Often, SMBs find it hard to decide whether to hire a marketing professional or search for a marketing agency. The decision can be influenced by various factors including budget, office dynamics, and skills required. It is nearly always a difficult decision, however, because there are many pros and cons to both solutions. This article outlines the pros and cons of both hiring a marketer and sourcing a marketing agency.
Let’s first of all look at marketing agencies, who they are, what they do, and what they can and can’t do for you.
According to HubSpot a marketing agency: “A marketing agency offers a broad range of services to help you implement an integrated marketing strategy for all your brand goals.”
Which, essentially, means that a marketing agency is there to help you with any strand of your marketing needs to help you grow your business, direct sales, and work on your brand. A company might use a marketing agency for one aspect of their marketing or they might employ an agency for their overall marketing strategy.
There are marketing agencies of all shapes and sizes. From huge, international agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy Group to smaller, independent agencies like ourselves, there’s a huge variety to choose from. Depending on the size of your own business and your needs and requirements, different agencies suit different businesses. If you have made the decision to go for a marketing agency, have a look at who’s available (and never just go for the cheapest option!).
Right, so now we know who and what marketing agencies are. What are the pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing to an agency?
Marketing agencies are always up to date
Marketing agencies are always up to date with the latest industry trends and updates (or at least they absolutely should be) which means you know that you are always going to get the most up to date advice and service. Especially in the digital world, things are always changing and in order to make the most of your marketing budget it is so important to keep up to date and adjust your strategy accordingly.
They have the best tools
Marketing agencies are likely to have use of multiple (often quite expensive) marketing tools that they can use to help implement more effective marketing strategies into your business. If you were to invest in multiple tools yourself, it would cost your company quite a lot of money.
Agencies have the specialist knowledge you need
Agencies have multiple people with a multitude of specialist knowledge to help you make the most of your marketing strategy and budget. This means that no matter what your challenges are, a marketing agency can help with the best possible solutions.
And they have the creativity
As well as specialist knowledge, they also have a wealth of creative ideas, with multiple minds working together to come up with the best strategy for you and your business. With most agencies working in multiple different industries, the creative juices are always flowing.
Now for the cons…
There are however some slight downfalls to hiring an agency. Firstly, they aren’t right next to you so if you want something changed immediately this can sometimes be an issue. Obviously, a good agency should get back to you as quickly as possible but having that middle man can sometimes be a bit of a pain. Any good marketing agency should respond quickly and efficiently to all clients, however, so this shouldn’t be a huge issue for most.
The other slight issue with an agency is that they won’t necessarily have extensive industry knowledge. Due to the fact that they work with a range of people in a range of industries, it’s evident that the industry specific knowledge your agency has will be slightly limited compared so somebody who lives and breaths the company. This, however, should not impact campaigns if the agency is thorough enough with their research and dedicated enough to learning about the company they are working for.
Hiring an internal marketing professional
You now know what a marketing agency is, what they do, and the benefits of outsourcing your marketing to an agency. As for the alternative, then, a marketing team, what are your options and what are your pros and cons?
They know everything about the company
An inhouse marketer is there to live and breathe the company and can then reflect the values and message into your marketing. This is a great advantage and can be an extremely beneficial reason to hire an internal marketing professional.
They are fully focused on you
Also, an inhouse marketing professional’s soul job is to market your business. In an agency, marketers may be working on various parts of various products, but an in-house marketer will only have once focus.
This, of course, has its disadvantages too. It’s easy to run out of steam and creativity if there’s only a small team of people working on your marketing, and it can be quite easy to get stuck into bad habits with a small inhouse team.
So, is a marketing agency or a marketing professional best for you?
This depends on your needs and requirements, you might even want both! Often hiring a marketing professional, who can then outsource some of your marketing to specialist agencies is a great idea. This means that they can oversee everything that goes on, reaping those benefits of an in-house marketing professional but also getting that specialist knowledge from a marketing agency.