Relationships between a B2B marketing agency and its client used to be easy to define. Then along came the concept of inbound marketing and everything changed.

In the past, the agency/client process tended to follow the steps outlined below:

  • A Client has a need/requirement.
  • Several marketing agencies pitch a solution.
  • A marketing agency is engaged.
  • The client and agency agree on a detailed plan.
  • The agency completes the work with minimal reference back to the client.

This process suited both parties. The outsourced B2B marketing agency could simply get on with the job. While the client could get on with their business with minimal involvement in the process.

Agency vs Client Responsibilities

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 the type of content 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 services agency.

This requires closer marketing agency client relationships. The client can no longer step back and leave the agency to deliver. The agency will need to regularly call upon clients’ 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) via Google Ads, Microsoft Ads or social.
  • 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 businesses need to appreciate they can no longer hire and forget. They now need a closer relationship with their agency. In return, B2B marketing agencies must change their traditional client management and cost models to match the new reality.

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