketing consultant varies greatly by company and project but typically involves advising companies on the best way to reach their customers. Marketing consultants might evaluate current marketing efforts and make suggestions for improvements, plan and implement social media or other marketing campaigns, train other marketers on best practices and suggest new content, workflows or methods for reaching consumers. Then they track the success of marketing strategies using analytical tools. Source: digitalmarketinginstitute.com

The great Marketing Consultants out there will take a holistic approach towards their job, which takes into consideration all aspects of the business while doing their channel research from market conditions, the clients current marketing strategies and their effectiveness, competitive research, as well as what channels are currently available to the client. 

Once all the details are compiled and research is completed the Marketing consultant will work closely with leadership to put together a comprehensive multi-channel marketing strategy that if done correctly should result in a positive ROI for the client.  

Why would a company hire a Marketing Consultant?

Companies can turn to Marketing Consultant for many reasons such as a simple project that needs to be done quickly and efficiently or a long-term visionary that can assist the company in seeing that they are working towards the visions and values of the company. 

Sometimes companies need assistance with their marketing as their current strategy looks flawed. That is where a marketing consultant comes into play. Usually, they have a wide range of services to offer, besides the versatility and know-how to grow businesses, helping them reach their full marketing potential. (totempool.com)

Regardless of the reason, hiring a marketing consultant in many cases is a great choice when resources or results are low. 

Marketing Agency

The second option we are going to explore is the possibility of hiring a Marketing Agency. Like it’s counterpart the Marketing Agency has had a tough time when it comes to their reputation. The past decade or so has put a slight black eye on the agency world. Although most of the agencies out there are on the up and up, there have been a few that have somewhat tainted the reputation of other. 

At the end of the day a Marketing Agency remains to be a good option when it comes to hiring outside help. The hard part is finding the one that is going fit your needs and style works well for you. 

What is a Marketing Agency? 

A marketing agency works with clients to develop and implement a variety of marketing strategies and campaigns.

That means marketing agencies need to handle a lot. Some are highly focused on a specific segment of marketing, while others offer a wide range of services including, but certainly not limited to:

Brand development

Social media marketing

Content marketing

Email marketing

Search engine optimization

Search engine marketing

Website hosting and development

Analytics and monitoring

Media relations

Crisis communications

Video creation and editing

Graphic design

Previously, marketing agencies (which you might also hear referred to as advertising agencies) focused on things like print advertisements if you’re thinking of Mad Men, you aren’t far off.

But, as the world has continued to move online, today’s marketing agencies work on a lot of digital projects.

According to Ad Age’s 2019 Agency Report, it’s estimated that, for U.S. agencies from all disciplines, digital work and projects made up 53.6% of the total revenue. Even more impressive? That is double the percentage from 2009.

Source: wrike.com

Due to an agency’s specialized nature they tend to be more focused for campaigns and particular projects. In most cases when you hire an agency you are getting more group think and a lot less individualized attention. Depending on the size of the agency that you are working with you may have as many as ten people working on your account at one time. 

Why would a company hire a marketing agency?

There are multiple reasons why someone would hire an agency over a consultant. As stated previously most consultants are geared towards the strategy and planning portion of a Marketing campaign, where that can fall short is in the execution aspect. Agencies many times are more task oriented and focus on getting results in each area. 

For example, if your company has created a marketing strategy that consists of launching a new digital campaign and you want to focus on driving organic traffic through search engine optimization (SEO). You would want to turn to an agency that specializes in SEO to complete the tasks associated with this campaign. They would be your trusted resources for all things related to SEO. Rather than attempting to hire internally or wing it an agency is many times the right approach. 

Another reason to hire an agency would be to outsource a portion of your marketing efforts so that you are able to focus on other aspects of Marketing. Take for example an online retailer who does well with most aspects of internet marketing but would really like to increase their social media presence. As a company you know that this is outside your wheelhouse so turning to an agency that specializes in Social would be a great choice. 

What if you need help with All Marketing Activities? 

Many small to mid-sized companies lack the resources to be able to handle much more than getting the product to the market. When it comes to a multi-channel or omni-channel marketing effort it can become an overwhelming experience. Finding a resource that is competent in the strategy development as well as having the ability to implement is something that would be a good fit for this scenario. 

A couple of options exist if this is the scenario that you find yourself in. 

Full-Service Marketing Agency

Full-Service Marketing Agencies are a great resource for companies who are looking to mostly hands off their marketing efforts. Meaning they want to be able to pay someone to simply come in a do the research, discovery, and implementation of the marketing strategy. This is an amazing option if budget permits. 

One downfall of a full-service marketing agency is it is most likely going to come with a heavy dollar amount attached to it. Considering the number of people who are going to be touching your account and the number of hours that are spent to putting together a campaign and effectively running the whole thing, this is understandable. 

The challenge lies in for the small to midsized companies is that they lack the financial resources to either hire a full-service agency or internal help while still attempting to spend money on their marketing efforts. If budgets are tight this may be a hard pill to swallow and cut into the actual effectiveness of a campaign. 

Marketing Consulting Firms

Unlike hiring a single consultant to come in and take over the role of marketing leader another resource is present and that is the options of a marketing consulting firm. Companies such as CadenceSEO bring with them the best of both worlds. As stated previously some marketing consultants bring with them the ability to not only offer the consulting but aid in the implementation and execution of the marketing strategy itself. 

It really works out to be the best of both worlds as you can get the experience and knowledge necessary to put together an effective marketing strategy as well as the ability to fill in the gaps where needed when it comes to implementation. 

CadenceSEO the Best of Both Worlds

Having started in the agency world and learning the ins and outs of agency life the team at CadenceSEO learned that companies need more than just someone to do the work for them. They realized that small to midsized companies are looking for a trusted resource to lead, guide and educated them in the world or marketing. 

Having originally been formed as an SEO agency CadenceSEO has evolved into somewhat of a full-service marketing consulting firm. They have the ability to stand in as the consultant and lead a team of marketers, which brought about their newest service, “Director of Digital Marketing as a Service” or fill in and operate like an agency to work on just one aspect of the business. 

If you are wanting to take your marketing to the next level, consider CadenceSEO and request a free video consultation

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