What is a marketing agency – and is it time you hired one?

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There’s no doubt that marketing is a big part of the business world, especially as the digital age continues to solidify itself. But the truth is, whether you like it or not, promoting your brand effectively is now a must and not a convenience.

Enter a marketing agency, cutting the hard work, confusion and energy out of ensuring your brand is seen when it matters most. Helping you find the reach the right audiences and create smarter strategies, there’s plenty to enjoy when it comes to enlisting the help of an expert marketing agency in the field.

What are the benefits of working with a marketing agency?

Not everyone is an expert in marketing, and if you’re already a master in your own trade, trying to nail down another takes time you often don’t have to spare. Employing an agency to do all of this hard work for you takes away some of the guesswork that comes with all the ways you can advertise your business, and helps you choose the best path to take.

Doing so also provides not only access to niche experience and expertise, but also enables you to gain research and data that better align your brand to your objectives. When you don’t have these resources handy, having people on hand to guide you through the process is a massive win.

Whether you’re thinking about doing something different in the market, or blending advertising, public relations and traditional channels into your marketing mix, enlisting an agency is most likely the best first step to take.

Additionally, investing in this kind of support helps your brand level up when you’re not sure how to. For example, a specialized marketing agency can help a start-up promote their product online, even when they don’t have a following. Or they can utilise various events, press releases, SEO channels and social media to power up an established organisation – the choices are endless.

So, what is a marketing agency able to help with?

We could write for days about all the ways an expert in this field – like our digital marketing specialists – can amplify your business. But for the sake of this guide, let’s hone in on a few key channels to consider:

Business planning and strategy

For end-to-end brainstorming on your brand identity, image, existing presence and channel selection.

Market research

Know how your customers behave – and where – or how your competitors are utilising their own marketing efforts.


Put your best messages forward when they matter most. Launch new products or spread the good word about your brand proactively.

Web design and development

Create a platform that suits your branding and intended buyer cycle, generating sales and leads for your business.

Search engine optimisation

Be seen on Google and Bing for the most high-volume, relevant keywords that your target audience are searching for.

Paid search

Enjoy a pay-per-click model that lets you display ads in search results, through the Google Display Network or even social media.

Social media management

Run highly captivating social media campaigns designed to increase brand awareness or enhance conversion rates.

Don’t trust just anyone with your marketing campaigns…

While these are just a few paths marketing firms focus on, it takes careful planning and research to understand which platform is best for your business. It can be tempting to take them all on at once, but this often results in wasted time, money and resources. Remember, your audience is different from that of another brand, so you’ll need to ensure you’re promoting your business where they’re most active.

Not sure where they’re dwelling? Well, that’s where a marketing agency comes in.

Looking at the bigger picture

What is a marketing agency able to help you with beyond platform selection? Well, beyond the channels marketing agencies are well-versed in, they’re able to power up brands of any industry with simplified operations and better consistency. Whether it’s through online advertising, content creation, media planning or operations management, all of this trickles down into your own teams, so it pays to ensure you have an expert at the helm.

In essence, a marketing agency can do more than just drive sales and clicks online. A customer-centric, quality-focused one – like Shout – can back your brand with:

Added value

Full-service agencies can provide added value in the form of expertise and insight. Sometimes this is more in line with what a company needs than what it wants, but there are times when a business simply wants to do things differently or better than anyone else doing it. And that means having an expert to show you the best way to do that. Many times, this involves spending a little extra time on projects that will result in tangible benefits for the business in the form of increased revenue or increased profits.

Ways to grow

Marketing agencies can offer strategic advice on how best to grow your business or market share. Eliminating the risk of wasting time and money on things that won’t be effective long-term, they offer clear and transparent advice on the best route available – i.e. if we know something won’t work for you, we’ll be honest about it.

Tailored strategies – If you’re looking for someone who has experience working with a specific industry, ensuring your chosen agency can create a bespoke approach for your brand is crucial. Cookie-cutter approaches won’t get you anywhere, and you’ll need to treat your business like the individual one that it is – marketing is no exception to this rule.

Analytics and data

Most successful companies don’t just want the numbers; they want insight into how those numbers perform and return sales. Instead of delivering fluffy ‘insights’ that mean nothing – or as we like to call them, “vanity metrics” – marketing companies should always give you the data that matters most. For example, we’ll analyse hundreds of records and platforms to ensure your analytics drive your campaign, rather than just cover up underperformance.

