When B2B companies start their search for a marketing agency, they often look close to home first.
And why not?
Isn’t it better to find a marketing agency “near me” for face-to-face visits and collaboration?
In this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of working with a local marketing company. Spoiler alert: There are plenty of each.
When B2B Companies Need a Marketing Agency
There’s no definitive metric for when a B2B company needs a marketing agency. That said, it tends to be pretty self-evident.
Typically, our clients started their search for a marketing and advertising company when:
- Sales or growth had plateaued
- Internal marketing staff couldn’t take on any more tasks
- A new product or service was being launched
- New investment demanded rapid growth
- They needed to expand into new markets or verticals
- Turnover left a void in the marketing department
- Their founders realized they couldn’t bootstrap marketing anymore
Sometimes it’s an “ah-ha” moment. Sometimes it’s a long-burn decision. But when it’s obvious, it’s obvious.
And that’s where the search for a B2B marketing agency begins.
How Companies Look for an Agency
Business-to-business companies take different tacks when looking for a marketing firm.
Lots of executives ask their network for a recommendation.
Some companies turn to aggregators like Agency Spotter.
In our experience, though, Google rules the agency search process.
Just like folks looking for the best dog food or a way to improve NOI at an investment property, company leaders ask a search engine. And they do it in droves. Just check out these monthly search numbers, per LSIGraph:
- “Marketing agency” – 14,800 searches/month
- “Marketing companies” – 6,600 searches/month
- “Digital agency” – 3,600 searches/month
- “B2B marketing agency” – 480 searches/month
- “Top marketing agencies” – 880 searches/month
- “B2B marketing firms” – 70 searches/month
- “B2B advertising agencies” – 70 searches/month
- “Top digital marketing agencies” – 880 searches/month
That’s a lot of queries every month. And that’s before you get to one of the most common ways companies look for a partner: “marketing agency near me.”
Why Companies Look for Local Agencies
At first blush, it makes a lot of sense for B2B companies to look for a local marketing partner.
Foremost among the reasons to work with someone close is facetime. An agency in your city can likely meet in-person at least monthly. This type of face-to-face collaboration is particularly important for smaller companies and startups.
Likewise, a marketing agency near you sometimes provides a better cultural fit. The laid-back West Coast and down-to-business East Coast are cliches, but there’s a kernal of truth. Similarly, companies in non-major metro areas won’t pay “big city” rates if they work with a firm in their area.
Perhaps the most common reason for wanting to hire close to home is time zones. Even the three-hour difference within the continental U.S. can be a big deal for busy schedules. A Pennsylvania agency’s day effectively ends at 2 p.m. Silicon Valley time. That can cause challenges.
Why Companies Hire National B2B Agencies
As nice as a local agency can be, there are plenty of benefits to hiring outside your area.
First, the benefits of meeting face to face only appear if the agency works that way. To wit, we have a longtime client in Brooklyn who previously worked with a partner two subway stops away. They met in person quarterly … at best. In-person meetings simply weren’t part of the New York agency’s engagement model, so they didn’t happen.
There’s another major potential benefit for companies in places like San Francisco, New York and Chicago. B2B marketing agencies outside those areas are typically far less expensive. If the talent is equal, why not pay 2/3 the price? Rent on Main Street, USA, is a lot less than on Madison Avenue, after all.
Finally, agencies with a national footprint often command more resources and experience than local shops. If you’re selling nationally or internationally, that’s a big deal.
The Bottom Line: Fit Is Everything
When you’re ready to look for a B2B marketing agency, you have a big choice to make. Our advice? Don’t limit yourself by geography.
Instead, you’re looking for holistic fit.
Think about your industry, your needs and your budget.
Do you truly value face-to-face collaboration? Do they? Or will a webcam suffice?
Do they have the talent you need? The right experience? Or that X factor you can’t quite put a finger on?
The right B2B marketing agency might be near you. They might not. There are pros and cons to both. Think hard and think long, and you’ll end up making the choice that’s best for you.