When you’re trying to figure out how to convince your boss that you need a new marketing agency, you may go through a few phases. First, there’s the “this is so obvious” stage. As someone who’s immersed in the work, it’s so clear to you that a more expert partner—or at least one with more powerful tools at their disposal—is necessary. Then you fall into the “if I just explain this well, they’ll definitely let me get a new agency” phase—sure, it may not be obvious to someone on the outside, but once they see what you see, it will be. And then after a few attempts to explain you sludge through the “I’m never going to get with a new agency partner” phase, and then you give up.
Or you can take our advice and actually convince your boss you need a new agency, and skip right to step four—which is working with a group of marketing experts perfectly suited to solving your needs. Does that sound fun? Then read on.
What to look for in a new agency
Before you work on convincing your boss, you first need to evaluate why you feel the need to leave your current agency engagement or begin this company’s first agency experience. What are you looking to achieve? What are your company’s needs? What about your current partner is preventing you from succeeding?
Here are a few examples of situations you might find yourself in that could necessitate a new partner.
You are the market leader in your industry vertical.
Congratulations, you and your team have made it to the top of the hill (or you joined the team that just made it to the top)—now the entire industry is gunning for you, and copying your every move.
Take advantage of the greater resources at your disposal while you have them. Every business goes through the “if only I had more capital” stage—now you have that capital, and you can use it to fuel your growth. Seize a death grip on your industry by investing in yourself and bringing in the best outside experts available to you.
We can all look to Nike or Apple for inspiration here, but how about something closer to home? At Element Three we’re fortunate enough to work with some wonderful market leaders, such as BraunAbility, a leader in the mobility industry. Check out the amazing work we’ve done with them to truly solidify their place in the market.
Your company is growing fast, and marketing needs to keep up.
Marketing is always searching for more influence in the overall direction of the business. When you’re trying to grow and catch the market leader, you’re going to be given that influence—so it’s time to step up to the plate and make it count.
Momentum in business is a real thing, and slowing down your momentum to allow your capabilities to catch up (whether that’s through hiring a new team member or getting professional development done) can snowball into the death of growth. Working with an expert, however, can turn that momentum turn into true, sustainable growth.
If your leadership is serious about catching Number One, take the time to discover what the best route for hitting growth goals is—whether that is internally fueled growth or working with an outside expert. It’s well worth the payoff of catching the market leader and taking their place.
You need help making a large, critical strategic initiative a success.
With the importance of projects like a rebrand, a new website, or launching into a new market, you need to make sure you get them right. None of those are inexpensive in terms of time or money—and you only get one shot to break through the noise in your industry and make sure your efforts pay off.
In particular, if you’re launching into a new market—be it geographic or product-based—you will have less brand awareness than in the market you’re coming from. How are you going to be noticed? How are you going to make sure the return on investment is worth it?
These are questions you need to be considering when you begin these initiatives, and when you’re evaluating your need for an agency.
What kind of agency fits your experience level?
It’s important before you start trying to get your boss on board that you think about what your end goal is—the type of agency you’re going to shoot for. That’s because your level of experience working with an agency is really important—and if you convince your boss to sign on but you haven’t thought this through yet, you might end up getting swept down the wrong path and signing a contract with a partner who isn’t a good fit.
If your business hasn’t worked with an outside agency before but you personally have elsewhere, you can bring in that institutional knowledge to make the relationship work more smoothly—you pretty much have the pick of the litter when it comes to the kinds of agencies you can work with. That also applies if your business is moving from one agency to another. But if both you and your business have no experience working with an outside marketing partner, you’ll need to take it slow.
Some partners will be a better fit than others, and finding the right one will be very important. You probably won’t want to chase after the biggest, most sophisticated team around. Not yet.
Evaluate from your boss’ perspective
In the sales world, you are always looking at things from someone else’s point of view. For example, when talking with a new prospective client for Element Three, I’m not considering what I would want if I were the buyer, I’m trying to understand what matters for this unique situation. What goals do they have? Can we help? If yes, is Element Three the best fit for this?
You can consider the same line of questioning when considering how to internally sell the need for an agency. This applies whether you are leaving an existing relationship or starting your first relationship at a new company.
First, ask yourself what metrics matter most to your leadership. Are they concerned with leads? Marketing generated revenue? Traffic to the website? Performance on a specific campaign?
From here, consider very specifically why you need the external support. Is this topic something outside of your expertise? Are you stretched too thin and need the support of additional resources in order to meet the goals set for the company? Have you just undergone a significant shift and your business is at a transformation point?
These are all legitimate reasons to look for an external expert. You will still need to showcase these to your boss and/or your leadership team, so be sure you present them in a way which is meaningful to them, and which focuses on the business goals associated with your choice. Even something such as brand, which is admittedly hard to measure, has a business value behind it—discover what this is and whether it makes sense for your company before elevating your proposal.
So, are you prepared to convince your boss that you need a new agency?
Conversations around major investments typically are closely evaluated and considered by the leadership team at your organization (which presumably includes your boss). Be sure you’re prepared when you enter into that conversation. Know exactly why you’re looking for an expert agency to assist you with your goals, and why it’s worth it to invest externally to get this done. What will this allow you to accomplish that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do?
And when you’ve made all those answers clear, call us. We love to help companies at an important stage in their business lifecycle.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” This advice has served Joe well as he’s worn many hats throughout his career – from college soccer player to marketing expert to Business Development Manager. He’s passionate about using big ideas to build mutually beneficial partnerships, because “to help yourself is to help others.”
Dustin Clark // Strategy
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