Should You Hire A Marketing Agency or a Marketing Coach?

If you want to grow your business then hiring a marketing coach may be a better option than hiring a marketing agency.

You actually have three options if you want to grow your business this year.

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Hire a marketing agency
  3. Hire a marketing coach

Doing it yourself is a good option, but most fail because they don’t know what to do and give up after a few failed attempts.

The next option is to hire a marketing agency. This is also a good option but can be expensive. Also, if you choose the wrong agency you can lose a lot of money.

The third option is to hire a Marketing Coach. I think for many businesses this is the best option because you get an experienced marketer who has done it before to show you the shortcuts and hold you accountable for doing the work yourself. It is far superior to going it alone and doing it yourself and it is a lot more affordable and less risky than hiring a marketing agency.

But every option has its pros and cons.

In this article, I will show you the pros and cons of using a marketing agency or marketing coach so you can make the correct decision for yourself.

The difference between a marketing coach and a marketing agency

Below are the major differences between a marketing agency and a marketing coach

Marketing AgencyMarketing Coach
Minimal time commitmentYesNo
Upfront AffordabilityNoYes
Knowledge retained in your businessNoYes
Low RiskNoYes
Guaranteed resultsNoNo
Lowers risk of relationship breakdownNoYes
Take control of your marketingNoYes
Get results fastDependsDepends
Finite engagementNoYes

Should you hire a marketing coach?

Hiring a marketing coach is an excellent option if you are looking at growing a sustainable business.

The reality of hiring a marketing coach is that you will do the work. However, at the same time, they advise, mentor, and keep you accountable for marketing best practices.

If you’re time-poor, then hiring a marketing coach is not a good option.

But if you are invested in doing the work yourself or have a marketing team whose job it is to do the work, then a marketing coach is the best option.

This section will objectively go through the pros and cons of hiring a marketing coach.

The pros of engaging a marketing coach

More Affordable

Hiring a marketing coach is generally more cost-effective than hiring a marketing agency. When you hire a coach, you are going to do most of the work yourself, so the fees you pay don’t have to pay the salaries of the marketing agency staff.

This means that your workload increases, but it also means that you can get world-class advice and the best marketing strategy for your business. And if your marketing coach has training resources, they can also train you or your team on the best practices to execute the strategy.

Knowledge retention

When you work with a marketing coach, you will learn how to do the work. They will help you document this knowledge in your business, and every successful campaign is a new learning opportunity.

As your business gets better with every campaign, your business grows in marketing knowledge and expertise. You never need to look outside of your business in the future to fill that void. You are now experts in that area.

One of the main benefits of using a marketing coach is growing your marketing skills and reducing the dependence on freelancers, agencies, and consultants in the future.

Lowers the risk of your investment

Marketing coaching is fundamentally more affordable than hiring a marketing agency and lowers your investment risk. If you are paying $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 per month to work for an agency, you need to see an ROI on that investment before you make a dollar.

Every month you pay those hefty fees and don’t see a result creates stress and uncertainty in the business. The reality is that marketing agencies will have good months and bad months. But, unfortunately, they can’t always have groundbreaking months.

Working with a marketing coach reduces the large investment you have to make into a  marketing agency.

Less risk of relationship breakdown

Relationship breakdown with a marketing agency is common.

The industry is wrought with broken relationships because of missed deadlines, broken promises, and lackluster results.

Your relationship with a marketing coach will be very different from that of an agency.

An agency relationship is more adversarial where you are comparing their results with the investment you make every month.

A coaching relationship is all about working together to achieve a common goal for your business. 

A coach is there to help, mentor and guide. An agency is there to justify its retainer each month.

This is why a coaching relationship creates better results in the long term.

Take control of your marketing

Many businesses lose control of their marketing when working with an agency. They enter an unhealthy codependent relationship where they can’t live without the agency and often leaving a bad relationship with an agency seems worse than staying. 

A business can get into a situation where they don’t understand how to run their own marketing campaigns so to leave will cause too much of a disruption to the business.

This lack of understanding of what is working and why it is working is a risk for businesses if the marketing agency leaves with all the learned knowledge.

When agencies and businesses part ways, the business is often in a position to start again with another agency. The learnings from the past few years with the first agency have to be learned again with the new agency.

This can become expensive and frustrating for the business.

When working with a marketing agency you have full control over the levers you need to pull to grow your business.

Every month you get better as a business

When employing a marketing coach, they work with you to run your campaigns, so no matter if you have good or bad results, you can learn from every campaign. 

Over the months and years, your business grows in strength and knowledge around marketing, and you will see a higher ROI on your investment in marketing.

Won’t need to hire an agency in the future

The relationship is assumed to go on forever when working with a marketing agency. Each month you will be expected to pay the retainer to have them work on your business.

But with a marketing coach, the expectation is that the relationship is finite. 

