As my department at 3Q Digital grows, I get the chance to talk to a lot of people across a variety of verticals, responsibilities, levels and points of view (sellers, buyers and decision-makers). Invariably, the first questions across the table are the all-too-familiar “But do I really need an agency? Can’t I do it myself? Can’t I hire a few smart kids to do Google and Facebook for me?”
My short answer is, yes, there are very talented companies who are probably better off without an agency. When growth is one of your core competencies and you develop a 100-person acquisition/growth/retention team, then no, you don’t need an agency.
But here’s the thing: Product is product. Growth is growth. And ya need both.
According to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, “blitzscaling” is “what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale.”
That’s where a good agency comes in, bringing vertical knowledge; years of performance experience; attribution and analytics infrastructure that can integrate your systems and data; and a network of partners (and discounts) along the entire growth food chain to get you to your goals faster and more precisely.
Can you build that kind of resource in-house? Sure, but consider how many people it would take and the opportunities you’d miss in the meantime. For some, it’s worth the investment; for others, finding the right agency is a better call.
This may seem like a long, unreasonable list of questions to ask yourself — and for most companies, it is. (If you don’t want to take the quiz, you can see the questions here.) It’s more than a five-minute conversation to explain to potential clients why in-house success is a long, hard slog.
As for a common hesitation I hear from folks who aren’t sold on bringing in agencies — no agency will care as much about a company’s success as the company itself will — that’s certainly a valid concern.
If you do bring on an agency, make sure that agency shoulders a rock-solid responsibility for your goals and your growth — which should encompass all of the topics we mentioned in the quiz. Anything short of that will leave gaps that bring you back to your original question and looking to find solutions in-house.
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