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What follows is, of course, a generalisation. There are marketing agencies that do good work for small (defined as less than 50 employees) B2B businesses but they are not easy to find. Some agencies do great work for larger businesses, but that is their focus. They have little interest in working for small businesses.

If an agency does offer support for a small business there are many potential issues, including:

Cost.

Support.

Longtermism.

Outdated model.

Cost

To be fair, an agency needs to employ experts! (more on that below) to cover several areas of marketing. They need to support offices and their brand. That all comes at a cost.

The problem is many agencies charge a set hourly fee regardless of the task. They will charge the same for some difficult technical SEO tasks as for data entry into CRM.

Support

If agencies take on smaller clients, the level of support/expertise they can expect is generally low. The experts tend to work with the agencies larger clients while overseeing the work of some junior individuals working with the smaller clients.

Often the cost of that junior individual is not reflected in the charged hourly rate.

Longtermism

The agencies primary objective is to lengthen its engagement and/or take on more tasks. Their focus can wander from the current task, especially if they feel their engagement is nearing its conclusion.

Outdated Model

Marketing, especially digital marketing, develops at a rapid rate. Many agencies still employ the same methods that worked two to five years ago. Those techniques don’t necessarily work today. There tends to be a herd mentality. Agency ‘X’ is doing it so it must work! Read more on that issue HERE.

Finally, a puzzle to consider. You will often find agency marketing manager or agency business development roles advertised. Why does a marketing agency need a marketing manager? Surely they have all the skills they could ever need in house?