How to do marketing

14 misconceptions about working with marketing agencies

We've all heard the phrase 'content is king', but research has shown it's more than hype. When it comes to B2B purchasing behaviour, customers will contact a sales rep only after they've independently completed about 60 percent of the purchasing decision process. That's why you need to be working with a marketing agency.

Potential leads and customers have been to your website, read your blog and probably downloaded a white paper or a brochure all before making first contact.

Working with the right agency therefore matters more than ever. You don't just need on time and on budget, you need on message and on the ball as well.

Dispelling the myths of working with agencies

It's time to cut through the chatter and shatter a few myths to make finding an agency, which takes the value of your content as seriously as you do, that much easier. Below are 14 common misconceptions that will help you separate the wheat from the chaff:

1. All agencies are created equal

Not every agency produces excellent content, has knowledge in your industry and is able to form a lasting business relationship. Look at an agency's own online presence to get a clue as to whether they'll be a good fit for your company, industry and working style.

2. It takes too much time to find a quality agency

If it takes a long time to find a marketing agency, you probably don’t want them in charge of your online presence, right? An agency should be reasonably easy to locate if they are capable of meeting your needs.

3. They're doing the same job my employees could be doing

If you’ve assembled an incredible team, they might possess the talents, skills and drive to create great content. But it's usually at the expense of the tasks for which they’re already responsible. Outsourcing means bringing in the experts for specialist tasks so that the day-to-day performance of your own employees isn't compromised.

4. I've no idea who is producing the content

You shouldn’t feel like you are sending your briefs into an abyss and hoping it spits out great content. Build relationships with agencies that you can trust because you know who at the agency is responsible for your content.

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5. I get no control over the content produced

A good brief gives you more control over the final product than you think. A professional, competent agency can turn a good brief into the content you hoped for. It also gives you something to refer to if expectations are not met.

6. Outsourcing content is not efficient

Working with an agency shouldn’t add more stress to your job. A good agency will work alongside your wider marketing campaign to deliver content when and where it's needed. Plus, once you find an agency that suits the company, working with them again and again will build trust and familiarity making outsourcing even smoother.

7. Agencies are one-dimensional

Don't stick with an agency that only promises more Twitter followers when you told them your goal is more leads from your website. The agency you work with should be able to tailor their content, strategy and delivery based on your specific campaign goals.

8. A marketing agency will put me over budget

Ineffective content will cost your company when it fails to produce results. A quality agency makes outsourcing worthwhile by producing content that beckons customers to your business. Plus, the best (achem) agencies have fixed budgets that you can plan around up front.

9. Less costs less

It's important to learn the value of each product an agency sells, so you can handle your budget effectively. It's not always just about the word count. Research-intense or interview-based editorials and reports take a lot more effort and input than say a blog post.

10. Agencies are just after the pay cheque

A good agency understands the role they play in your wider marketing goals. The right agency will want to build a working relationship with you and make those goals theirs, and thereby consider your success their victory. It's about more than creative wordplay: it's about measurable results.

11. Generating content is the easy part

Marketing isn’t magic. An agency needs time to do the work you’ve asked of them. Have realistic expectations for deadlines, provide a great brief, be available as needed and leave them to it.

12. Agencies can get everything they need off the company website

For best results, let them get to know your business beyond what's already on the website. Provide adequate resources on the company, products, services, goals and strategy to get accurate, detailed content that is aimed at your ideal audience and fits your greater purpose.

13. Every client is a number one priority

Every client is important to an agency, but it's impossible for every client to be number one. Understand that it is an agency’s business to meet all of their deadlines and each client's expectations. Trust that they will meet yours as well.

14. They always overpromise and under-deliver

If this is the case, you’ve been working with the wrong agencies. An experienced agency knows and can communicate the value of effective content and accurately plan for the time it takes to produce it.

Nobody has time to work with poor agencies that perpetuate these common misconceptions. Take some time to find a good agency, and the right agency for your market, and then be sure to keep working with them.

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Katelyn Piontek

Marketing copywriter for Articulate Marketing.