Is it time to look outside your own walls?

On the wall

So, say you have a well-evolved marketing organization, with an experienced creative team who keeps your brand identity unified, and is very good at managing the daily business of refreshing marketing collateral, maintaining your web site, pushing out the occasional banner ad, designing displays for your tradeshow presence.

Why would you hire an agency for your marketing initiatives when you already have your team in place?

It often comes down to the simple fact that agencies have very specialized expertise and experience that internal teams don’t. Agencies gather team members who have spent years developing and refining skills that—were you to hire permanent employees—would simply cost your company too much. An agency engagement is a great way to augment your already skilled internal team with specialties that would otherwise be far too costly.

Here are some considerations to help you decide if you should work with an agency as you review your marketing strategy and internal capabilities:

  • How are your analytics and do you use them effectively?
  • How well do you test?
  • Do you write to the medium and audience?
  • Do you know what they’re saying about you?
  • What are you doing in the rapidly changing social media space?
  • Are you closing the loop between planning and campaign performance analysis?
  • Are you using audience segmentation to its fullest extent?

There are a lot more things to ask yourself as well; this is by no means a complete list. Marketing in the digital age has become such a complex affair–and lots of moving parts means lots of challenges and lots of opportunities for growth.

We’ve all seen campaigns “go viral” because the message is compelling, the story intriguing; but how does it perform? Often those viral campaigns either don’t result in significantly greater sales, or they’re not measured well enough against a baseline to know with any degree of certainty whether they had any impact on sales. Peter Mancini discusses that in a previous post, Superbowl™ Social Media Analytics. What it comes down to is that there’s a whole lot more to marketing these days that merely coming up with good creative design. Good creative is only a tiny piece of the story; what you do with it, how people talk about it and whether or not you stay with your audience and continue to engage them has profound effect on the outcome as well.

Are you ready for all this?

If you already have an established marketing organization, chances are good that you are juggling many of these marketing eggs already. Sometimes it helps to get an outside-in perspective, sometimes it helps to have extra resources to focus on a particular initiative. If you don’t have a marketing organization of your own, you are very likely missing out on some tremendous opportunities to attract, engage and retain customers using some pretty amazing methods!

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By Rebekkah Hilgraves

*RadHaus Solutions*: ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant. Marketo Certified Expert. Solutions Architect. Marketing automation implementation, integration, best practices, governance. Marketing automation, with a heavy dose of nerd.

*RadHaus Studio*: Broadcast and recording engineer, media production manager, cable monkey, marketing dork, project manager, chief cook and bottle-washer.

A seasoned trainer, marketer, web producer and front-end developer, solutions architect, writer, consultant, broadcaster, recording engineer, and public speaker, I've worked in eLearning, Instructional Design, CMS, Marketing Automation and CRM (especially Marketo, ActiveCampaign, and SimplyCast), content delivery and management, taxonomy, SEO, media production and technical support. I bring a unique blend of experience and expertise.

Through RadHaus (formerly SheTech and Company), and in partnership with ELK // Obscura Media, and Prove digital marketing agencies, I have supported enterprise clients in marketing automation implementation and operations, digital marketing and data strategies. I help design and operationalize custom integrated marketing programs for businesses, working with audience/user group segmentation, SEO, web analytics, design and UX best practices, multimedia, social media and other strategic web design and delivery mechanisms. I also do hands-on media production and arts marketing, allowing me to remain involved in the arts.

As part of Marketo's education team, I managed the production and publication of eLearning modules, and was a key member of the LMS implementation and certification development teams.

A consultant on the Web Operations team for OppenheimerFunds in New York, I offered technical, production, and strategy support on a major web site redesign project.

As Managing Editor for an online news magazine published by NetQoS, I supervised and managed the migration of the site from a legacy content management system to a .NET-based commercial system. I maintained the site and the content, updating the magazine with new content from industry analysts and technical experts on a weekly basis.

My earliest foray into both technology and training was as a software trainer for logistics company Cheetah Software Systems, helping create an implementation and training practice standard for the company, and building their user documentation.