Throughout the last few years, I’ve heard a lot of “Why do I need to hire a marketing agency?” Not surprisingly, I hear this primarily from industrial companies. Traditionally, industrials are focused on old-school methods of sales and marketing such as trade shows and the occasional print ad. If it ain’t broke, why fix it — right? Well, not necessarily.
That old adage can only take one so far. Sure, if you view marketing as a necessary but unpleasant exercise (i.e., something that has to be done, but which you rather wouldn’t), it might be enough to stick to the old methods. But to truly compete, industrials need to start thinking seriously about marketing as an activity that can help grow their businesses. Competition is fierce, and those who choose to evolve their marketing will stand out from the crowd. The quickest way to get out in front of the pack is to hire a marketing agency. It’s also the best.
But before you take my advice and hire an agency, make sure that you’re hiring the right agency. There are lots of talented folks out there who do marketing, but not all of them do business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Even fewer focus on industrial marketing. Bottom line: You want to work with a marketing firm that understands your needs and can get to work right away.
Industrials, then, should hire a marketing agency that not only understands the complex products and services industrial companies provide, but also the customers looking for those products and services. An industrial marketing agency will be able to get going without requiring additional time to learn about the industrial space. They’ll also have a leg up on what industrial customers want.
OK, so now that we’ve covered that no-brainer, let’s dig into how the right agency can help you take your marketing to the next level and give your business that competitive advantage.
You’re Experts in Your Field, They’re Experts in Theirs
In my experience, smaller industrial companies don’t have internal marketing departments. Many of these companies get by with odds and ends various people have created — a mishmash of inconsistent logos, hastily made websites, and contradictory sales sheets. Usually, these assets have been created by people who aren’t experts in marketing.
In the first place, this approach fails because the people who created these materials don’t have the resources they need to do a good job. They’ve got their main responsibilities (e.g., sales), which they pursue 99% of the time. Creating marketing materials is a distraction — a sort of necessary evil they have to undertake without having the time or know-how to do it well. A marketing agency, on the other hand, will be dedicated to these tasks. It’ll be their job to do a good job at marketing.
Moreover, when you hire a marketing agency, you hire marketing experts. It’s important to hire an expert so you can put the best representations of your company, products, and services out there. To help illustrate this point, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which a marketing agency does this.
Many companies without internal marketing departments have an ad-hoc approach to marketing. Create an ad and place it. That one doesn’t work? Create another one and place it elsewhere. Need a new website? Hire a freelancer for cheap to throw something up on the web. Not getting the returns you wanted? I’m not surprised.
Before any ads or websites are made, a marketing agency will develop a strategy specific to your company and industry, aligning their findings with marketing best practices. They’ll create a plan for the year and pledge their service as a partner that will help you optimize not only your marketing but your business.
This strategy will be grounded in thorough, upfront research that may seem drawn out but is actually crucial for laying the groundwork for a successful year in marketing. That initial strategy will drive informed decisions that will positively impact your company’s short- and long-term goals.
The Latest Tactics
This next point goes hand in hand with research and strategy: A good marketing agency is going to have a grasp of the most current and effective marketing tactics. This means they’ll be able to introduce new ideas and methods for quickly boosting leads, as well as identify which tactics don’t apply to your situation or won’t produce a good return on investment. On the other hand, if someone’s core job isn’t marketing, they won’t have time to cultivate this sort of awareness. They’ll just continue to do what they know, what feels safe, or what a media salesperson tells them is working.
So please, no more Nancy from Accounting randomly creating sales sheets. When you hire a team that knows what to market and who to market to, that allows Nancy to do the job she was hired to do while leaving marketing to the experts — a win-win situation.
You Talkin’ to Me?!
Companies that sell children’s toys use language that appeals to children and they do that because they know their audience. Each industry has a different tone, and each company has its own voice, which they use to address their specific audiences.
The industrial tone often requires a very technical approach that a specialized marketing agency will know how to employ due to experience working in this industry. Using an appropriate tone and voice for this audience is very important because it shows a company understands its customers. If a company misses the mark communicating to a potential customer, then what else might they miss the mark on?
Identifying an appropriate tone and voice is important for all client-facing communications such as sales collateral, website content, emails, advertisements, and any other mode of communication. If language is standardized across all channels, it signals that a company is organized and has an identity. If a company has a presence like this, it creates trust — not only in its brand, but in all of its products and services. Everyone likes doing business with a company they feel they can trust.
No More Shootin’ Blind
In many cases, a company without an internal marketing department or a marketing agency is operating blindly. While some of the items it creates may help boost inbound marketing leads, a lot of times no one really keeps track of the successes (or failures). No one is really in a position to know what worked and what didn’t.
In contrast, a good agency lives or dies by its reporting. Everything is tracked, gauged, and ranked according to metrics they establish with you. They analyze numbers on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis to provide feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. Based on that data, they adapt their marketing efforts to improve your return on investment.
With Nancy, you’re shooting blind. With an agency, you not only get to see the target, you get closer to the bull’s eye with every shot.
Let’s Get Technical
You may have a relatively new website and may have even had someone at your company install Google Analytics to track activity on it. Well, just because a website is new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. And maybe Nancy in Accounting is somewhat technical, but how deeply does she really understand Google Analytics? If you take shortcuts in these areas, you will inevitably get results that fall short.
Instead of winging it, call in the people with the technical knowledge. A good marketing agency will have the technical knowledge to create, improve, and analyze your systems. They’ll set everything up properly and tackle issues you probably didn’t know you had in the first place.
Stop Talking! Time to Hire That Marketing Agency
Another good reason to hire a marketing agency is that they know when to stop communicating. Are people being slammed too frequently over email? Has a blog post reached its limit? Being the good marketer I am, I know I’ve written just about enough to keep your attention and give you some information without overloading you on the subject. So please allow me to make my exit.
In summary, working with the right marketing agency will help your company grow by leaps and bounds. You hire experts to fix your plant’s HVAC system, organize your supply chain, and build new pieces of equipment. Marketing shouldn’t be an exception to this rule.
If you’d like to learn more about working with a marketing agency that focuses on industrial companies, consider reaching out to us at Industrial Strength Marketing. We’ll be happy to tell you more about what it’s like working with an agency and help you analyze your current marketing efforts.