Episode Transcript — When to Hire a Marketing Agency
00:00 Speaker 1: You're listening to The Spend $10K a Day Podcast brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising from the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here are your hosts, Steve Weiss and Stewart Anderson.
00:25 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to The Spend $10K a Day Podcast. I am Stewart Anderson. I'm here as always with my good friend Steve Weiss. Today we're talking about a topic that's near and dear to our heart, when to hire an agency to help you with your Facebook ads? This is something we know quite a bit about. We might be a little bit biased, but we're gonna try and give you a neutral take as we always do. Steve, talk to me. When do companies wanna hire their first Facebook ad agency?
00:51 Steve Weiss: I guess the realization is that not everyone needs an agency, whether it's AdWords, Facebook, email, SEM, the reality is is that nobody wants to hire an agency. I think we could all agree in the perfect scenario of every single thing is that people will find and recruit the talent that will scale in their organization. And I'm always very clear in that. The goal is that. I think in a lot of companies, I always say like, "Learn the space first. Learn how to keep. Learn how to set KPIs that are realistic." I think that a lot of companies learn from how to manage an agency and that helps them really figure out what they want on their internal team, what skill sets, just from working... And an agency is a lot more... It lowers the risk a little bit, and when you hire someone, obviously, you're going all in on that person. So number one, some key factors I think is when to hire an agency. What is your basic understanding of Facebook or the channel that you wanna solve? If you don't have a deep understanding of that channel, it makes a lot of sense to hire an agency to learn from them, to learn how to set KPIs, what to expect on the numbers, what to expect in the process. That's when it makes a lot of sense.
02:06 SW: Number two, let's say you have an internal team and you really wanna take it to the next level, you really wanna work with a team that has a specialty in one specific area of marketing. So obviously, we're specifically focused on paid acquisition, we're not organic social media, we're singularly focused on, "How do we drive incremental scale to your current campaign?" So if you have a great team and you want their skill set to get better, you want them to really light a fire under them and get hungry you could always look at an agency in that facet that, "I want them... I wanna improve the skill set and understanding of my team." But in most cases, everyone wants the same thing. They just want improvement, they want results, they want improvement, and I think that whatever agency you hire, they have to fit into your... They have to fit culturally into the way you do business. I think that's very important.
03:01 SA: Yeah, that's a really good point. I mean, an agency relationship, you're gonna get out of it what you put into it and if you have somebody who's just not a good fit for whatever reason, the likelihood that you're gonna be able to get the most out of the relationship is less. And if you're hiring an agency and paying that money, you're always gonna wanna get a very good return. It's really a good point.
03:19 SW: Something else to really understand is you have to invest... If you're a company, you have to invest, not just money but time into the relationship. I think that a lot of companies are like, "Ah, I'm hiring an agency." And just forgetting about it. Set it and forget it. Well, no it doesn't work like that. Our best partners and the best companies we work with are the people that are in the weeds with us and that care deeply 'cause we care deeply about our work and we wanna make sure we're able to manage the expectations. But very important, tip number three is always make sure that you're investing the necessary amount of time to get the most out of the relationship. Obviously, the agency you hired is an expert at this specific area, so figure out, "How do you get the most out of that relationship? How do you keep them... How do you hold them accountable? How do you build a communication process?" These are all learnings that again, are gonna go right back to your team.
04:07 SA: Yeah. And I think the other obvious answer too but it really is worth stating 'cause a lot of people forget to do this even with us is if you have a team working on your behalf, an agency team, and they're scaling up your e-commerce store, mobile app, content site, whatever it is, actually look and see what they're doing and think about why they're doing it. It's really obvious but figure out what it is they're doing, ask them. Have them teach you, like have them say, "What's the strategy or why are you guys doing this?" And figure out what they're doing, because if you're not learning that you're really not learning agency, you're not learning anything. You're actually just... You're getting the service but you're not getting the long term information. So you're not making an investment, it's an expense out the door.
04:49 SW: I think a lot of companies we work with hire us as an agency 'cause not only do they wanna learn how to set goals and expectations and how to do the management side but they wanna learn how to recruit, they wanna learn, "What are the best practices to recruit a great Facebook ad manager? How do I recruit a great member for my SEM team? How do I find people who are both very granular and can go in and talk and actually execute on specific campaign initiatives inside of Facebook, editing, going into power editor, optimizing daily budgets, optimizing audiences ad sets? Et cetera, et cetera. But how do I also find that same person who's very strategic, who's also gonna look at the big picture impact of what they do on a daily basis?"
05:27 SW: Finding that person or those two people to really think both strategically about a marketing channel as well as be able to go do the work in the weeds, that's an amazing skill set. I think that people are looking for these specific skill sets which make a great marketing team. I think that's why companies work with us or any agency is 'cause they wanna figure out, "What are those skill sets that are gonna help grow my marketing team?"
05:51 SA: And that's one of the key... It brings us to one of the key things about when it's time to bring on an agency is recruiting. Finding good people in Facebook ads especially on the performance side, which is what we do, it's very, very hard. There are only so many people out there that can really scale a lot of different businesses or even one business profitably on Facebook. So if you're an agency that... Or if you're... I'm sorry. If you're a company that is looking for acquisition talent but struggling to find somebody who fits in, the agency can bridge that gap or be a permanent solution. Just because recruiting as most business owners know, is the hardest part of doing business, finding talent. It's brutal.
