Industry Insights SMEs Marketing

3 reasons small businesses need marketing agencies now more than ever

By Rob Wade, head of brand activation



Promoted article

September 13, 2021 | 4 min read

Sponsored by:

What's this?

Sponsored content is created for and in partnership with an advertiser and produced by the Drum Studios team.

Find out more

I spent over 20 years working at marketing agencies, wondering what clients and prospects wanted. Now that I’m at CallRail, I know (because we asked).

blue white house

Despite the pandemic, small business owners plan to keep investing in marketing

Analyzing the responses to our survey of 600 US-based small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across industries, we confirmed what most suspected: the pandemic forever changed business as we knew it. But we didn’t expect so much of the news to be good.

For marketing agencies, the news is better than good.

Among your current and potential clients, 33% said the pandemic did not affect their business. 11% actually grew their businesses during lockdown. And 80% say they’ve fully recovered, they’re ready to spend more – and they’d rather leave the marketing to you.

Here are three findings your agency can use to grow its business.

1. 96% of SMBs are willing to pay agencies more for consultative services

The market opportunity for marketing agencies can’t be overstated. A whopping 96% of respondents say they would be willing to pay agencies for additional services to improve their business outside of marketing – such as customer service workshops, sales training or brand coaching.

If your agency’s already expanded your scope of services, you’re in luck. If not, you should consider new offerings that are logical extensions of those you already deliver.

Listen to your clients to better understand what they need beyond what you offer (marketing analytics tools such as Conversation Intelligence can make this easier by automatically transcribing calls and using AI to surface insights). Then test new services that align with demand and expand existing capabilities.

2. SMBs with agencies didn’t just weather the pandemic – they grew

As businesses scrambled to cut back during the pandemic, those without marketing agencies paid a price. SMB owners with agencies were 82% more likely to say that they grew their business during the pandemic.

But that’s not all.

Although only 11% of the SMB owners we talked to currently work with a marketing agency, 45% of DIY marketers say they’re likely to hire one in the future.

3. SMB owners would rather leave the marketing to someone else (like your agency)

Almost 50% of small business owners say that they do all of their own marketing, and they spend an average of 20 hours a week doing it. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? 74% of our survey respondents agree – they’d rather focus on ‘primary business responsibilities’, such as spending time with customers and helping staff exceed expectations.

They wear ill-fitting marketing hats because they know their marketing presence is important, not because they want to.

What’s more, 93% of SMBs who hired an internal marketer said they’d probably still engage an external agency. 67% who hired an internal marketer wish they’d just hired an agency instead.

That’s where your agency comes in. Your team’s not just good at marketing; they enjoy it. And by relieving the marketing burden from business owners – updating websites, creating content, launching ad campaigns – you give them back time and energy to focus on customer service, satisfaction and retention.

You can also tell prospective clients that 100% of SMBs who hired agencies say their investment has already paid off.

There’s never been a better time to own a marketing agency

The secret’s out: despite the pandemic, small business owners plan to keep investing in marketing and agency partners who can help them shift their focus to growing their businesses.

There’s a lot more you can learn from our survey – 28 pages more. Dig deeper by downloading the full report, Clients tell all: What small businesses need from marketing agencies today

Industry Insights SMEs Marketing

Content by The Drum Network member:


More than 175,000 businesses trust the CallRail marketing platform to help them market smarter, drive more quality leads, and turn them into customers.

Find out more

More from Industry Insights

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +