It’s a no-brainer that every company needs marketing in order to grow. Without marketing, even if you have a product or service that “sells itself,” your business success will only go as far as your salespeople and word of mouth can take you. For most businesses, it’s not far enough. They just don’t have the sales force to go out and dominate the marketplace.
It’s almost inevitable that businesses aiming to crush the competition and become the clear leader in their industry come to the realization that they need to ramp up their marketing efforts. That typically means either bringing in one or more employees to work in the in-house marketing department or hiring a marketing agency. There is also a third option, which is assigning marketing duties to current employees, like the office manager, for example. This option is chosen by companies more than you would think, but it’s not one that is recommended. Just because your office manager is active on Facebook doesn’t mean they’re qualified to handle your company’s social media marketing. Your method of expanding the marketing department should be driven by ROI and making money as opposed to simply saving money.
So, if your company needs to find a way to improve the marketing department this year, this is the article for you. Here’s a look at your options to help you decide if you should hire in-house or seek the assistance of a marketing company.
The primary advantage of hiring in-house is obvious — they’re on your team! When you make a hire, you’re getting a person or people who will be focusing on your company for 8 hours (or more) every day. They’ll be immersed in your company culture and learn all of the intricacies of your products and services. This will make it easier to align all of your marketing efforts because an in-house team will know the overall strategy better than an outside entity and be able to easily communicate to ensure consistency in the look, feel and messaging of every single marketing piece.
Areas that may make you think twice when it comes to hiring in-house include training/acclimation, diversity of skills and workload. With any new hire, there is that “honeymoon” period when you are learning about the new employee and they are learning about your company. It takes time to train new hires and get them up to full speed with their responsibilities. Because of this, it can be weeks or even months before the company starts getting the full ROI from a hire.
It’s also extremely unlikely that a single person can be a “do-it-all expert.” In today’s marketing world, there are too many moving parts and too many marketing channels to become an expert in every area. As a result, your business must either stick to one in-house hire who will wear a lot of hats (and gamble that they’ll be able to deliver the quality of work and results expected) or open the checkbook and hire multiple people to get the diverse skillsets needed. This decision will impact the workload of the people in the marketing department. The smaller the team, the greater the workload for everyone involved. Keep this in mind when it comes to developing your marketing strategy, setting deadlines, estimating turn times, etc.
Hiring a Marketing Agency
The alternative is to hire a marketing agency to assist with your business’s marketing needs. Before we take a closer look at this option, it’s important to first squash a common misconception that comes with hiring agencies — that agencies are a threat to current marketing department employees. While we can’t vouch for every marketing agency out there, we can say that the best ones aim to become valuable partners who work in conjunction with their clients’ marketing departments as opposed to replacing them. Collaboration is the best way to succeed. Here is what marketing agencies bring to the table:
Experienced, Diverse Skillsets
Marketing agencies employ specialists from a variety of areas like marketing strategy, graphic design, copywriting, web development, search engine optimization, printing and automation to name a few. (At Adventure Marketing Solutions, we call them our Crew of Experts.) In almost every case, these people combine to offer decades of marketing experience, and you get access to them all. A good agency will be able to provide expert knowledge and skills to meet any need. Agency clients come from a variety of industries, and each one presents unique challenges. Because of this, a marketing agency will be able to provide a strategic approach to your marketing needs that is backed by the experience of what worked best in similar situations.
Ability to Hit the Ground Running
As previously mentioned, it’s certainly not uncommon for marketing teams to have heavy workloads. This means making priority lists, which inevitably results in lower-priority items getting delayed or scrapped altogether and new ideas getting put on the back burner. With a marketing agency in your corner, you don’t have to. They provide the manpower and the means to complete your current projects faster so you can get your upcoming and new projects going sooner. As an added bonus, an agency — with its extensive team of experts — will progress through the “get to know you” phase faster and be able to work independently sooner than an in-house hire. Plus, there’s no training required!
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that your marketing may eventually start to get stale. That’s one of the obstacles that in-house marketing teams face. Marketing agencies provide a different point of view and can inject new life into your campaigns. They can help you discover new opportunities and provide tips and techniques to increase the effectiveness of your current efforts.
Which is More Affordable?
Now comes the big question that you (or your boss) will ask, “Which option is more affordable?” Price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing between hiring in-house or utilizing a marketing agency. However, it’s something that is at or near the top of everyone’s list.
Let’s take a hypothetical look at the breakdown of costs associated with hiring an in-house marketing “generalist”:
- Training – $2,000
- Continuing education – $2,500
- Software – $3,000
- Taxes – $3,800
- Benefits – $15,000
- Equipment – $1,000
- Miscellaneous – $1,000
That’s more than $28,000 — and it doesn’t include salary, which will vary based on your particular situation.
For the same total price, and sometimes less, a marketing agency will provide you with the knowledge and skills of all of the experts we touched on earlier:
- Marketing strategists
- Graphic designers
- Web/SEO pros
- Traditional marketing channel pros (printing, promotional products, tradeshow hardware)
- And many more
You may have noticed “continuing education” listed in the costs associated with in-house hiring and are wondering what that’s all about. Keep in mind, the marketing landscape is ever-changing, and it’s essential to keep up with the evolution. That will require you to devote time and resources to learn about whatever is new. However, marketing agencies — the good ones, at least — research and test the new technologies, tactics and channels so you don’t have to.
There you have it! Some important information to help you with your decision-making process. Think about your business’s marketing needs, and decide which option makes the most sense for your situation. Good luck!
Have additional questions about digital or traditional marketing or want to learn even more? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.