06:34 SW: It really is and I think, not only that, but how do you retain talent? Marketing talent... We're in a space right now where it's never been this competitive to find and retain marketers. If you have a Facebook marketer who has experience, who has understanding, and who can look at stuff strategically as well as be in the weeds, really communicate to the higher ups, all these skill sets on communication, execution, strategic thinking, these are skill sets that are super hard to find and I think that when you do... I always go back, when you do work with an agency you can figure out one, how to hire these people, where to find these people and there's a lot that goes in there. I also think... Lastly creative, I think that if you're gonna work with an agency, really start thinking strategically with them about the messaging for your product and I go... I say this is very important because messaging and product expectations are what's gonna set your brand apart from other companies. I think when you work with a team that's really thoughtful about that, and has experience with it, they can set the tone for long term success for your marketing organization. So I always say, try and figure out how to get the most out of the agency, how to figure out the learnings, how to build a cohesive communication process back and forth, and then really figure out long term, "Do you wanna have this in house?" I think that's a big strategic question.
08:00 SA: That's a good point.
08:00 SW: In a perfect world, you raise a lot of money, you think that it's more... You think that just because it's more efficient to have it in house and have one person managing it, well when you hire one or two people to manage paid social or AdWords, they're not actually focused on that channel every day, they're focused on a number of other things that go into working on a marketing team. Whereas when you hire an agency, you have people that are focused on specific channels and there's learning and insight being shared around the room.
08:27 SA: Exactly, that's the biggest I think draw back for a lot of companies about having an in house team is that they are focused on what works on Facebook for their specific brand, they're not learning about the other stuff that's going on on the platform. So when you have an agency and you have a team of Facebook marketers for example, if there is a bug somewhere on the platform, that team is gonna know about it immediately and they can adjust campaigns on the fly because they get that information right away. If they know that, "Hey, maybe there is a temporary dip in CPMs or there's some trend that they're seeing, some new opportunity that they're seeing, they can go in, spread that knowledge to the rest of the team and all of a sudden your company is benefiting because of the work that someone else at that agency is doing for another client. It's that shared knowledge of having somebody who's not only just doing it for you but doing it on several other accounts. It provides a lot of benefit 'cause Facebook it's a complicated beast, there's a lot of stuff going on.
09:22 SW: It changes every single day.
09:24 SA: Absolutely.
09:25 SW: I think the hardest part of our job as marketers is... Someone says, I know Facebook one day, well tomorrow I'm humbled every single day. I'm seriously just humbled by the amount of changes, the iterations, and it's what makes our job interesting and stressful at the same time. And I think just because of that, be very thoughtful about the people you work with. I think finding an agency or a team member who can change on the fly, and I think that's being open and not being the smartest person. I think that our team... I look for... This goes back to a little bit about hiring but I look for people that are okay with being humbled on a daily basis. I look for people that could admit their weaknesses, that can create empathy within their team members, and those are skill sets that I think in the Facebook ad ecosystem are what drives an amazing Facebook campaign manager.
10:17 SA: Completely agree, completely agree. So now, Steve just to wrap it up, if somebody was trying to hire a Facebook agency, do you know of any good Facebook ad agencies that you would recommend?
10:27 SW: There's a couple. [laughter] Only a couple. I don't want this podcast to be about MuteSix and this and that, this is not the goal. The goal is to take what we've seen in the market, "When does it makes sense?" Obviously, you're just launching a product, doesn't makes sense in most cases. I want people to actually test out Facebook and really understand how the system works to set manageable expectations for an agency. A good agency is gonna cost a significant amount of money.
10:58 SA: Yeah.
10:58 SW: It's a significant amount of marketing budget because you're paying them to figure out your business. You're paying them and if they figure it out, there's gonna be a massive bill. Most agencies take a percentage of spend. There's gonna be a massive bill for them figuring out both creative, landing page and videos, Facebook, other channels, it's gonna be a great bill. So I always say, "Test it out, understand how your product fits into a market when you run the ads and then once you hit a block, then consider, 'Is this something that we wanna take in house or hire an expert?'" Maybe you have a team member who's capable and you just wanna get them to learn from a specific team. There's a number of different scenarios but be very thoughtful about it because I think that if you're too quick, you don't give your team members the ability to really figure it out themselves and that... I can understand that sometimes you just hire an agency that defeats the morale of the team, especially if you're a big organization, it defeats the morale, so just always be sensitive to that 'cause agencies, we wanna come in and help. I obviously run these. I wanna come in and make a dramatic positive impact on your business. It's very important to me and I wanna empower your team to be better. I wanna empower my team to be better. So I think that's very important.
12:17 SA: Excellent points. Excellent points all around. Well, Steve do you have any other thoughts on when people should hire agencies or things people should know before hiring agencies?
12:26 SW: Understand that if you are successful with an agency, it's not because the agency is amazing. It might be, but it's a team effort. And I stress that you're gonna be successful as a team and there's not one or two people on the agency side who are making your product and experience successful. And then lastly, the reality is this, we get it, if we do too good, there's gonna be a big bill. If we as an agency suck, it doesn't make sense to work together, so have a long term strategy. Be very thoughtful about what the future of your team looks like. How do you want your team to look six months, a year from now? What are the goals that you wanna hold people responsible for? These are all really important things to be thinkful and cognizant of when you consider to make this big jump.
13:14 SA: Absolutely. Completely agree. Well, if you or someone you know is thinking about hiring an agency, whether it's us or somebody else and you just want advice on questions you should ask or whether it's the right time to hire an agency, if you wanna ask me or Steve couple pieces of advice, we'd be happy to help you. Stewart@mutesix.com, Steve@mutesix.com. Again, this is if you wanna talk to us or anybody else on the agency side, we're happy to help provide a little bit of guidance. This has been a great episode of the Spend $10k a Day Podcast and obviously a topic very near and dear to our heart. We'll see you again next time.