Setting up a new business is a Herculean task. The primary focus of any new startup in the initial days is the core product. Then comes the question of revenue generation. After these questions are sorted out, there are still a few major questions that haunt most of the small startups?
- Now that we have a great product, how to promote it?
- How to determine the price of my product?
- How to ensure my website ranks high for relevant searches?
- Should I explore the power of social media?
- How to explore different channels of sales for my product?
Believe it or not, the answer to all these questions is only one- hire a marketing agency- the only catch here is- you need to know what type of marketing agency would suit your requirements.
What questions to ask yourself before deciding whether you need to hire a marketing agency?
- Is this the right activity for you at this particular time?
To explain the point with a simple question, does this activity (can be anything from social media sharing to doing paid marketing) align to your objectives or development stage?
- Do you have the time, resources and expertise to do it yourself?
Many startups would like to take up marketing activities in-house to save efforts in coordination and follow-ups and also money. Also, there is a number of online courses that one can go through and learn. However, it would need a lot of time and attention. Often, at this stage, startups are run by the founder and a very small team who might not have the bandwidth to invest time and effort in learning something from scratch. They would also lack the expertise and might not have the industry benchmarks with them to measure their performance and results. And there wouldn’t be enough work to justify hiring an expert. In this case, it only makes sense to hire an external agency on a project basis.
10 types of marketing agencies new startups should consider
According to an article by Coxblue, there are 6 stages of a startup based on the primary focus you would have at each stage. Based on that, we have listed down the types of marketing agencies you would need:
- Market Research Agency: Market Research Agencies provides qualitative and quantitative research services. To put it in simpler terms, a market research agency can help a startup understand a product/service category through a detailed study of market penetration, consumption patterns, consumer profile, purchase behaviors, the path to purchase, etc. It can also help startups determine the pricing of their product through detailed competitor analysis, product demand, etc. In the later stages, market research agencies can also help brands to conduct surveys and mystery audits to test product and service performance.
Market Research agencies are usually required in the first stage of startup- Concept & Research. During this stage, startups understand their target audience and determine the product-market fit.
- Brand Consulting Agency: A brand consulting agency would help startups to come up with their brand identity like brand name, brand logo, brand value propositions, etc. It will also suggest ways to create brand stories and the right way to communicate with the audience.
Brand Consulting Agencies mostly come into picture after the first stage, in the second to the fourth stage of a startup, ie during Commitment, Traction or Refinement stages. These are the stages where a startup would actually establish it’s identity, create buzz and establish itself in the market.
- Content Writing: Content Writing is an ongoing process for any business, especially in today’s world where written text is important for websites, blogs, product descriptions, press releases, brochures, ads, etc.
Content Writing services would be required at all stages of a startup from second to the sixth stage- Commitment, Traction, Refinement, Scaling and Established.
- Video Making: Like content writing, video making is also an ongoing process for any business. With search engines and audience changing preferences in favor of videos, businesses require videos at various stages- for websites, blogs, video ads, YouTube channels, training purposes.
Video making services too would be required at all stages of a startup from second to the sixth stage- Commitment, Traction, Refinement, Scaling and Established.
- Creative Agency: Creative agencies mostly have a diverse portfolio that sometimes might overlap with other types of agencies like brand consulting, video making and content writing but simplify, these agencies would help you take care of all your creative needs- be it brand logo, packaging, brochure, advertisement (print, jingle, video, infographics, advertorial, etc)
Creative agencies too would be required at all stages from second to the sixth stage- Commitment, Traction, Refinement, Scaling and Established.
- Search Engine Optimization Agency: If you own a website/blog, you would need search engine optimization to make sure you are visible to your audience when they search for relevant products/services using related keywords. Search engine optimization agencies can help you achieve the same.
Search Engine Optimization Agencies are required mostly during stages 3 to 6- Traction, Refinement, Scaling and Established. Based on the growth of website in terms of a number of products/services, brands can choose to move this function in-house in the later stages.
- Public Relations Agency: Public Relations Agencies help brands establish a connection with the public through maintaining an authentic and honest image. Be it press release, events, media relations, etc- all of these are managed by the Public Relations Agency. In simpler words., a public relations agency manages the reputation and image of a brand. They would help you identify and explore the right channels to propagate your brand in a meaningful manner.
Public Relations Agencies are mostly required in a later stage, from stage 4 to 6.
- Social Media Agency: Social Media Agencies would help you devise a social media strategy, create content and maintain your social media handles. These are very instrumental in creating an honest and caring image, establishing an emotional connection with the audience and enable two-way communication between brand and audience.
Social Media Agencies are required mostly during stages 3 to 6- Traction, Refinement, Scaling and Established. Based on the growth of the website in terms of the number of products/services, brands can choose to move this function in-house in the later stages.
- Media Agency: Media agencies come into picture when you decide to start with advertising and require expertise to determine which advertising platforms/media would suit your product. The media agencies would help you create a media plan based on your budget and advertising objective by helping you select the advertising media, platform, ad type, frequency, and campaign duration. Most of these agencies have strong tie-ups with media owners and hence can offer you the best advertising rates and also handle the execution process.
Media agencies are usually required in later stages 5-6: Scaling and established stages.
- Email Marketing Agency: Email marketing agencies would help startups formulate their email marketing strategies, help create an email marketing list, build an attractive and relevant landing page and carry out email marketing services.
Email marketing agencies too are usually required in later stages 5-6: Scaling and established stages
12th Cross: A Classified Listing For Marketing Services
In the age of Google Search, on the one hand, it is very easy for businesses to become visible to those who are searching for them. On the other hand, it has become difficult for the audience to decide the credibility of all the products/services they come across. There are a number of marketing services a startup would need from time to time and finding the correct one may take a very long time and effort. We found a solution to this problem, in the form of a website called 12thcross.com.
12th Cross is a handpicked, carefully vetted collection of agencies and freelancers offering a wide range of marketing services. You can rely on the 12th Cross to find the best service providers, compare them and connect to the selected ones. And it’s absolutely free of cost to use.