While there are some indications that fewer businesses are using marketing agencies to supplement their in-house teams in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic (find more post-pandemic changes in marketing here), many still turn outside their own organization to fill specific needs, especially if internal headcount was adversely affected by the economic upheaval.When choosing to work with an outside agency, a few key agency attributes, capabilities and specific content creation expertise are most often needed, according to a survey by Ascend2.
In Ascend2’s Agency Trends Survey 2020, marketers told surveyors that agencies need to be creative and responsive, able to handle overall marketing strategy development, content creation and lead generation, and provide expertise in creating email/newsletter content, along with research and thought leadership material.
Not surprisingly, many of these attributes and capabilities are those we have long found to be most beneficial to our clients throughout the 17-year history of JONES Marketing & PR, and I’ve touched on many of them in past articles, including a series of marketing lessons learned and implemented at JONES.
Creativity (and curiosity, which I believe is a requirement for creativity) drove the first lesson discussed in that series. When you are curious about how things work and how they impact people in concrete ways, finding creative approaches to marketing content just comes naturally.
Being responsive to clients should be second nature for any agency, and I believe that our responsiveness is one of the reasons many clients stayed with us for a decade or more, and individuals often “took us with them” as they moved on to work in new roles for new companies.
As for strategic development, while this survey cites “overall marketing strategy,” I believe it is important to take it a step farther to “integrated marketing and PR strategy.” One reason for choosing a full-service agency is that we consider how all of your communications channels and tactics work together, from press releases and thought leadership articles to social media, SEO, email and advertising.
Great content creation requires finding the right people to create that content and then giving them the time and space to do the job well. We hire only experienced staff who know the importance of every word, every image and every connection in the overall campaign. Content creation is the essence of today’s marketing, not an afterthought.
As for the specific tactics that CMOS and marketing managers rely on agencies to drive successfully, research and thought leadership have also long been a part of the JONES model of success. We’ve guided banks, financial services firms, enterprise software providers and healthcare IT companies in surveys and research that fed directly into a wide range of content, including the use of contributed thought leadership articles to grow awareness of the brand and directly drive lead generation. Here’s how we do it:
- Use Surveys & Original Research To Fuel Content
- Rethinking Bylined Articles: Turning PR Into Marketing
Deciding to partner with an agency for some portion of your marketing strategy is a big step, dependent on your brand’s needs, goals and budget. You need to feel confident that the agency you choose can provide the expertise and work you need and take a load off your plate, not create more management hassles.
Here are a few resources to help you choose the right agency:
- READ: 8 Benefits of Hiring A Full-Service Marketing Agency
- READ: Why Budget-Friendly Boutique Agencies Make Sense
- READ: How to Get the Best Results From Your Content Marketing Agency
- DOWNLOAD: HubSpot Partner Agency Checklist
If you are wondering what benefits an agency partner can bring to your marketing team, let’s talk. No pressure, just a no-obligation consultation about your current needs, goals, and challenges. Schedule a time on my calendar today.