We’re entering into a new year, and chances are good that you’re thinking of new brand strategies and initiatives moving forward. One of the biggest decisions you’ll make is whether or not to outsource your advertising efforts or manage your marketing in-house. But are there benefits with a marketing firm over in-house? Or is it the other way around?
On its face, the decision seems easy. Use your own team or creative genius and save time. After all, you know you company’s values, goals, and strengths better than anyone. You know your audience, and you’re pretty good at engaging on social media. Besides, hiring a marketing firm from outside can be expensive, and you’ll have to start from zero to bring them up to speed. That will take more time, which means more money, right?
Not so fast.
While there are pros and cons of each option, which you choose should depend on more than just what’s most cost-effective or expedient.
In-House Marketing: Pros and Cons
There’s no doubt that it’s handy to have a dedicated marketing team tucked snugly into an office suite at your place of business. There are fewer opportunities to play phone tag, they already know your brand and fit into your corporate culture. Besides, they have a vested interest in crafting results-oriented brand strategies if they want to keep their job.
Costs can be lower with an in-house team because there’s no markup. What you save can be reinvested in acquiring new technologies and attracting the best talent. You’ll also gain more control over the process and increase productivity because an in-house marketing team only has one client.
What you lose when you choose an in-house marketing expert is expertise. Professional marketers only do one thing, market companies. They may not know your brand as well as you do, but they do keep up with changing trends and best practices that company employees may not know about. Although they have a whole roster of clients to satisfy, this sometimes creates economies of scale with regards to resources, networks, and knowledge.
They may not be able to dedicate 100 percent of their energy on you, but they are able to put 100 percent of their efforts toward creating an effective brand strategy. You’ll avoid the cost and headaches of hiring, training, and monitoring your marketing staff. You’re also not stuck with an employee who doesn’t work out when you choose an outside agency.
However, those aren’t the only advantages of outsourcing your marketing.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
Outside marketing firms have some of the same concerns as an in-house marketing team. They have to worry about losing a client if their efforts don’t pan out. They also have to work on deadlines and within a budget.
However, there are quite a few advantages that can override the negatives and make this a viable option, especially for smaller companies that don’t have the room or resources to support a full-time, in-house team.
Unless you have the deep pockets of a brand like Nike or Coca Cola, you’re taking a chance on an in-house marketing manager. If you’re using someone already on staff who doesn’t specialize in marketing, especially all of the digital marketing options, there’s a good chance that they don’t have the experience to use them to your best advantage.
Because marketers specialize in nothing but various marketing platforms, technologies, and trends, there’s less risk involved in turning your marketing strategy over to the professionals.
Focus and Flexibility
While it’s true that marketing firms rarely have only one client, they still focus on only one thing. This provides your brand with the benefits of industry experience coupled with the flexibility to pivot, test, and try new things. If you choose wisely, you can find a marketing firm that’s experienced with similar companies in your industry, already has the right tools and technologies in place, and has a broad network or people, skills, and knowledge to draw upon.
Time and Money Savings
There can be a world of difference between paying a fee for a marketing agency and the cost of an on-going salary + benefits and training for an in-house marketing expert. If you add in support personnel, that expense is multiplied for each additional staff member.
The average median income for a marketing manager is $141,490 per year. Social media managers will add another $50,000 to your payroll, plus another $40,000 each, at minimum, if you you need to add content strategists and associates.
Then, there’s the cost of acquiring new tools and technologies to manage each plank in your platform. You’ll need to pay for web hosting, web design, and applications to manage SEO, social media engagement, and content creation.
By contrast, marketing firms charge by the job or apply a relatively small retainer fee for ongoing collaborations. Currently, that cost is between $1,000 – $10,000 per month, a far cry from an annual salary.
You may know your company better than anyone, but marketing specialists know marketing. The kind of objectivity you’ll get with an outside agency allows big-picture planning that isn’t colored by sentimentality. They’ll be able to look at your company with fresh eyes and apply deep knowledge of what works to leverage your strengths.
When you have an in-house team, scaling down means layoffs or shorter hours. Because they have the tools and the know-how, they can ramp any component of your brand strategy up or down as needed, and they can do it faster and more affordably. For example, they can increase the efforts on social media platforms that are getting results and put fewer resources into those that don’t.
The best thing about outsourcing is the freedom it gives you to focus on critical business decisions that effect growth and profitability. When you’re ready to work with a team of digital marketing experts, the team at Level343 is waiting to talk to you about your brand.