Take Agency; Hire an Agency! How to Know when it’s Time to Bring in the Experts
Andrew Tuzson – Chief Executive Officer
This question comes up a lot, especially in mid-sized businesses: when do I spend the dough and hire a team to take care of our marketing needs? It’s a tough question to answer, and honestly it varies depending on industry, the size of your company, and your reasons behind making the change. If you want to hire an agency, but you don’t have any clearly defined goals, take some time to think about why you’re doing this. Do you want to increase sales? Looking to gather data about your consumer base? Maybe you’re just tired of personally creating the content for your website or social media pages and don’t wanna f*%king do it anymore. Those are all perfectly acceptable reasons to outsource your marketing; however, different tasks and goals will require differing levels of effort. Should you hire one or two internal people, or bring on a full team of experts to handle the sitch? We’ll explore that answer a little more in depth
Okay, there’s a few things we need to discuss. First, what should a marketing team even accomplish? I mean, there’s approximately eight MILLION articles about how to improve your marketing strategy; but like, what even is that, you know? Well, you don’t know. That’s why you’re here. We know though! That’s what we do! Let us explain a bit.
What should a marketing team accomplish?
It’s a pretty loaded question, to be honest. Basically, a marketing team should accomplish whatever it takes to promote your business’ services to the intended target market. The list of tasks could include SEO and backlinking, website development and updates, content creation for online platforms, graphic design, copywriting, video production, public relations and outreach work, event planning, automation marketing, data collection, or printing and sending direct mailers, just to name a few. That list doesn’t even include all the trends, tech, and other “T” words you’ll want to explore to run a successful campaign. And even THAT list wouldn’t include all the other things you’ll need to think about which DON’T start with “T”! Basically, there’s a ton of sh*t to remember on top of your already stressful job, and sometimes you just get a case of the Mondays in the middle of the week and have a hard time coming up with three decent words that start with “T”. Of course, that could also just be me… Moving on.
Shouldn’t I just hire internally?
Maybe. That’s a super beneficial practice for lots of small to mid-sized companies. An internal marketer or two can make great additions to any team. They’re right in your office, so they’re easy to contact. Plus, they’re often invaluable resources when it comes to finding new ways to spread the news about your services. They’ll be able to dedicate plenty of time to getting to know your business and industry as well as what sets you apart from the competition.
There are plenty of benefits to hiring internally; however, you should be aware of the downsides. Most obviously, hiring one or two internal marketers often just isn’t enough. Even with two people, that list of marketing services we talked about is extensive and will likely overwhelm a smaller team. People will get spread very thinly, VERY quickly. If your needs are small or you’re just starting out, hiring an internal marketer can be a smart solution to a not-so-giant problem, but if you’ve been experiencing lots of growth or want to start a larger, more intense project, you may want to think about bringing on an external team.
Internal marketing teams also tend to be more expensive than hiring externally because they’re your employees. That means training, benefits, sick days, raises, vacation days, and salaries are all dependent on you. Internal teams can get exponentially pricier the more people you add, as well. For example, a quick Google search for “marketing strategist salary” shows numbers ranging from $49,000 to $99,000 depending on experience. Even paying $3,000/month to an agency will put your expenses well below the low end of that range over the course of a year, and that’s just a base salary!
Benefits of hiring external marketing
Hiring an external agency to work on your marketing strategy can be one of the best ways to create online traffic and boost the amount of viable leads you’re generating (not to mention the dolla dolla bills, y’all). There are tons of reasons for this, but we’ll start with what we’ll call the Significant Seven. They’re the seven most significant benefits an external marketing agency can add to your marketing efforts, in case you didn’t get that.
The Significant Seven
1. Agencies are built for efficiency. Most agencies have processes in place which streamline their work, making it easier for them to complete large projects in smaller amounts of time. This is infinitely faster than a new employee trying to set up processes within your own office to create a successful workflow, and it won’t disrupt your day-to-day operations. There’s less micromanaging and more freedom involved with hiring an agency.
