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Should I Hire a Marketing Agency or Staff Internally?

One of the most challenging tasks for a small business owner is to figure out when to hire help—especially for marketing. Giving marketing duties to one or two employees could sometimes make sense. After all, you want to make the most of the resources and staff you already have on payroll. You may think, “why pay someone externally to post on social media, write your blogs, and update your website when you have someone on the payroll who has the time to complete these tasks.” Does it make sense to hire a marketing agency?

If one of your employees can manage your marketing well, by all means, give them the responsibility. They already know your company inside and out. But be careful about who you put in charge. Poorly managed marketing can be worse than none at all. Consider the following points before assigning your marketing tasks to in-house personnel.

A marketing agency provides access to a wide range of expertise and talent.

Marketing agencies hire teams of experts who have built careers on specific skills. They are trained in disciplines such as writing, design, social media, video, photography, and web development. And at least three or four of these creatives contribute to nearly every project an agency produces.

It’s rare for anyone to hone all the skills needed to manage a marketing campaign. Of course, a writer can pick up photography skills, and a photographer may become interested in video production. But few know how to operate a website, write persuasive copy, take photos, edit video, and manage social media—all at a professional level. That’s why you need to hire an entire crew.

Plus, marketing involves more than skill. It requires knowledge. A good marketing team understands copyright law and how to avoid costly legal mistakes. They also understand the rules for individual social media platforms so they don’t jeopardize their clients’ accounts.

Anyone who runs a marketing campaign without a comprehensive understanding of law and social media regulations risks serious repercussions—even legal action.

an agency works with many different clients.

One of an agency’s most significant assets is its experience with a wide range of clients and campaigns. Its team has most likely developed print and digital projects for companies big and small, and it has seen which strategies work and which leave audiences apathetic. For example, if you want to target female customers in their 60s, a marketing agency will know from experience that you should focus your social media efforts on Facebook and skip most (if not all) other platforms.

So, when you consider in-house marketing, think about how much that experience might benefit your company. Maybe you’ve hired a person who has worked in marketing for decades and has already produced various types of campaigns. But if not, you risk wasting time and money on poor content that a seasoned marketing team would avoid.

An agency gets paid by the project.

Cost is always a concern, and an agency’s bill could give a small business owner pause. But compare that bill to a salary and benefits package.

When you contract an agency, you hire it by the job. The agency’s team will only charge for the time its staff works on your projects and no more. You can pay for a brochure, a website, or a blog post, and then you’re done.

Yet, you’re committed to a yearly salary when a staff member controls your marketing. That’s a fixed cost no matter how much content that person produces. Plus, if you run into cash flow issues, you may be faced with laying off a staff member versus cutting back on a marketing agency’s project load.

A marketing agency can share marketing responsibilities with someone in your company.

In our experience, the best marketing situation for almost any small business involves a blend of in-house and outsourced work. If you have the resources, hire an employee with at least some of the advertising skills you need. Then, contract a marketing agency to shore up their talents.

In this scenario, your staff member will act as a brand advocate and liaison between your company and the agency. They will ensure the hired creative team has everything it needs to produce quality work for your business. This way, you get the best of both worlds.

So, if you’re asking whether to keep your marketing inside your company or hire out, the answer is do both if you can.


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Socially Present has been building brands and telling stories for companies large and small with and without internal marketing talent since 2012.  To schedule a consultation fill out our contact form or call 270-908-4041.