It’s the Tuesday after a long weekend. Did you show up to work energized to tackle your To Do list? Or did you show up already feeling defeated because you know there’s simply no way you’ll be able to get it all done? Or because you’re watching your competitors climb further and further ahead of you with each passing week and you’ve had enough?

Unless you walked through the door with fists in the air at 7:00am (or was that just me?) it may be time for some hard conversations. Namely, is it time to bring in the big guns to help you manage your digital marketing or is it something you can effectively manage inhouse?

How do you know the difference?

When you’re a small- or medium-sized business owner, you grow accustom to doing everything yourself. You do it in equal parts Can Do and Must Do. You know your business and your customers better than anyone else and you don’t have the funds to bring in hired held. So you spend your days being the lone gun handing everything related to your business. And this makes sense.

Until it doesn’t make sense anymore. Until when continuing to handle the ALL of your marketing starts to hurt, not help, your company.

What are signs it is time to partner with a marketing agency?

You’re Chronically Overextended

There’s a difference between having a busy week and being spread so thin it’s impossible to ever get anything done. The difference is in the former your misery eventually ends. You catch up. The site gets launched. The app gets developed. The whitepaper gets written. The team rejoices at the bar on Friday.

When you’re overextended, these magical things don’t happen. And it’s your business that suffers, unable to ever move forward because you’re standing still juggling the toaster, the microwave and the whole kitchen sink.

Did you set goals for yourself and for your company back in January? Check a calendar because its six months later. If you’re not any closer to achieving those goals it may be time to ask yourself why. And get help.

It could be getting the strategy to help you dominate the social.
The creative for that animated short you want to develop.
Some motion graphics help putting that video together.

Identify the roadblock and then get over it [no pun intended].

You’re Lacking Skillsets

There’s something to be said for elbow grease. For rolling up your sleeves, taking on a new task and then making yourself its master. But there are also times when spending too much outside of your expertise hurts your attempts at moving forward. When by spending so much time on one thing, you’re ignoring the Everything Else you have to do. When handing the project over to someone else would not only get the project done faster, but done significantly better. These are the opportunities you want to look for.

Believe it or not, there are many times when working with an agency or an outside expert will be far cheaper than trying to do everything in house. When you hire out you get the benefit of that agencies experience, tools and relationships. It saves you the salary of hiring someone and the time you need to train them. It saves the awkward learning curve and gives you access to immediate planning and strategy and the things you need right now. By working with an agency you can rent their experience, while growing your own team.

You Want To Focus On “The Real Work “

You’re a startup. You have a music application that’s going to revolutionize how people share music on the Internet. You’re a tech company so heavy into the cloud your competitor won’t even be able to see you until you’re dominating the market. Or you have a great idea for an app for a service that needs to exist but doesn’t currently.

You don’t want to stop to market it. You want to focus on building it, developing it and making it something your audience will truly love.

So do that. But partner with someone to help you with the other stuff. Don’t just ignore it.

A great product you don’t market is like a great piece of content you don’t promote – it’s a waste. And yet one of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is not to spend time building buzz, creating a brand and getting that brand seen. I get that you want to focus on the meat, but don’t forget the sizzle.

You Can’t Identify Your Brand

One of the things we often do for clients is help create or solidify their brand messaging before engaging in a full-scale marketing campaign. We do this as often for new brands as we do for brands that have been around for hundreds of years. We sit with companies and talk about things like their core values, what guides the business, the image they’re trying to create, the things about their business they won’t compromise on and other questions. Often, the questions are things they haven’t thought about in years…or even at all. It’s not because they’re bad business owners or because they don’t care about the service they’re providing, it’s because when you spend so much time IN your business, you’re very often not the best person to see what’s happening OUTSIDE of it, where your company sits and how you can best position yourself.
Sometimes having a third party come in is the best way to do that

Take a minute this week to ask your key team members, or even your entire staff, who your company is. If they can’t tell you, it’s time for a refresh. If they can, maybe it’s something you should share with the world like the folks at Copypress did.

Copypress Culture from David Snyder on Vimeo.

There comes a time when it’s best to consult an outside agency for strategy, implementation or even to hand off entire parts of your project. When, by not seeking help, you are actually doing a disservice to your company.

Things Aren’t…Working

It’s a crappy place to be and yet, we’ve all been there. It’s that moment when the strategy you’ve used for the past five years simply isn’t cutting it anymore. When the phone isn’t ringing as often as it once did, when referrals are down and when you need help to take your business to that higher ground. If you’re here, bring in someone to help you. It doesn’t mean you have to hand over your entire business or even an entire part of your business. It means you may need another set of eyes or a planning session to plot the next steps. We all get here. Good businesses know how to seek the help they need to get out of it.

We’re taught to push forward, to take it all on and to never complain. And that level of tenacity will help your business to grow and to thrive…but don’t let it also hold you back. The complexity of today’s online marketing world means knowing when to ask for help and for what kind of help you need. Maybe it’s a strategy to help your team navigate smarter. Maybe it’s help building an app so you don’t have to make another hire to your development team. Don’t lower your standards to save a few dollars, because the price you’re really paying is your brand.