The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way that we think about the future. It is unknowable. There is no way to know how long this issue will continue to have an impact on businesses.That uncertainty is felt by every business in every sector — even those are that experienced a boom due to their industry. We are seeing large drops in economic activity across the world and those drops are not going to go away overnight.
It makes planning for the future difficult. Everyone is living a few weeks at a time, trying to figure out what they can do to best position themselves and weather the storm.
Naturally, when people are spending less money, one of the first areas that companies look to downsize, even temporarily, is their marketing budget.
Campaigns get put on hold. Plans get pushed back a quarter or two. Maybe indefinitely. And the gears of your business stop turning.
But you don’t want to fall off of the marketing treadmill completely. You still want to be generating awareness and demand, even when customers are a bit harder to come by. But you can’t continue running at the operating costs you were before. You have to be more strategic.
In circumstances like that, it might make sense to hire an agency. Agencies play critical roles in some of the largest companies in the world, and the sector has grown to become an $8 billion dollar industry.
Working with the right agency can help in numerous ways, including:
Outsource Very Specific Aspects of Your Marketing Strategy
Agencies function differently from your internal marketing department. They are agile and flexible. You don’t have to engage with most agencies for your entire marketing operation. You can pinpoint specific areas that you would like them to handle, and put together a plan for that scope.
So, maybe your old Facebook Ads aren’t working like they were. You don’t want to blow through your budget on ads that aren’t converting. You also don’t want your slimmed-down marketing team to be spending their time on testing individual campaigns.
They need to take a higher-level approach. But you don’t want to abandon Facebook Ads PPC completely — maybe there is a way that you can make them work, even in this environment.
An agency is the perfect fill-in in these situations.
An agency gives you an opportunity to enlist experienced talent in very specific areas.
In this example, not only would the agency probably be able to deliver profitable campaigns more quickly than you would on your own (since they have the experience of optimizing campaigns across many clients during the pandemic), but they will be able to do so at a fraction of the cost that it would take for your internal teams.
Expand to New Channels & Run New Tests
A new paradigm might necessitate a new approach. Economic downturns can be a great time to test out new channels. The competition will be down and you’ll get more bang for your buck on your spend.
Using an agency to test out a new channel is an ideal way to go about it. You can start small, with just a small budget, and scale the channel as you start to get a feel for it. You won’t have to bring on new talent, either, as larger agencies will have workers with a wide array of disciplines that you can harness.
When the old way isn’t working, it’s time to experiment. Customers have new things that they are worried and care about that may relate directly to your offer. To understand how to define your messaging around the pandemic, you have to be willing to try new things.
Downsize your In-House Teams
A recession brings with an unfortunate truth of business — when revenues are down, companies have to downsize.
But that is difficult because, at the same time, you want to make sure that you are meeting every potential opportunity to bring in revenue. Marketing teams are being hit hard during the pandemic.
So while it makes sense to cut back on overhead, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to abandon channels or strategies. Rock-solid SEO, for instance, will always be a need. But you may not have the manpower to handle it internally.
In those cases, an agency can make an ideal investment. You can drop some overhead while assigning specific portions of your marketing strategy to an agency.
Then you don’t have to abandon strategies that were working and can tackle them at a fraction of the cost it would require to handle it in-house.
Scale Down or Up As Needed
The pandemic brings uncertainty. As the world continues to open back up, it can be difficult to gauge how demand will be affected. An agency partnership allows you to scale up or down as necessary as you free up more budget and respond to your market.
Agencies have the unique ability to scale quickly, which may be exactly what you need as customer habits change rapidly.
You won’t be able to re-hire as quickly as an agency could scale, and that could potentially mean leaving high-value opportunities on the table while you are waiting to put yourself in a position to scale.
Short-Term Contracts, Short-Term Commitment
Maybe at some point in the future, you want to rescale your in-house marketing team again. There is nothing wrong with that. Agencies can also fill short-term voids that exist only while the pandemic is still an ongoing threat.
Many agencies will offer six-month and one-year commitments. This allows you to fill a short term void at a cheaper price than keeping it in-house, while still having the flexibility to go back if it makes sense for your business.
The lack of a long-term commitment can be a very attractive option right now, as many companies see their marketing operations in flux.
A Partner During Hard Times
The right agency will function less as a fill-in service provider and more as a partner. They will help you to maximize your budget and navigate the changing seas that the pandemic has brought.
An agency can provide specialized talent, scale with you rapidly, or fill temporary holes that you have during the economic downturn. In many ways, working with an agency is the economical choice for scaling back your overhead without sacrificing entire strategies in the process.