Marketing Training vs. Agency: What’s the Difference?
by Eliza Spain on Feb 22, 2023
Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business, as it helps to attract and retain customers, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drives sales and revenue.
But what’s the best way to implement and strategize your marketing efforts?
What kind of marketing partner should you look for?
In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the differences between marketing training and coaching and marketing agencies to empower you to decide which option might best align with your needs.
- How marketing training and marketing agencies differ in their approach to helping clients
- The 5 key differences between marketing training and agency services
- Weighing the pros and cons
- How to choose what best fits your business
- How both types of partners could effectively work with you
How Do Marketing Training and Agencies Differ?
The difference between marketing training and agencies essentially boils down to who is responsible for carrying out the marketing strategy and activities.
Marketing training and coaching is designed to help teams learn the skills and strategies they need to do the work themselves.
In other words, coaches don’t write blog articles and content for their clients; they teach the client how to write for themselves with guidance on how to improve.
Traditional inbound marketing agencies do the work for you. They provide guidance on what should be done and then complete those tasks. They deliver the completed work to the client for feedback and approval.
5 Key Differences Between Marketing Training and Agency Services
1. Responsibilities of the provider
The marketing coach or trainer has the role of being a trusted advisor and educator.
They focus on helping individuals or teams develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.
They offer guidance and feedback as the client does the work for themselves. You can think of this as “in-sourcing.”
The marketing coach holds clients accountable and helps them reach their business goals.
An agency helps clients achieve their business goals by executing a marketing plan.
Agencies strategize with the client and complete the work with the client's approval. You can think of this as “outsourcing.”
2. Responsibilities of the client
When hiring a marketing trainer, the internal marketing team will be responsible for applying what they learn and implementing their new sales, marketing, and customer service strategies themselves.
It is the responsibility of the client to execute work with guidance and advice from their coach along the way. The quality of the work depends on a team's willingness to learn and apply that knowledge.
When hiring a marketing agency, the client does not do the work themselves. They give the agency the direction and budget to strategize efforts to reach business goals.
The client’s responsibility is to provide the agency with feedback and approval.
3. Partnership length
A marketing training relationship is typically finite. Once a client is trained on the skills and strategies the trainer provides, the trainer takes on a business coach role.
The training portion of the relationship usually lasts 12-24 months. The coaching portion will depend on how long the internal teams can apply and maintain what they’ve learned.
An agency relationship depends on the marketing strategies and projects the agency was hired to execute.
This could be a project-based approach, like building a website or implementing a new CRM, or an ongoing retainer with quarterly objectives and projects.
When this relationship ends, however, the client will need to hire another agency to continue the work rather than be able to continue marketing efforts on their own.
The difference in the length of a relationship, in turn, affects the costs associated with each option.
Marketing training and coaching may have high upfront costs as the coach works closely with the client for a finite amount of time.
Once the internal client teams are trained and can execute work on their own, the relationship ends, as well as the financial costs.
The client becomes self-sufficient and doesn’t have to rely on outsourcing their marketing.
Traditional marketing agency costs depend on the project they’re hired to do or if they’re hired as a retainer. If the agency is hired to do a one-off project, the cost will depend on the time and materials spent to complete it.
Suppose they’re hired as a retainer to complete ongoing projects such as blog publishing or social media posting. In that case, the client will continue to pay a monthly expense for as long as the relationship lasts.
5. Partnership dynamic
A marketing trainer-client relationship is similar to a teacher-student relationship.
The trainer teaches the client new skills and how to apply them while giving constructive feedback.
An agency-client relationship is more of a transactional relationship. The client owns the relationship and sets the direction and budget. The agency delivers the work to meet the client’s approval.
The client doesn’t necessarily know how the work is being done; they just see the final product.
So how do these differences affect who you choose to work with?
It depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish and what involvement you want in actually doing the work.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Pros of Marketing Training
- In-house team skills development: By providing training to internal marketing and sales teams, clients will learn how to improve their marketing strategies and be able to apply their knowledge.
- Authentic content: Creating content designed to answer specific customer questions about purchasing your products or services will build trust and authority in your space, leading to more opportunities. A steady flow of sales opportunities increases potential revenue, allows for more accurate planning and forecasting, and provides more flexibility and control over the sales process.
- Self-sufficiency: Clients learn the skills necessary to continue marketing efforts independently without dependency on an outside source.
- Better ROI on marketing efforts: With better training, clients can create more efficient and effective marketing campaigns, resulting in a better return on investment.
Cons of Marketing Training
- Upfront investment: Marketing training may have high upfront financial investments as coaches work closely with their clients.
- Time commitment: Training often requires a significant time commitment at the beginning of the relationship.
Pros of Agency Services
- High-quality production: Agencies typically have the resources, tools, and technology to carry out advanced marketing campaigns.
- Project-based approach: If you need a quick turnaround on a highly technical project, marketing agencies can do the job efficiently.
Cons of Agency Services
- Long-term investment: Traditional marketing agencies can charge based on the project or can be retainer based. Ongoing costs may result in a lower ROI.
- Dependency: Clients become dependent on the agency to execute their marketing efforts, which can make it difficult for individuals and organizations to continue making progress on their own.
How to Choose Between Marketing Training and Agency Services
Marketing training can be a great option for businesses that are just starting and don't have much marketing experience. Or for businesses that have a good understanding of marketing but want to take their efforts to the next level by acquiring new skills or refining existing ones.
Investing in marketing training can help businesses improve their sales and marketing strategies, stay competitive, better engage with customers, and boost revenue, all while being self-sufficient.
You might consider hiring a sales and marketing coach if…
- You aim to acquire the necessary skills and maintain control over your marketing resources by keeping marketing efforts in-house.
- You desire greater control and the ability to adjust your marketing and sales plans as needed by internally handling your marketing and sales efforts.
- You’re looking for an authentic outcome. Your internal team knows your business best and can create accurate and true-to-brand content.
- You're facing challenges in your sales and marketing efforts. A coach can help you identify and overcome any challenges you may be facing.
On the other hand, marketing agency services allow businesses to outsource their marketing efforts.
They work with clients to understand their goals and execute projects based on the direction provided by the client.
You might consider hiring a marketing agency if…
- You need a one-off project completed quickly and effectively.
- You’re looking for a polished and high-quality outcome. Agencies have the resources and tools needed to provide you with high-quality content.
How Both Options Could Work for Your Business
Depending on your near and long-term goals, you may hire both partners over the course of your business’s lifetime.
Marketing training may help you with a long-term goal of becoming self-sufficient and training the right internal marketing and sales team members.
An agency may help you execute a short-term goal, like building a website or deploying a custom solution.
It may not be about who to hire but when to hire them.
"People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it."
– Simon Sinek
As a business owner, you know your business, and it's needs better than anyone else.
Therefore, when choosing marketing training or agency service (or both), it's important to consider what will work best for your business in terms of budget, goals, and resources.
- Marketing coaches teach clients how to do the work themselves for long-term success, the deliverable being the skills acquired.
- Marketing agencies work for clients and often do not provide insight into their methods. The deliverable is the finished product or asset.
- Coaching is typically a short-term, finite investment, while agencies can be short or long-term, depending on the client's needs.
- The client drives the long-term direction and success with coaching, while success is more in the hands of the agency when working with an agency.
It's important to research and compare different options and to remember that the best approach may involve a combination of different strategies and services.
Ultimately, the key is to find a solution that empowers your team and drives growth and success for your business.
Are you interested in more information on sales & marketing training and coaching for your home services company?
Schedule some time to talk with an advisor.
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