Overwhelmed to Outsourced: Get the most out of working with a marketing agency

Marketing is one of the most challenging roles in a business; your to-do list is relentless, your hours are out of control. It’s too easy to become reactive instead of proactive.

If this sounds painfully familiar, you might be at the stage where you are considering outsourcing your marketing to extend your team and tame that overwhelm. Not sure where to start? Let’s break down your options… 

Each option has pros and cons. To avoid getting burned, first reflect on your needs. Do you need full-service support or specialised skills? Do you need someone full-time or on-demand? What level of experience is necessary? Defining your requirements now, means no regrets down the road.

As a team we’ve worked in-house, we’ve smashed it as freelancers and we’ve all ended up at one of the best agencies around (we’re not afraid to toot our own trumpets either), so we’re speaking from years of lived experience in each option. But for this post, for obvious reasons, we’re here to talk about the ins and outs of outsourcing to an agency.

getting it right

Outsourcing to a marketing agency

It can be daunting letting go of reins you’ve been holding onto solo, you’ve spent your time and energy making your strategy work as best you can, and now the time has come to expand, how can you trust any agency will live up to your expectations? Let’s be straight: it’s realistic to expect teething pains if you’re outsourcing for the first time. Issues may arise in the form of:

So, how can you avoid the potential pitfalls and get straight to the good stuff? Having nurtured over a hundred client/agency relationships, in my mind the greatest thing that can support a healthy pairing is the quality of that initial onboarding and the discovery phase.

The most common challenge from an agency standpoint? Marketing managers taking last-minute direction from internal stakeholders when we’re already beyond the brief.

coral quotation marks

"Marketers (80%) think they write good briefs, and only 10% of creative agencies agree." "Poor briefs erode marketing budgets. Respondents estimated that 33% of the marketing budget goes to waste due to poor briefs and misdirected work."

get on the same page

How to avoid misdirected work and wasted time and budget

Let’s look at how you can avoid misdirected work and wasted budget. This might seem obvious, but the three steps we’ve outlined will ensure everyone is on the same page and behind your brief before engaging an agency.

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Before drafting the brief, hold pre-brief meetings with critical business stakeholders. Agree on must-haves and hard nos, setting boundaries and expectations as best you can. This collaborative approach helps build consensus and buy-in early in the process.
Once the brief is drafted, circulate it among the stakeholders for review and feedback. Be open to incorporating suggestions and revising the brief based on the feedback received. This iterative process will mean that the final brief reflects the collective input of the team.
Seek formal sign-off for the brief to cement stakeholder commitment. Signing off on the brief signifies their agreement with the project scope, objectives, and deliverables.

How to build a good relationship with your marketing agency


A clear scoping document should include the following:


Hit the ground running with a clear scope of work for all parties to sign off. This sets in stone what’s expected of the agency.

This way, there are no surprises, and all internal stakeholders will understand precisely the support you have secured. 

If you don’t have a scope of work with your current agency and you’re experiencing a mismatch between delivery and expectation, it’s worth asking for one in your following account review.


Systems set up

This should always be an integral part of onboarding. You need to understand how work will be delivered, using what systems and software and how you will be kept up to date with the progress of your account.


Shared files and access to your work

Up front, ask how you will access the work completed. If this is creative, a shared file such as Google Drive would likely be the best way to ensure you have easy access to all the work completed.


Communications preferences

This seems very simple; however, it’s often missed and can cause significant frustration. If you’re a phone call person, let your account manager know. Or, if you do best with emails, that’s your call; some clients prefer to rely on account management meetings for updates. There’s no wrong or right way, just make sure whichever communication style floats your boat is open and agreed upon with your account manager.


Reporting requirements

Your agency will likely lay out expected reporting during the discovery phase. If you know you have specific requirements in-house, like board reports or management reporting that is expected at a particular time, now is the time to let your account manager know, so that all data and reporting can be ready and waiting for when you need it most.



You’ve more than likely hired an agency to do very specific work for you. But often, during discovery, ideas and opportunities that you hadn’t touched on during your initial conversations will crop up. Which is why it’s important to discuss how flexible Scope is at this stage. For you as the in-house marketer, it’s always handy to understand what budget you have to play with if an amazing opportunity does pop up (as they often do when we’re involved…). It’ s also at this stage, you should agree on how you’d like to see future proposals for any additional work, so that any opportunities can be communicated in a way that helps you get sign off!


Internal sign-off

Sometimes, we see our marketing manager clients between a rock and a hard place: we deliver what they’ve asked, but the goalposts have moved internally for them. It’s because of situations like these, that we take the time to understand your dynamics in-house. It’s only through thorough understanding of how you work, that we can build an appropriate feedback loop for every project. Giving your agency the low-down on the dynamics of your internal teams removes some of the pressure from you and can only make the collaborative process even smoother!

Are you ready?

We’ve worked hard over the last decade to refine our client management and customer service processes, to make onboarding new clients and ongoing management of client work as pain-free as possible.

If you’re considering working with an agency to support your marketing and communications strategy, please contact our team for a no-obligation chat, they’re our favourite kind!

Send us a brief

If you know what you want, get your thoughts down in a brief so we can make sure we’re on the same page. On receipt we’ll be in touch to arrange a call. 

Quiz to find out if working with a marketing agency is right for your business right now.