“Should I hire a marketing agency or an in-house marketing person?”
It’s a question we hear often and for a good reason. As you begin to strategize — and budget for — your marketing activities, deciding whether a new marketing hire should be an internal team member or an external agency can have a huge impact on the amount of time, money, and resources it will take to reach your goals.
There’s no definite wrong answer, and every business is different, but there are a few things you should consider. Laura Laire, our VP of Creative Strategy, breaks down the basics in this video:
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Employee
Let's dive into the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated in-house marketing employee to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals.
Marketing Employee Pros
- Dedication and alignment: An in-house marketing employee is exclusively dedicated to your company's marketing strategies. This alignment can lead to more personalized and consistent marketing efforts.
- Immediate access: Having an in-house employee means they are physically present within your organization, making instant communication and collaboration seamless.
- Adaptability: In-house employees can quickly adapt to changes in your marketing strategy, industry trends, and market shifts. Their proximity to your business allows them to respond promptly and effectively to evolving needs.
- Direct oversight: This level of control can be valuable when it comes to monitoring progress, setting priorities, and ensuring the alignment of marketing initiatives with broader business objectives.
Marketing Employee Cons
- Limited skill set: While an in-house employee may be skilled in certain areas of marketing, they might not possess a diverse range of expertise that an agency can offer. This limitation can impact the breadth and depth of your marketing strategies.
- Higher costs: Hiring an in-house employee involves more than just their salary. You need to consider benefits, office space, equipment, training, and other associated costs.
- Risk of turnover: In-house employees can decide to leave, potentially leaving gaps in your marketing efforts and requiring time and resources to find and train replacements. High turnover can disrupt marketing campaigns and consistency.
All in all, hiring an in-house marketing employee offers the benefit of deep alignment with your brand and immediate accessibility, but it also comes with the potential drawbacks of limited expertise, higher costs, and resource constraints.
Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Agency
Is hiring a marketing company worth it? To keep things on a positive note, let’s now discuss why an agency can be a valuable asset to your marketing initiatives. Key points, such as expertise and cost, are big reasons why businesses frequently partner with an agency.
Variety of Skills and Resources
Choosing to go with an agency means you’re getting access to more individuals and skill sets. No one person can be an expert on everything. Hiring a digital marketing agency that employs people with diverse sets of skills ensures all of your marketing needs are covered.
Are you planning on doing more in the digital marketing realm? If so, you need to have search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, web design, and several other areas covered. Hiring a marketing firm can help fill those gaps.
Agencies also have more resources that can benefit your campaign or project. Marketing firms are typically up to date with and have access to the latest in design and marketing software programs.
It’ll take a few in-house marketing hires to match the collective brainpower you'd get from an agency. And bringing on an equivalent marketing staff isn't always an option for smaller companies. If you can afford to hire a few people with different strengths, great! If you can’t, an agency might be in your best interests.
An agency allows your company's leaders to be "hands-off" compared to managing an in-house marketing team.
Once the agency knows what your mission and goals are, the team will handle the execution of the agreed-upon plan. You will still have ultimate control, but the agency experts will take the implementation work off of your plate.
An agency should work seamlessly with your team to fix any weaknesses and build on strengths. Remember, a win for you is a win for the marketing agency.
One of the primary reasons businesses opt to partner with an agency is cost-effectiveness. The numbers aren't exactly the same, but usually, a marketing agency is more cost-conservative than an internally hired employee or team.
When you combine salary, benefits, overhead, and administrative costs, you're spending much more than what an agency would cost you. You should also consider turnover at that position and the time required to hire and train a new person.
Working with an agency offers the consistency and stability you might be missing out on with an in-house approach.
Potential Downfalls of Hiring an Agency
Depending on your business, it may not make sense to hire a digital marketing agency. Your business may be growing perfectly fine using traditional marketing. Or, you may find that you don’t need extensive marketing tactics, and only one or two employees are sufficient to lead the charge.
If you’re wondering “Do I need a marketing agency?”, here are some things to be aware of.
Agencies Have Other Clients
Anyone you bring on in-house will devote all of their working hours to your business.
On the other hand, an agency has clients that need equal attention and have various deadlines to meet. While agencies want to give you their full attention, they are reliant on additional clients to stay profitable and employ the workforce they need.
Full-time employees are also more accessible — they're in your building, after all. This might be a major determining factor for a company, and if so, hiring an employee is the better way to go.
A reputable marketing agency will take the time to know everything about your business, but they can’t know your industry as well as you. A conversation needs to happen at some point in the process to make sure campaigns and goals are aligned.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions when you're just getting started with an agency. The agency will rely heavily on your knowledge base to ensure they’re staying on target.
That said, many agencies focus on specific industries after gaining experience with marketing companies within those niches.
How to Hire a Marketing Agency
Choosing to hire an agency can be a strategic decision for your business, but it requires careful planning and consideration. Here are the steps you should take to effectively hire a marketing company.
1. Define Your Goals and Budget
Clearly outline your marketing goals and objectives. Determine what you hope to achieve by hiring a marketing agency, whether it's increased brand awareness, lead generation, sales growth, or something else. Also, establish a budget that you're willing to allocate for your marketing efforts.
2. Research and Identify Potential Agencies
Look for marketing agencies that specialize in your industry or have experience with similar businesses, and review the services they offer. Some agencies have a focus in specific areas like social media, content marketing, or branding. Choose an agency that offers the services that are most relevant to your goals.
You can find agencies through online searches, recommendations from peers, industry events, and social media. Create a list of potential agencies that align with your goals and values.
3. Review Portfolios, Case Studies, and Testimonials
A reputable agency should have a portfolio showcasing its previous work and success stories. Look for case studies that demonstrate how they've helped other clients achieve their goals. This will give you insights into their capabilities and the results they can deliver.
Additionally, search for online reviews and testimonials from clients who have worked with the agency. This can provide you with insights into their strengths, communication style, and overall client satisfaction.
4. Contact Prospective Agencies and Assess Fit
Contact the agencies on your list via email, phone, or through a form on their website. Use this opportunity to ask questions, clarify any doubts, understand pricing, and gauge their level of expertise and professionalism.
A marketing agency will essentially become an extension of your team. It's important to ensure a good cultural fit and that their values align with those of your company. This will facilitate better communication and collaboration.
Also, be sure to clarify how the agency plans to communicate with you and how they will report on the progress and results of their efforts. Regular updates and transparent reporting are crucial for tracking the success of your marketing campaigns.
5. Sign on the Dotted Line
Once you've identified the agency you want to work with, negotiate the terms of the contract. Make sure the scope of work, payment structure, performance metrics, and any other relevant details are clearly outlined.
6. Monitor and Evaluate
Finally, once you've hired an agency, closely monitor their performance and the results of their campaigns. Regularly review the progress and communicate openly with the agency to make any necessary adjustments.
Ready to Hire a Marketing Expert?
Whether you want to hire a marketing team in-house or partner with a reputable agency, take your time to make an informed choice that aligns with your business goals and values.
You might even find that a combination of the two is what will work best for you. It’s not uncommon for businesses to have one or two internal marketing employees and also work with an agency. This ensures your employees are not overloaded and that all of the pieces in your marketing plan are carried out.
If you’re looking to hire someone to market your business, we want to help make your decision of agency vs employee easier. Schedule a free 20-minute call with our CEO and Co-Founder, Todd Laire, to discuss the right path for your company.