Whether you’re a startup or a multi-million dollar business, there comes a time when your marketing needs exceed your in-house expertise. For startups, this stage comes early as most entrepreneurs don’t have the marketing skillset. That’s when they think of hiring experts who can help them achieve their goals. However, hiring a ‘digital marketing specialist’ isn’t easy as it used to be.
Today, marketing is constantly changing with new trends and technologies. As a result, we see many marketing streams such as brand marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, etc. One term that has been on the lips of many entrepreneurs is ‘growth marketing.’
Thanks to the buzz, many startups are looking to hire growth marketing companies without understanding what they do and how they differ from traditional marketing companies. Let us help you understand different marketing companies to help you make an educated decision.
What are Different Types of Marketing Companies?
These are the companies that almost everyone would have heard of. Before the inception of the internet, advertising was the only way to market your product or service. Traditional advertising agencies use conventional mediums such as TV, radio, print, and outdoor markets. Some of them have also started giving branding and digital marketing services.
These agencies are usually preferred by big companies that are targeting B2C businesses and have huge budgets.
These agencies are helpful for businesses that are in their initial stage or yet to be built. They help new businesses with their branding material such as logo, name, letterhead, business cards, etc.
Brand agencies conduct market research and customer profiling to understand your industry. Accordingly, they give your company name, logo, visual identity, etc. These companies are run mainly by designers.
Contrary to popular belief, design agencies do a lot more than design company logos. Their function is to convert your product/brand visually through graphic designing. Be it advertising, packaging, posters, art or any such visual form; these agencies are there to help you with everything.
Public Relation Agencies:
First of all, let us apologize as Public Relations (PR) Agencies shouldn’t even be on this list as PR is way different from marketing. However, we’ve decided to include them here; there’s a thin line between both, and many fail to see it.
PR agencies are concerned with establishing and maintaining a positive brand image of your company. They do it by various means such as promoting products/services in media, creating goodwill campaigns, hosting/attending events, getting customer feedback, etc.
Digital Marketing Agencies:
Any marketing has a straightforward rule: go where the audience is. With the rise of the internet, we all started spending much more time online. Now we’ve reached a stage where our day is nothing but going from one screen to another and another. That led to the birth of ‘digital marketing.’
Digital marketing is an umbrella term that covers various marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, etc. These agencies usually offer across the board services and offer flexible models to match your requirements.
Growth Marketing Companies
Before we get into growth marketing companies, let us give you a clear idea of the term ‘growth marketing’. Although it is a decade-old term, ‘growth marketing’ has been buzzing the startup town in recent years. Growth marketing is constant experimentation and pursuit to engage, acquire and retain the customers by understanding and to cater to their unique, evolving motivations and preferences.
In simpler words, growth marketing refers to a type of marketing that is concerned with growth and nothing else. Unlike other marketing streams that are defined by their approaches, growth marketing is defined by its purpose. It uses sales, marketing, branding, PR, or other methods to grow a business. It can be likened to the swiss knife of marketing as it uses all available marketing methods.
Growth marketing agencies are masters of all trades as they must have all skills in their bag. Their biggest weapon lies in understanding customers and creating agile marketing techniques that can help you grow at a particular time.
Why Hire a Growth Marketing Company?
We hope the last section helped you understand which type of marketing company you need. If you think a growth marketing company is what you need, let us help you get a clear idea of why you should hire one.
The most significant factor differentiating growth marketing from traditional marketing is the number of customer stages it involves. Unlike conventional marketing that involves two steps (awareness and acquisition), growth marketing is a full-funnel approach that involves six stages in Awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral. This is known as ‘AAARRR funnel.’
Growth marketing makes sure that customers are touched upon using content that caters to their needs wherever they are in the funnel. Growth marketers are constantly analyzing data and experimenting with their efforts. It’s much more than creating a campaign or content calendar.
Gone are the days when all marketing decisions were taken by the team’s experience (or gut feeling) of the senior marketers. Growth marketing mines customer data from all possible places to create strategies and plans.
You couldn’t know how many people saw your billboards and bought your product in the pre-internet era. However, the virtual world allows you to track all customer data and get insights. Why not use it to make the best business decisions?
Growth marketing throws many traditional marketing beliefs out of the window, and creativity is one of them. In growth marketing, creativity isn’t only about the content, but it’s also about the strategy part. Growth marketers aren’t afraid to try new things as they’re used to seeing many of their ideas fail.