Once you learn the skills, get the results, and master the processes, you can stop working with a coach. 

But, of course, you can continue working with your coach indefinitely, not because you have to but because you want to.

The cons of engaging a marketing coach

There are downsides to everything in life. Understanding the downsides will help you make a better decision on which direction to take. In this next section, I will show you the reasons you may not want to work with a marketing coach.

Time Commitment

Generally speaking, it takes much more of your time to work with a marketing coach. Your marketing coach won’t do the work for you. Instead, they coach you to master the skills.

If you are time-poor or have no intention of learning marketing, coaching is not a good option. Instead, stop reading now and hire a marketing agency if you have the money to do so.

Results may take longer

Because you are doing the work yourself, marketing coaching generally takes longer to see results. However, this is not always the case and some industries see results within weeks.

Hiring a Marketing Coach Summary

If you are time-poor, have no interest in learning marketing, and have no team members to take on the responsibilities of learning and running marketing campaigns then marketing coaching is not for you.

But if you want to learn marketing and master it or have a team responsible for marketing, then marketing coaching is a great option to build a marketing engine in your business, save money and take back control of the growth of your business.

Should you hire a marketing agency?

Marketing agencies have been around for years, and many businesses have had a good or bad experience with a marketing agency. 

In this next section, I will explore the pros and cons of working with a marketing agency. 

I will assume that the agency you are working with knows what they are doing, has lots of experience of success in your industry, and is competent.

There are many agencies and freelancers today who are not experienced and fly by the seat of their pants. 

You will always have issues with these agencies and I recommend staying away from them. 

Learn how to choose the right marketing agency to work with.

The Pros of engaging a marketing agency

Can get results faster

A good marketing agency with experience will get results much faster than you can by yourself. If they have a strong team, they can step in a few weeks and get results.

Of course, the better they are, the more expensive they are, but hiring a marketing agency to get results quickly is the way to go if you have more money than time.

Less time is required

Marketing agencies will typically want to do most of the work themselves. 

This is because they have their systems, processes, and know-how to get fast results. 

Because of this, they will require less time from you.

Can focus on other things

Instead of focusing your attention on marketing, hire a marketing agency so you can focus on sales or servicing your clients. There are only so many hours in the day and so many resources you have in your business. 

So if you need your manpower to focus on more dollar productive work then hiring a marketing agency can help you focus on other parts of your business.

The Cons of engaging a marketing agency

Can be expensive

Great marketing agencies are not cheap. They charge according to the success they have had in the past. But their past success does not always predict future success. 

So be careful on how much you commit to spending upfront with an agency before you experience how good they are.

An agency may not be as good as they say they are

Many businesses have fallen victim to the marketing agency that has overpromised and underdelivered.

The irony is that marketing agencies are paid to make businesses look better than they are. They are paid to convince people to buy their client’s products.

So when you approach them to give them work, they are usually very good at selling their services. But they may not be as good at delivering those services.

Try not to fall victim to agencies who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

Lose your investment and no results

Unfortunately, the marketing agency industry has a bad reputation. Many engagements end on bad terms with monthly retainers being abandoned. 

Many clients get fed up after months of paying the retainer and not seeing substantial results or even breaking even.

Be careful when choosing a digital marketing agency. Make sure you will not lose your investment and see no results.

Lose control of your marketing

The more you depend on a marketing agency, the more control you may lose of your marketing. 

You never want to be in a position of a loss of control.

You always want to have full control of a function of your business that is fundamental to your success.

They don’t know your industry as well as you

There are few marketing agencies with deep knowledge of an industry. If you find one with this deep understanding, they are worth paying for.

But the reality is that most marketing agencies are generalists and don’t specialize in a specific industry, so when they attempt to write content or create campaigns, they will never be as effective as your business and staff.

For example, when writing blog articles for most industries, a writer from an agency will never be able to create content as detailed as an employee of a business. The domain knowledge of an employee takes years to develop not an hour of research on the internet. 

Therefore we believe that the best people to create content for a business are the staff and engaging the staff in content creating will always give you a better ROI on your spending.

This is what a marketing coach does, not a marketing agency.

Hiring a Marketing Agency Summary

Hiring a marketing agency is a great option if you are time-poor, don’t want to take marketing in-house, and are happy to rely on a 3rd party to own the intelligence around your marketing.

You may be able to get results faster with an agency who knows what they are doing.

Which is better – a marketing agency or marketing coach?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing agencies or coaches. Instead, you need to make the best decision for your business.

Depending on the option you choose there will be a big difference in the speed of results, the investment you make, the time you invest, and the stability and effectiveness of your marketing strategy in the future.

If you have any other questions, book a 15-minute strategy call. I run a marketing agency and I am a marketing coach so I can give you my opinion on the best option for you once I hear your unique situation.

Book a time now.

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