Why is a marketing agency fee worth paying?
Why is a marketing agency fee worth paying?
When you’re paying for a marketing agency, what are you really paying for?
November 23, 2023

Every now and then, I’ll hear a comment from someone working with a dental marketing agency; usually along the lines of, ‘I don’t know what they’re doing for the money’. To some, beyond attending a monthly meeting, they’re not sure what their agency really does. To others, it’s simply another large expense.

As someone working within a dental marketing agency, I can clearly see the value in what we do. Naturally, I’m biased – but when we stop and think, there’s a lot an agency affords a business in return for their fee.

First of all, there’s the additional resource. When you’re working with an agency, you’re working with a wide variety of different people, with a wide variety of different skill sets. These might include digital marketing experts, web experts, brand experts, content specialists and strategic marketers. The monthly fee you pay grants access to a team you can pull resource from as necessary – whether you need help developing a strategy or the tactics to deliver it. You may only speak to one account manager, but they’re just one cog in a large and efficient machine. Behind the scenes, there’s a whole host of experts working on your behalf.

This is an entirely different proposition to hiring an in-house marketing executive. Having someone on the payroll would seem to have its perks, including (potentially) more hours of their time per week, and sole dedication to your projects. But trying to compare the two is like comparing apples and oranges. One individual can never have the comprehensive skills of several; you’re highly unlikely to find an all-rounder who can deliver every single element to a high standard.

Another major benefit of working with an agency is the external insight that this brings. Your agency team can often offer deep insight within your niche (in our case, more than a decade in dentistry), as well as more broadly. Through them, you can gain access to data and platform-wide performance trends, giving you a head-start on your competition.

As an agency we also have subscriptions to many professional platforms and tools that allow us to manage data, automate processes, review competitor tactics and monitor campaigns on a day to day basis. Often, these aren’t available (or practicable) for use by individual businesses. In Hive’s case, we also have good relationships with the networks, meaning that we’re involved in beta testing; providing a level of early insight that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

For these reasons, working with a good agency can make all the difference. But how do you know if you’re working with a good agency, and if you are, how can you get the most out of them?

Sometimes, the right choice will come down to an element of gut feeling – if an agency is proactive, welcoming and listens well, they’re always going to feel like a better proposition. You can also look at their track record and whether they have expertise in your specific area. Will they already be comfortable in your world, or will they have to spend time understanding your sector and business? You might also like to look at what expertise they have more generally. At Hive, for instance, we’re well versed in dental business models and so can offer other services such as business and financial advice, which we know our clients find helpful.

When you’ve found a good agency, you need to be sure you’re getting the best out of them. Achieving value for money almost never means finding the cheapest provider. An agency will typically charge more than a freelancer or low-cost option, but they’re more likely to have a proven track record and a broad depth of knowledge, and to offer a bespoke service. Ask yourself: are they sharing knowledge and adding value to your campaigns? If not, it doesn’t matter how cheap they are.

The result you get from your agency and marketing budget will depend on your overall goals for growth. Are these aggressive or conservative? Depending on the size of your practice and your targets, an agency will devise the strategy and tactics to meet your objectives. If you’re pursuing an aggressive strategy with high growth targets, your agency will probably need to spend significantly more time developing tactics and delivering campaigns, which means your monthly budget will be higher.

There will always be some testing and pivoting of campaigns to meet performance requirements and a good agency will examine every stage of the customer journey to find any holes, and will advise on how to course correct. Vitally, they’ll deliver results in a digestible, tangible way so that you can evaluate them for yourself and collaborate on next steps.

The greatest myth at play here is that clients pay an agency fee and see a monthly meeting as their only return. There’s a huge amount of time and knowledge wrapped up in what an agency does. Yes, there are monthly meetings and emails, but there’s also time spent sharing ideas, making plans, delivering campaigns, evaluating data, and creating reports and recommendations.

A well-devised marketing plan and a well-run business will boost revenue and meet growth plans, if handled correctly and collaboratively. But this is an ongoing strategy that requires change and the management of data to make decisions. It takes time to gather data, build your audience, create trust, and optimise, so results won’t be overnight. The more we understand, the more we can help.

If you’d like to speak to a member of our marketing team about your growth plans and marketing performance, get in touch – we’re always happy to talk.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
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