So imagine you are sitting in your office, thinking about your marketing, and you are trying to decide the best road to go down. Many questions run through your head: Do we need a couple of people? Do we need managerial experience? Do we have the time to train and nurture a graduate? What types of marketing do we even want to try? The questions go on and on.
Now, a lot of businesses have a fair idea of what they want to achieve through marketing, and as such, they have an idea of the type of person they want managing their activities. But most companies we talk to find that they haven’t explored all possible options, and we usually discover that it is because there is a fear associated with going down the agency route.
Here we take a look at the different factors to consider when deciding to employ an in-house marketing person, or choosing an integrated marketing agency to manage your activities.
This goes back to the first set of questions you will have asked yourself. Does the person need managerial experience, or do we want to train and nurture a marketing graduate? Just these basic questions will give you an idea of whether you need someone with experience of marketing in-practice, or marketing on paper, and whether you would be comfortable to let someone else get on with it.
Now think again, do you want someone with a specific marketing skill set e.g email marketing speciality. Or, do you want an all-rounder, who will take a crack at all things marketing?
Generally speaking you will find a person to fit the bill, and who will tick all the boxes, but what if your marketing needs develop? One of the issues with the marketing world is that it is always evolving and adapting, which means that going down an agency route gives you access to a variety of individuals with a wide range of skills. Agency marketing brings a diversity to the table, which can sometimes eclipse the skill set of an in-house marketing team.
A lot of business professionals that we have spoken with fully expect agency marketing to come with a hefty price tag, and we’ll be honest, sometimes it does. But, a. not all marketing agencies charge the earth, moon and stars for an integrated service, and b. those that do, probably do because the results they plan to deliver will be pretty extraordinary. Having a lot of high calibre marketers, designers, developers and strategists in one place is expensive – but it can also pay dividends to you as a business. It’s all about risk, and whether you have the capital to take that risk.
A point you must consider is that the price you will pay for a typical marketing assistant, can also buy you a marketing package at a respectable agency. Budget is just one factor to consider amongst many. If you can afford an agency, but want to work closely with someone in-house, the sensible option would be to stay in-house and develop your marketing efforts that way. If you have the budget but don’t have the time to spend developing, then outsource and see the benefits of your buck without having to lift a finger. As we said, it’s about a number of factors, all of which need to be considered.
As we touched on before, marketing agencies employ experts from all industries and all walks of life – meaning that the creativity levels are generally pretty high. Sometimes when you employ a marketing assistant, or a small marketing team, creativity can become stagnant, because it is hard to drum up new and innovative ideas for the same product over and over again.
The perk of outsourcing is that you get fresh eyes on it, with fresh ideas, and you get creative decisions made based on a backlog of industry experience.
This is the deciding factor for most businesses that sit on the ‘in-house/outsource fence’ – control. Will we have enough control if we outsource to an agency? Will the agency be able to liaise with our other departments effectively? These are valid questions too, and important for making the most of your marketing efforts. After all, it’s pointless trying to successfully market a product if you are not listening to the feedback from the guys who go out there and sell it, or without listening to the sales team’s latest product push requests for the month.
Remember, those that have worked in marketing agencies, have also worked in-house and understand the complexities of a corporate environment. And as such, many marketing agencies are happy to liaise via email/phone/messenger with all the relevant departments as they would if they worked in the office next to you. But control is an understandable barrier – for example, if you go next door and ask someone to rustle you up a graphic real quick, odds are they’ll do it. If you have to call up your agency, it can take a little longer due to their other client commitments. It all depends on the needs of your business.
What have your experiences been of in-house or agency marketing? Let us know in the comments.