The ability to overtake competitors

Competition in any industry is a tough nut to crack right now. A marketing agency can help you charge ahead of your competitors, especially when they’re not using strategies to the best of their abilities.  When you’re looking to get a leg up, this is a massive win, no matter how big or small your business is.

When’s the right time to hire a full-service marketing agency?

The short answer is there is no wrong time to employ a digital marketing specialist. But while this is the case, there are some key signs you can watch out for in order to know when you absolutely need to jump onboard this level of support for your business. The following red flags are the first indicators we recommend keeping in mind:

  1. You lack the resources to remain consistent but can’t afford to hire internally: It’s hard to find someone to come in full-time that you can trust, but that also won’t cost the world to take on. A marketing agency gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to enjoy these resources, without the full-time commitment of having an extra employee on your payroll.
  2. Your results are lack-lustre and your campaigns aren’t performing: If you already have a strategy underway but aren’t seeing great results, it’s likely your strategy is misaligned or you’re utilising platforms that don’t reach your intended audience. An agency will solve this issue for you, providing you with a bespoke strategy that’s 100% tailored to your goals, objectives and target audience behaviour.
  3. You’ve undergone a brand transformation or PR crisis: It’s hard to come back from negative press or internal issues, but when you need to leverage positive communication about your brand, a marketing agency is the first support system to put in place. Even if you’ve only pivoted your branding and values, you need to ensure the message you’re putting out to the market is the right one.

Do any of these signs sound like something your business is experiencing? Read on to see how you can find the best marketing agency for your needs.

Is there a difference between a marketing firm and an agency?

If these two seem synonymous, there are actually a few minor details that set them apart. For example, a marketing firm is comprised of a team of professionals who typically specialise in a couple of key areas.

For example, firms specialising in PR focus on implementing public relations campaigns for brands, but may not have the in-house resources to manage an SEO campaign too.

In comparison, a full-service marketing agency offers an extensive list of digital marketing services that cover virtually any channel worth focusing on. So, if you’re after the entire spectrum, choosing marketing services from an agency is your best bet.

What to look for in a marketing agency

Full-service marketing agencies are a valuable tool for any business looking to fight its way through the crowd, but unfortunately, they’re not all made equal.

Whether you’re at the start of your marketing agency search or you’re closing in on making a decision to hire a certain one (hopefully us), here are some important things to consider before you sign the dotted line:

1) What are the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen marketing agency? What is it that they do well that others may not?

2) How long have they been operating and what kind of reputation do they have?

3) Are they ranking in search engines results on Google and do they have an acceptable digital footprint?

4) What is their approach to digital marketing and what platforms do they specialise in?

5) What do their reviews look like? Can they provide case studies that reflect similar campaigns to what your brand needs?

Using these questions as a guideline to scoping out potential agencies, you can sift out those that can deliver tangible results and those that are just good at talking about them.

For example, at Shout, our unique position as a full-service marketing agency means we offer an exclusive X-Chart forecast that shows you the sales you can expect within three, six and twelve-month periods, no matter the service you enlist us for. This means you can know your ROI before you’ve even come on board – that’s how confident we are in our ability to deliver.

Key takeaways

The reason why so many businesses are looking to marketing agencies for help is that the world of products and services is no longer based on the physical world. In fact, with two billion people purchasing goods online in 2020 alone, there’s never been a better time to make sure you’re visibility across the web.

If you’re still using outdated advertising methods and marketing strategies to promote your products and services, it’s not too late to make the transition to digitally focused, user-centric ones. Remember a marketing agency can do this for you by:

  • Increasing your exposure online through agile marketing strategy.
  • Achieving search engine optimization and rankings for better visibility.
  • Increasing conversions and leads for your business.
  • Creating an attractive and user-friendly website.
  • Amplifying your brand messages on social media marketing.
  • Landing your ads in front of the eyes that matter most.

The good news is this, as long as you keep up with changing trends and stay on top of new developments in your industry — you can expect your business to continue growing for many years to come. But that requires an expert by your side who knows how to ensure all of this happens.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity for the future – get your free X-Chart now from Shout. We offer marketing agency services designed to amplify your brand in all ways possible. If you’re looking to achieve your business goals, the first step is to choose a digital agency to help you do just that.

Shout logo in grey

As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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