This constant learning and experimentation help them understand what works and what doesn’t. They don’t stick by a failing idea for long, and that’s what helps them scale a business in a relatively short time.
The biggest advantage of a growth marketing company is that they’re not confined by the walls of their expertise like traditional marketing companies. For example, a content marketing company might be producing top-notch content, but they might not know about the technical side of things.
Growth marketers are like consultants who oversee your entire company and apply strategies that are needed for growth. They don’t mind the means as long as the goal is achieved. Having said that, they also bring their own methods such as A/B testing and cross-channel marketing.
Before You Hire a Growth Marketing Company
Having been in business for so many years, I’ve observed founders having no idea of their goals and going out in the market to find the company that can do “marketing” for them. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re either going to fall for the cheapest one or the smoothest talker you come across.
That’s why you should have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve through the growth marketing agency. You must define a SMART goal and then find a growth marketing company. This will lead to better clarity on both sides and set the tone for the partnership going forward.
How to Hire the Right Growth Marketing Partner
Hiring a growth marketing company is a crucial decision as the right one can significantly grow your business while the wrong one can set you back on many levels. Let’s look at the factors you must consider before making a choice.
Factor 1: Their History & Portfolio
Firstly, let us clarify that we’re not asking you to go for the most prominent growth marketing company you come across. Even a year-old startup could be more effective than a company with thousands of employees.
By history, we don’t just mean the company’s history but also of the people – especially the ones at the top. You must learn about their client profile, expertise, success stories, failure stories and how they operate within themselves. While you ask them, ask them for hard-core data points such as percentage increase in web traffic, revenue, sales, etc.
Factor 2: Their Offerings & Expertise
Although growth marketing uses all marketing methods and tools, a growth marketing company doesn’t need to offer all services. Thus, you must first find out which services they provide and which they don’t. Also, know about the in-house expertise they have.
A simple way to know their expertise is to show them your current marketing efforts and ask for their feedback. For instance, what they would change to your website or social media marketing efforts. The thumb rule here is to seek a company that has a wide spectrum of expertise.
Factor 3: Their Internal Processes and SOP
One of the biggest concerns with hiring outside agencies or people is compatibility. Expertise alone cannot get you far if it’s not implemented in the right manner. Thus, you must understand how they operate within themselves as well as with their clients. Learn about their processes, communication channels, SOPs, etc.
You can ask this simple question to understand this all: ‘how do you operate on a day-to-day basis?’
Factor 4: Authenticity
The first rule of digital marketing is that there’s no overnight success. It takes at least 3 to 6 months of effort to even begin to see some kind of result. You must be vigilant if the growth marketing company is being too confident or promising unbelievable results. Don’t get trapped in the web of short term success because there isn’t one.
Factor 5: Pricing Model
Defining a pricing model becomes very difficult as growth marketing is very unpredictable. Thus, most growth marketing companies go client-by-client based on their requirements. We would suggest you go with a customized pricing model even if the company is offering standard pricing. The purpose here is not to get confined within their offerings and stay open to a totally out-of-box method.
Freelancer vs. Growth Marketing Company: Which One Should You Choose?
You have two options when hiring for a growth marketing partner outside of your company: freelancers and agencies. Needless to say, both come with their pros and cons. Let’s have a look at their comparative analysis.
|Factor||Freelance Growth Marketer||Growth Marketing Agency|
|Expertise||A freelance growth marketer can have a limited skillset as it’s not possible for one person to be a master of all.||Growth marketing agencies operate as companies and have their in-house talent to cater to requirements.|
|Pricing||Hiring a freelance growth marketer costs less compared to hiring a company.||Hiring a growth marketing company costs more as it involves many people and services.|
|Reliability||Although you can find brilliant freelancers in the market, there are always concerns about freelancers due to the lack of structure.||Companies are more reliable as they have their in-house setup and structure ready.|
As you can see, both have different things to offer. Hiring a freelance growth marketer could be a good idea if you have an in-house team of writers, designers, marketers, video editors, etc. In case you don’t have such people working in your team, going with a growth marketing agency is a wise option even though you will need to spend more money.
Our Two Cents
Hiring a growth marketing partner can be the best thing you could do for your business. Not that you will become an overnight unicorn by doing so but you can help your business cross many orbits.
Once you have shortlisted companies based on the above factors, we would recommend you have one-on-one consultation calls to see how they see growing your business.
We, at LeanSummits, are growth marketing partners to businesses across many verticals. Formed by people with years of expertise, we would love to have a consultation call to help you grow your business. Book a free consultation call today!