Over the past two years, since the beginning of the pandemic, companies have come to me seeking information to help them decide whether it made the most sense for them to hire an internal marketing person who could manage their marketing or an agency like mine that would handle all aspects of the work – but outside of their organization.
As I worked to identify what is best for these folks, it became clear that there are some clear differences and decision points that help companies determine the best route for them in terms of marketing support.
Where once the focus may have been on bringing people in as employees, the changing realities of the workforce, including the “great Resignation,” the need for teams to be remote due to COVID concerns, and changing needs for digital transformations have led to a shift towards contract work.
This shift offers organizations cost savings, greater flexibility, and the ability to stay at the cutting edge of new digital marketing trends. The challenge for some includes the desire to have a complete focus on their business and an unwillingness to change traditional ideas around their workforce.
At AOU Creative Group, we work with businesses ready to create success in the digital space, while offering data science integration and tracking for every campaign and access to traditional marketing tools such as radio, television, and print.
Our team of highly educated (most with advanced or finial degrees) offers our clients highly skilled talent across a range of marketing areas. As specialists in paid ads, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, copywriting, and web design our team can assist organizations across all of their marketing needs.
Below we discuss the costs and benefits associated with hiring an internal marketing team versus a contract agency.
The pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing
There are many reasons to hire an outsourced team to handle your marketing needs including the ability to access a range of experienced skills without having to pay individually for each one. Of course, as with anything, there are also cons to making this decision.
The pros of outsourcing
- Agency team members work across multiple marketing platforms. This allows for a broad cross-section of experience. In an agency environment, team members lean on peers with diverse expertise that can lead to approaching a problem with a unique view and perspective.
- Agencies are paid to perform and be accountable for results. If you aren’t happy with the relationship, you can source something new and leverage return on investment as a basis of the relationship. Campaigns can be tracked and decisions can be made quickly based on data analysis.
- Agencies must be on the bleeding edge of process, technology, and tactics.
- The agency relationship can provide business leaders with more time to focus on the business where they are best suited and be free to manage internal and operational opportunities. An agency can not only handle implementation but the management and creation of your strategic plan.
- Costs are saved as an agency is able to provide a wide range of services for the same cost as an employee salary, but with higher skill levels. With a contracted agency, you can receive work from highly educated and certified experts in their individual craft (copywriting, SEO/SEM, PR, paid ads, graphic design, and web design) rather than one generalist.
The cons of outsourcing your marketing
- An agency will work with several clients at a time. Though your organization will be assigned to one professional copywriter, the SEO/SEM, PR, and advertising teams will be assigned several clients at a time.
- Great agencies don’t want to be order-takers and will support what they believe to be the right solution for your brand, even if that conflicts with your thoughts.
- If you don’t hire the right agency, you could be faced with a product that doesn’t meet your expectations, and it can be a costly fix.
Pros & cons of hiring an internal marketing manager
Hiring an internal employee can also have benefits and challenges for an organization. In general terms, costs tend to be higher with an internal employee, though the level of loyalty may feel higher. In addition, some organizations prefer the internal model as it offers a greater ability to control the actions of the marketing manager.
The pros of hiring an internal marketing manager
- You get the perks of having immediate access to a marketer who was hired to execute a strong business and strategic plan your company has developed.
- Having your own in-house marketing team means that work can fly out the door as needed, with your staff on-call whenever you need them. With an agency, this work-on-demand may come at an extra cost or time period.
The cons of hiring an internal marketing manager
- It can take hours of training to get a new employee up to speed. As a business owner or HR executive, you’re also responsible for managing, disciplining, and promoting this employee, and that takes a lot of time and resources
- If you run a growing business, you need a marketing manager who can do it all. But hiring someone with a high level of graphic design, web design, strategic planning, social media, public speaking, video, and content writing skills is very difficult. Even if you find a candidate with these skills, you’ll need to pay them a generous salary for their expertise.
- If you only hire one marketer for the entire organization, even an experienced manager will take hours to complete a task that an agency can do much more quickly.
- Marketing consulting firms give you more of your time back. If you want a hands-off approach to marketing where the experts handle the hard work and you reap the benefits, a marketing agency is the better choice. And if a team member leaves, the agency has the resources and personnel to quickly fill their shoes and avoid any potential roadblocks.
- Marketing agencies work on a contract basis. You may need to sign an annual agreement to lock your marketing in place for the next year, but you’re not married to that agency. If their performance is not up to your satisfaction, you can go your separate ways.
- Having inside experts can also come with inherent risks. For example, getting the right team in place can be expensive. Having a CMO, VP of Marketing, manager, and/or specialist who will handle all of the day-to-day work can cost an organization over $350,000 annually. However, to be successful across any market these days, you will need a robust team.
The bottom line
There are reasons that make sense for companies to decide to either hire an internal marketing team or an external agency. The decision comes down to the priorities of the company in question.
At AOU Creative Group, we believe that as a Denver based content marketing agency of highly educated, skilled professionals we are able to offer clients the best of marketing at a lower cost than would occur if our team was hired individually.
This allows us to provide services that transform the digital presence of our clients and lead to improved lead generation, higher conversions, and increased revenue.
When you are ready to take the next step in your digital marketing efforts, contact us and we’d be happy to show you how your business growth trajectory can change, at a lower cost and with less stress.