No matter how sophisticated your marketing department is, you may need a little help from time to time. Hence, you might consider bringing in a creative agency to support your marketing operation. But what can one really do for you?

How a Creative Agency Can Help

Whether you need someone to fill in the gaps in your production process or guide your content strategy, here are the biggest ways an agency can help you build a brand and make your marketing more effective.

1) Fresh Perspective

It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you’re immersed in your own brand every day, all day long. A creative agency can provide much-needed perspective to guide or improve your strategy and, most importantly, fresh ideas to help you achieve your goals.

2) Expert Execution

A creative agency is a team of talented specialists who can both craft and execute your marketing strategies. From developers to designers, copywriters to data visualization experts, they have the knowledge and skills to produce content. They’re also immersed in this stuff day in, day out, so they know about best practices to follow, how to improve the user’s experience, what content works best for each platform, and how to get the most mileage out of the content you’re creating.

Pro tip: You always want to work with a creative agency with a proven track record. If you’re on the hunt, check out their case studies. (And if they don’t have any, run!)

3) Insider Knowledge

Sure, you know your brand inside and out, but how well do you know your industry? Your competitors? Trends in the marketplace? A creative agency works with a range of clients across industries. Thus, they have unique insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what surprising things can drastically improve your results. (Translation: You get to benefit from other brands’ big successes and major mistakes—without using your own brand as a guinea pig.)

Note: A good agency also endeavors to share their unique knowledge. Look for agencies that contribute to industry publications, or have an active blog, as they are more invested in helping others improve. (On that note, here are 100+ tools and resources to improve your content marketing.)

4) Connections & Creator Networks

One of the most common reasons to seek outside help is because your brand doesn’t have the knowledge, bandwidth, or resources to do the work that needs to be done. In addition to being well-rounded pros, an agency has an established network of expert creators. Whether you’re looking for a production house to film your latest video or a developer to code an interactive website, a creative agency either has the skills or the expert referral to get it done. (This is especially helpful if you’re looking for tough-to-locate specialty services.)

5) Speed

Many brands struggle to execute their strategies because they don’t have the infrastructure in place to handle production. This is understandable, as different types of content require different considerations—and there are a lot of moving parts. (It’s especially difficult to start if you’re totally new to content marketing.)

But an agency is a sophisticated machine accustomed to producing a variety of content, quickly and efficiently. They’re also aware of the common roadblocks, mistakes, or pitfalls that can sabotage production, so they can better navigate through them.

6) Quality

Quality, consistency, and cadence are crucial to a successful content marketing operation. Many brands struggle to meet at least one of these, if not all three. Again, with expertise and a solid infrastructure, a creative agency can produce quality content at a high volume.

They’re also invested in doing the best job possible because when you win, they win. Hence, they will work hard to find the best creative for your brand, even if that means saving you from yourself (aka disagreeing with you or fighting for an idea they really believe in). For example, when Microsoft asked us to create an infographic to promote the relaunch of Internet Explorer, we argued for a video concept instead—45 million views later, it turned out to be a viral hit.

7) A Scapegoat

This one may sound a little harsh, but we’re well aware of the way marketing works. Nobody wants to claim failure, but if you absolutely need to, you can always outsource blame. Of course, a good agency will work to avoid failure at all costs. But if things go awry, sure, go ahead and blame us if it saves your job. (Just take us with you if you’re moving on to your next gig.)

Ideally, A Creative Agency Is a Long-Term Relationship

Remember: Great work comes from a great relationship. When you’re considering a creative agency, you want to find one that is invested in your brand, in your success, and in creating great work together.