Someone just asked me the other day what my prediction was for 2023 budgets - up or down? When I said it depends, it sounded like a cop out. But I stand by my response - it’s impossible to generalize anything in these economic times. Many businesses need to hunker down, get really lean and do their best to weather the storm. Others have a tremendous opportunity and need to quickly jump to capture a new market. Either way, resource allocation and planning is dealing with a major curveball in 2023. Here are five reasons working with a boutique marketing agency might be a good way to make sure you have the right coverage in 2023.
You need flexible, elastic bandwidth.
If you have an ongoing bottleneck problem, permanent headcount is a good option. For example, if all your projects are backed up because your designer is overwhelmed or your web person has a backlog, hire another FTE or contractor to permanently add specific capacity.
But if you have a bandwidth problem, an agency is usually a better option because it allows you to do more of anything. When you work with an agency, you have a wide variety of competencies to get all sorts of projects done from start to finish. By structuring your engagement to fit your situation, you’re able to add flexible, elastic bandwidth in a turnkey way. For example, we work on retainer (as an “on standby” resource to tackle a variety of projects), through monthly packages (to fill a specific need with a fixed cost solution), or on a project basis (to complete well defined projects).
Your marketing needs are varied and changing.
If the analogy “building the plane while flying it” hits a little too close to home, hiring an agency can provide an immediate, on-demand team. Week to week, an agency can provide a rotating roster of plug-and-play experts ready to jump in, both at the strategic and execution levels. And here’s where I’d go a step further to say that particularly during times of growth or change, a boutique marketing agency is worth considering because you can find specialized expertise, focus, and dedication that will cost you 10x at a big agency.
You’re not in a position to add headcount right now.
Many, many teams were downsized or had open headcount frozen in 2020, but in most cases the workload increased. Filling the gap with an agency gives you the flexibility to add the resources you need in an on-demand way, without the added and permanent costs associated with hiring new team members. An agency engagement can add a wide variety of marketing expertise to your team’s capabilities, where adding a single new team member only checks one box.
You need help - NOW.
Even if you have approved headcount, it typically takes months to recruit and hire a new team member. Add training and the requisite “getting up to speed” period and it will be 2 quarters before your new hire is contributing to your team in a meaningful way. An agency can solve that problem, pronto, without the laborious hiring/onboarding process. There's still an onboarding period with an agency, but they are usually adept at jumping in and moving quickly since that’s their norm.
If you do have the luxury of adding a new, permanent team member, frequently an agency will backfill during the hiring process. It’s a great way to help get the extra help you need, while giving you the breathing room to take your time finding the right person to hire full time. Then once you have someone hired, they can help with onboarding, too. (And if they turn out to not be the right fit, you don’t have to worry about interrupted bandwidth.)
Your budget is tight
Surprisingly, this could be the biggest argument in the “pro” column for working with a boutique agency. A modest budget that could support one junior marketer can get you access to on-demand and ongoing senior marketers with the boutique model. It really is like adding an up-and-running marketing unit to your org chart, overnight. In addition to the increased quality and sophistication of the work, that expertise typically also means less back-and-forth, edits, and do-overs. For example, at Wheels Up, we only have senior, specialized marketers on our team - our average tenure is 10 years in each’s marketing field of expertise. This efficiently delivers the right results faster, for less. Our careers have all been primarily in tech startups, so we know all too well about how to move fast with lean budgets.
If you’re considering adding marketing resources to your team, we’d love to chat to see if Wheels Up could be a good fit. If it turns out that we’re not, we have a strong network of individuals and companies and might have a great recommendation for you to check out instead.