Marketing is a schizophrenic discipline. When clients search for an agency, they invariably ask the agency to provide examples of experience in their category or vertical market. They outright ask, "What do you know about our business?" So, it seems remarkably counter-intuitive that agency execs in their 50's and 60's would be undesirable - to hire as agency employees, or from a client POV, as your lead strategy and account management execs. What you really want to do when you hire an inbound marketing agency is to find one (or a team within that agency) led by a seasoned exec with contemporary skills. That's the right "ask" IMO.
Regardless of age, you need your agency lead to continually improve his/her skills and be an impassioned implementer of best practices. But in today's world of dramatically reduced staffing and budgets, you also desperately need to rely on their experience and judgment. And how many 23- to 28-year-olds have depth of experience? They are creative, imaginative, energetic, talented, and more. But they haven't seen it all and often cannot "see around corners." My strongest recommendation to CEOs who directly manage marketing, as well as field marketing execs at larger organizations, is to hire an agency on the basis of talent and experience. Decades of experience, combined with contemporary skills make for a powerful combination. We often look for talented, early career marketing people to round out our teams, but we always, always, lead from our most experienced hands. You, dear client, don't want to make the mistakes that can be avoided by not repeating history.
But you also need your agency to be up-to-date on marketing best practices. Ever searching for new ways to make your marketing budget work harder, smarter and more accountable. That's the rare combination that we offer and recommend you seek out (from us or others). We are constantly "sharpening the saw," and bringing B2B best practices and ideas to bear for our clients' benefit. We are remarkably current on marketing technology, automation, inbound marketing, functional Website development and more.
When I say current on marketing technology, I mean it. We're VARs for HubSpot, a leading marketing automation solution. We've built programs for other platforms, including Eloqua. And I personally still design aspects of operational Websites (vs brochureware) and can debug with the best of them, harking back to my early career as a programmer and systems engineer at IBM.
So hire us or another gray-hair-led agency that embraces the state-of-the-art in B2B marketing. You will be so very glad you did.
There's a great article in the New York Times about innovators improving with age. It might seem counter-intuitive, but research shows that the most powerful and enduring ideas come from those with more life experience. You can read it at this link: http://nyti.ms/YkxEkm