The relationship between a B2B marketing agency and their client used to be relatively easy to define. Then along came the concept of inbound marketing and everything changed.
The process used to be relatively simple and tended to follow the steps outlined below:
- A Client has a need/requirement.
- Several marketing agencies pitch a solution.
- A marketing agency is chosen and engaged.
- A detailed plan is agreed between the client and the agency.
- The agency completes the work with minimal reference back to the client.
This suited both parties as the outsourced B2B marketing agency could simply get on with the job and the client could get on with their business with minimal involvement in the process.
The Clients Role In The Process
Now, with the rise in popularity of inbound and content marketing, the situation has changed. Only the client, with their intimate understanding of customers and markets, can define precisely what type of content is required at various points in the sales process.
The client retains information that can be converted into useful content. Thought leaders with a view on the market and trends are much more likely to reside in the client business than in the outsourced marketing agency.
A much closer relationship is therefore required between a B2B marketing agency and the client than has historically been the case. The client can no longer simply step back and leave the agency to deliver. The agency will need to regularly call upon the business resources.
So Why Employ A B2B Marketing Agency?
This situation begs the question why employ a B2B marketing agency at all? A valid question but an agency can still provide value by:
- Building a plan, segmenting the market and identifying targets.
- Researching what content is appropriate for each market segment.
- Leading the client through the process.
- Acting as editor in chief, requesting content, re-writing and expanding as necessary.
- Using their experience to decide on the best content delivery channels.
- Utilising content to gain high quality links and build the presence of the business website in search.
- Advising on paid content promotion (if required)
- Implementation and delivery.
There is still a place for a B2B marketing agency but a much closer relationship between client and agency is now required to achieve success. When deciding between in house or outsourced marketing It is important for businesses to appreciate they can no longer hire and forget. B2B marketing agencies must change their traditional client management and cost models to match the new reality.