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Amy Horsfield, business development executive at every1, looks at the 3 marketing problems every business faces and why you should consider using an agency.

Marketing_124904123Every day I talk to marketing managers and small business owners about their ambitions for growth and the barriers they face. While every business is unique, the challenges they face follow a pattern: resources and skills are major concerns, and this includes within their marketing teams.

Though, perhaps you’ve noticed that your competitors are creating a lot of opportunities through marketing, both online and offline. How do they do it?

Not every business can (or wants to) support a marketing team, and even some that do will engage agencies as specialists for certain deliverables. If any of the following barriers to growth sound familiar, it’s something you might want to consider too:

1. Nobody is driving your online marketing

The most recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics (2013) show that approximately 36 million adults (73%) in the UK use the internet every day, and 72% of all UK adults buy goods or services online.

Furthermore, almost a third (32%) of Brits make a monthly purchase via their smartphones (Google TNS research, 2015). If your online strategy is suffering because of a lack of resources – time and skills, and maybe even enthusiasm – you could be missing out.

Don’t underestimate the importance of your online presence – not just your website, but your social media channels, advertising and even what other websites are publishing about you.

If you have a website, is it bringing you any business? It might be the wrong website, or it might just need some TLC to get it to work harder for you. It possibly needs some SEO to fix naturally occurring issues that have developed over time, new content to encourage Google to like it again, and a strategic campaign to encourage new visitors.

2. There are knowledge gaps in your team

While overall confidence is high, 37% of businesses told the FSB that hiring staff with the right skills is a barrier to growth; this compares to 25.4% only 12 months ago (Small Business Index, 2015).

These figures don’t even tackle the subject of continuous personal development for your existing workforce. Skills can go stale, but because an agency is constantly being asked to solve problems and ‘up the ante’, we’re always on point. Knowledge transfer between agency and client can help refresh and reinvigorate the skills you have in house, as well as deliver a project.

Take a website development, for example: who would have thought that this has the potential to bring a new dimension to your understanding of your customers through a persona workshop? A good agency is not only transparent about its services, it’s eager to share knowledge and create a very powerful partnership for growth. Our success is your success – clichéd but true!

You’re not tied to a single agency for everything either – in fact, I know that some companies would rather not put all their eggs in one basket and will work with multiple agencies, each with different specialisms. Whatever works for you: shop around and find the right people for the job.

3. You’re not sure that your approach is right

Do you worry that you’re too close to see what’s really going on? In house teams work day in, day out within the same industry, whereas agencies move between sectors, which encourages hyper-awareness of wider opportunities and new perspectives. We see things you don’t.

For example, we’ll examine whether you’re making assumptions about your customers, one that’s putting them off. Often I find that companies under-estimate what a positive impact marketing – online and offline – will have on their achievements, and overestimate what they will need to invest to see good results.

We’ll analyse why, when you’re putting good money into something, it’s not getting a good return on investment. We can put together a plan that will deliver measurable results. It’s not all about copywriting, creative design and coding!

Putting your trust in a third party can be a daunting prospect. Most agencies will have case studies and examples of client successes; use these to gauge if you want to make first contact. Avoid those making wildly ambitious claims, who are vague about data, that can’t provide credentials. Be confident – you’ll actually discover quite quickly whether an agency is going to work for you.

For more information, contact: amy.h@helloevery1.comevery1_logo