How to know when to bypass your IT department and hire a digital agency

Posted by Tracy Parks on February 27, 2018
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The e-commerce industry moves at lightening speed. So keeping up with rapidly changing trends or last-minute marketing strategy updates is crucial. But, how do you accomplish this when, like many companies, your IT department is overwhelmed, overworked, or experiencing the ever-common ‘code freeze’?  

Most e-commerce companies face this dilemma at some point. Many face it on a regular basis. But a good digital marketing agency can come in with quick and easy solutions so that you can bypass your IT team and still implement your digital strategy without losing any time (or revenue).

Hiring an outside agency vs. using your own IT team

IT departments tend to concentrate most of their efforts on far-reaching, long-term goals for websites. That is what they excel at; it’s their bread and butter, so to speak. But life – or, in this case, sales and conversions – happens while you are busy making other plans, so it’s often a challenge for e-commerce sites to focus on these long-term goals while also making frequent optimizations and updates to their site so they stay competitive.

IT departments, therefore, don’t often have the time, resources, or buy-in to prioritize short-term updates. But, it’s these short-term wins that can lead to long-term gains in KPIs and revenue, so it’s worth it not to ignore.

Here’s where a digital agency steps in… An agency that knows how to optimize your site, improve your UX, and run tests can update your current website even if your IT is bogged down with implementing your future site.

How do you know it’s time to hire a digital agency?

Promotional sales, new marketing strategies, or even new site functionality testing are what digital agencies are made for. In many cases, an agency can take on the projects that your IT department is simply too over-loaded to prioritize.

Here are a few scenarios that indicate it’s time to hire an outside agency:

  • If your IT department is in the midst of a “code freeze” and unable to make any meaningful changes or optimizations to your website.
  • If you need to make rapid, agile changes to your digital strategy.
  • If you’re interested in testing (hint: if you’re not, you should be!). Running tests (either A/B or multivariate) on your site will give you meaningful insights about your users that you can then use to drive a smarter marketing strategy and see bigger conversions.
  • If this sounds familiar: “we don’t have enough time,” “there aren’t enough resources,” or “it’s too expensive.” If your IT department is stretched thin, either in budget, bandwidth, or manpower, then an agency is your best option.

In these cases, and others, it makes much more sense to let your internal teams worry about the long-term goals and allow an agency to implement the short-term ones.

What will a digital agency do for you?

Digital marketing agencies employ experts who are experienced in tackling small or large projects… and quickly. They supply you with meaningful data so that you can make better, more informed decisions about your business/website. Most agencies will have a project manager to take care of all the headaches (i.e. planning, deadlines, strategy, tech stuff) for you and make sure that your vision for your site is completed and aligned with your KPIs.

Here’s an example of a common “quick fix” scenario we see fairly often:

You find a minor bug on your website when viewed in IE (it’s always in IE, isn’t it?). Your IT team will likely put that into a “bug fix” queue that they will get to… eventually. Your IT has their own priority work and code-push scheduling, so, surprise surprise, your ticket gets pushed to the bottom of the list. You might be even more frustrated since your CEO loves viewing the website in IE and will hold you or your department accountable for the bug. Here’s a great opportunity for an agency to help fill the gaps in code pushes that IT just can’t get to.

So, for the most part, anything that your IT department can do with your website, an agency can do as well.

*However, you should be aware that, generally, agencies can’t affect the backend of your site. Databases and integrations with certain APIs are usually handled exclusively by your IT, and, honestly, that’s a good thing… No one wants a third party vendor mucking about in company-sensitive records, even if the agency is 100% trust worthy. It alleviates responsibility should something go wrong (your database got wiped? Guarantee it wasn’t that agency you pulled in to complete that site marketing assignment your CMO handed you. See what I mean?)

The takeaway:

IT departments are wonderful at maintaining and upgrading your website, but they can be painfully slow at completing tasks or prioritizing time-sensitive campaigns that you want to launch. Digital marketing agencies are well equipped to handle these rapid assignments and get things done timely and effectively so that your site can stay current, relevant, and optimized for maximum conversions, sales, and engagement. If you're interested in learning more about how a well-equiped digital marketing agency could help relieve your IT headaches, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at

Topics: Test and Optimization, Digital and Media Marketing, CTA, targeting, analytics, data, Optimization Tools, User Experience, E-Commerce, Optimization

Written by Tracy Parks