2. You’ll gain access to multiple experts. We mentioned earlier that one internal marketer can get easily stressed due to the endless tasks that get piled on their plate. This isn’t true at agencies. Having a larger team means individual people won’t be stretched as thinly and, therefore, have the ability to produce higher-quality work at a faster rate. Plus, you’re not getting a one trick pony. Agencies employ copywriters, designers, developers, SEO specialists, and social media managers among many others to ensure the people working on your project know exactly what they’re doing; whereas, an internal marketing staff member may only have one or two of those strengths.
3. Skip the training time. The time it takes to familiarize a new employee with your brand, your business practices, your staff, their new desk, your current marketing efforts, and the location of the nearest potty could take weeks, even months, of time which could’ve been spent producing sick, quality sh*t. Because the agency you work with won’t actually show up at your office, you won’t have to spend Friday afternoons playing the name game to ensure everyone remembers the new kid. You’ll probably have one or two meetings with an agency at the beginning of your project to explain who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart in your industry, then they’ll be off to the races. After that, it’s as easy as a phone call or email to mobilize an entire team of people!
4. Short term projects become easier. Sometimes, sh*t happens. Say you forgot you need a new brochure for an expo, or need a sign-up page built into your website for an event in the next day… yikes. With one or two internal professionals, that could potentially mean wasting the better part of a week trying to rush through a project, or, even worse, paying for overtime to get it done. When you use an agency, short term projects become easier because of the experience of the individuals you’re working with and the extensive resources they have available. Agencies are often able to produce in hours what could take an individual a week to complete.
5. Outsiders have a fresher perspective. New employees often spend so much time figuring out how you do do things that they rarely look at how you’re not doing things. Because of this, they can end up running your marketing operation the same way it has been run, and that’s not why you hired someone! Hiring an external agency can be the easiest way to spot areas for growth and opportunity because they have a new perspective on your processes. They have the experience to know what works and what doesn’t and can show you how to change for the better.
6. Honesty. This is going to sound harsh, but that’s just how it has to be. Agencies will tell you when your bad idea is bad. Sometimes, people have bad ideas, and that’s okay! We won’t shame you for them, but we will let you know what is and is not in the best interests of your business. That’s because, at the end of the day, our clients aren’t our “bosses” persay. With an internal employee, he or she may be afraid to truly speak their mind to the big boss because that’s the person who signs the checks. At an agency, we realize you hired us for a reason, so we’re not going to let you waste your money on something which won’t increase your ROI.
7. Agencies expand the possibilities of creativity. Because they hire individuals for specific reasons, you’re likely to get more innovative, creative work out of an agency than an individual internal staff member. More minds are better than one, and when a group of creative people get together, ideas are easy to come by. A single person, unfortunately, only gets to access their single brain and their singular set of skills. The originality and artistry that come out of an agency can hardly be held to the same standard as the work of a single individual. It would be like eight people fighting one person which is rude and against the fourth rule of Fight Club.
For F*%k’s sake, Don’t DIY This
As a business owner, you’re likely a DIY type of person. A willingness to go the extra mile and put in work is what got you where you are! That’s awesome, we applaud you. Sometimes, though, it’s important to recognize where your strengths and lie and where they don’t. That’s why we had to include this PSA: do not attempt to run your marketing department alone! You already founded a business. There’s not enough hours in the day for you to finish your daily tasks AND run a successful marketing campaign on multiple fronts. Please, don’t do it. We can’t bear to watch you put yourself through that kind of trauma.
Right. That being said, there’s a good chance you need a marketing team if you’re reading this. If you’re still on the fence, take some time to soul-search for your business and figure out what goals you want to meet in 2018. Then, ask not what your marketing efforts can do for you; ask what you can do for your marketing efforts. (Now, answer yourself by saying, “I could hire Evol Empire Creative.” Give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve done well. Here’s our phone number: (402) 318-5741. Talk to you soon!)