You might think that somebody who works for a marketing firm would immediately and unabashedly say, “yes, absolutely, hire me now!” The reality, as usual, is more complex.  Before hiring a marketing agency, you must know thyself. Here’s a distilled version of the most essential questions you need to be able to answer for yourself before reaching out to a marketing agency. 

We chose the most important four questions and put them in handy FAQ format so you can evaluate alongside us. 

  • Have you validated your MVP?
  • Have you defined your business goals?
  • Do you understand the suite of marketing services available?
  • Can I achieve the same results by hiring someone internally?

Thinking of hiring a marketing agency? Check out our Marketing Services!

1. Have you validated your MVP?

Generally, you should consider hiring an agency after you’ve validated your MVP and are ready to grow your customer base.

At this stage a marketing agency can help you: 

  • Gett the messages right on your website or in your marketing materials. (Note that this is a project, not a full-scale retainer contract.)
  • Manage media attention, expectations or enquiries.
  • Increase your valuation ahead of your bridge or Series A.

2. Have you defined your business goals? 

Make sure that you understand your marketing goals so that when you approach an agency you will be able to come up with a strategy that is right on the mark. 

For instance, when a product launches, you want to raise awareness so that people are more likely to add that product (let’s say a smartphone) to their initial consideration set.

3. Do you understand the suite of marketing services available?

It’s a long list.

It’s inordinately valuable to understand the services available so you can make an informed decision. Marketing firms are excellent at evaluating what you need, but it is truly imperative to understand your own strategy too. 

Here is a list of the most common services: 

  • Content Marketing: Content on your own blog should be just as well-written as an article in a leading publication, so sometimes it makes sense to hire a professional writer.
  • Copywriting and Design: Your website, brochure, or monthly newsletter, all need to be well-written, on message and resonate with your target audience.
  • Market Entry: This is another specialty service that some marketing and PR firms can help with and others cannot.
  • Press Kit: This is a package of documents that you can send to reporters (or investors!) to explain your company’s value proposition. 
  • Media Outreach: Once you have a strategy and messages, a firm can find the best reporters to help you tell your story, and reach out to them with appropriate messages.
  • Influencer Outreach: Similar to media outreach, marketing firms can help you find online influencers to help spread the word about your product.
  • Social Media: Some marketing firms specialise in digital as well, and can help with both strategy and execution for social media.
  • Events: Whether it’s a press conference to announce your new product or a customer appreciation event, agencies can help… or at least point you in the right direction.
  • Trade Shows: Here’s our full guide to preparing for a trade show. A PR firm can help you find relevant reporters to talk to, prepare your brochure, plan out your booth, and more.
  • Media Monitoring: This is basically sending you a report on recent articles about your company. Most startups don’t need this, and would do just fine putting an intern on the task. The exception is if you need help finding and translating articles about your company that are in a different language.
  • PR Strategy: Rather than just randomly trying things to see what works, a PR firm can help you dream up and validate the most effective ways to use PR in order to achieve your specific business goals.

At G3 Partners, we offer a few less common services based on our specialty with startups, including pitch coaching, crowdfunding prep, investor deck prep and marketing automation planning.

Thinking of hiring a marketing agency? Check out our Marketing Services!

4. Do I really need to hire an outside firm, or can I take care of this internally?

This is the sort of question that can actually be answered by more questions. 

  • How much value am I getting from what a marketing company offers?
  • How much would it cost me to hire a full-time person or team to do the same work?

Here are the pros and cons of internal and professional marketing: 

Internal Marketing person:

  • Knows your company very well
  • Is fully dedicated to your company’s marketing at all times
  • Can do other tasks for you, aside from marketing
  • Has limited bandwidth (amount of work that can be done in a day)
  • Has limited press and influencer network
  • Has limited skills and experience

Marketing agency:

  • Knows less about your company
  • Not fully dedicated to your company 100% of the time
  • May or may not be able to do tasks beyond marketing and PR
  • Can expand bandwidth by adding more people to a project or task as needed
  • Combines the press and influencer networks of several people
  • Can leverage the skills and experience of multiple marketing and PR professionals

 

Thinking of hiring a marketing agency? Check out our Marketing Services!

 

If an agency can consistently deliver good media opportunities for you, and this is directly leading to an increase in web traffic, conversions, or another metric that’s important to your business, invest accordingly

Many of our clients at G3 Partners don’t need our services on a permanent retainer basis and just hire us for projects. Essentially, they’re buying services on demand. For instance, if you need someone to help you with an overall marketing strategy, write the copy for your website, and help you make a brochure, you don’t need to hire a full-time CMO, copywriter and graphics designer.

Read Part 2: How to Choose a Marketing Agency.

Ready to hire a marketing agency? Contact us and we’ll set up a free initial consultation.

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