Finding an External B2B Marketing Company for Your Brand
Finding a well-matched external partner is rarely as simple as Googling “B2B marketing agency near me” (though you could get lucky and find us if you happen to be in or near NYC!). Seriously, it is important to work with a partner that first and foremost has the expertise you need. Typically, you’ll find that in the senior members of any agency, so beware of “the old bait and switch.” In this all too common scenario, you meet the agency partners during the first meeting and never see them again.
Then look for an agency partner who has a track record of success, who shows a willingness to push their customers both strategically and creatively. You don’t need an agency to play it safe – you can do that on your own. Since every agency is proud of their process and most have one that gets the job done, concentrate your energies on the team that you’ll be working with. Ask them for examples of how they challenged their clients to think differently or dare we say, to think like a renegade.
Boutique B2B marketing agencies are having their moment in the sun for a number of reasons. Marketers are realizing they can get the same creative firepower of a big agency at a much more competitive rate. And they can get the work they need faster because there are no levels of bureaucracy to slow things down. B2B marketing does not have to mean “boring to business,” and if you find the right boutique, that certainly won’t be the case for your brand.
In this article, we explore the top 4 benefits of working with a boutique B2B marketing agency. Check it out!
1. The Illuminating Value of an Outsider’s Perspective
Outside partners aren’t constrained by “sacred cows” or other political attachments to a brand’s history. As such, they can take a clear-eyed look at past actions and make the kinds of recommendations that will really move the brand forward. Here again it is important that the outsider perspective is grounded in years of practical experience and not idle speculation. Synthesizing the ideas of your internal team with their expertise is the real power of a boutique marketing agency, one that can develop solutions that an in-house team may have never thought of.
At Renegade, for example, we condense hundreds of hours of research into a 1-page strategy, an 8-word or less story statement, and a remarkably succinct Plan on a Page. The benefits of this approach are often praised by our clients. Rich Kylberg, former VP of Communications at Arrow Electronics described the value of Renegade’s approach: “You were packaging up what we were already talking about doing in a way that made it accessible to us. We were talking about initiatives kind of anecdotally, and you were able to come in and say, ‘What if you looked at all of that this way?’”
2. Small Agency Teams of Dynamic Experts = Customer Care 2.0
Because boutique B2B marketing agencies tend to have fewer clients, they pay more attention to the ones they have. Like hens guarding their precious eggs, boutiques that survive do so by treating every client with tender loving care. They know their reputation is at stake. One way to assess this level of commitment is to ask the agency how many of their clients have brought them to their next gig—CMOs do tend to move around and it’s a good sign when they take their agency along.
Renegade, which was officially founded in 1996, has withstood innumerable downturns thanks to its client-first mentality and its unique ability to skate to where the market’s going. Most of our clients have worked with us for more than 7 years, either in their current position or through stops at different companies.
Clients at boutique firms also get a closer view of the creative process because they can communicate directly with the creative team. This cuts out the impersonal element so often tied to larger agency partnerships, ensuring that creative can directly address your questions or needs in real-time rather than having to jump through hoops to express any concerns you may have.
3. B2B Marketing Companies that do Branding, Websites, SEO…Oh My!
Whether you need branding work, landing page design optimization, a plan for social media or a more effective content marketing strategy, a boutique B2B marketing agency should be able to do these things. Beyond that, be wary of the one-stop-shop since any firm that says they are good at everything is more likely experts in nothing. And since you’re supposed to be hiring experts, be sure to ask your prospective agency what they don’t do well. If they don’t have a clear answer, walk away…with haste.
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The way savvy boutiques get around the “jack of all trades” syndrome for clients seeking a one-stop-shop is by having strong alliances with other boutique firms that fill in the gaps. These alliances should be transparent to all parties even if the client prefers to have the boutique manage these relationships.
4. Get the Most Bang for your Buck
An external marketing agency serves as a multi-person addition to your in-house marketing team, helping to ease the already busy workload of the marketing department without having to train and onboard an additional employee. This makes a boutique agency an extremely cost-effective option as you pay only for the exact problems you need solving.
What can a B2B boutique agency do for me?
Working closely with an experienced agency team can have far-reaching effects, ultimately helping your B2B business generate more leads, cultivate stronger customer relationships, and build brand loyalty both internally and externally. It’s important to choose a good partner. As CMO Matt Kopp of UTAK says, “It’s a relationship. It’s not just ‘Hey hire them and do a job.’ Everybody works together differently. There’s a chemistry and a dynamic that occurs.”
If you’d like to hear more about Renegade’s services (We’re an NYC-based boutique B2B marketing agency ourselves…Imagine that!), you can schedule a half-hour consultation with our Founder & CEO, Drew Neisser, here.