Marketing is how you spread brand awareness, make more sales and grow your business. Companies invest heavily in marketing because they understand its value. In fact, some businesses dedicate around 20% of their revenue to marketing, with a few even delegating almost 50%. The question is whether to keep the marketing in-house or hire a marketing agency.
If you’re asking yourself, “should I hire a marketing agency,” there is no right or wrong answer. What’s best for one company may not be what’s best for another. To help you decide, we dig into the pros and cons.
Pro: Quality work for less money
Hiring and building an in-house team requires year-round salaries and benefits, whereas hiring a marketing agency requires only the investment in the particular services you’re using. For example, if you need a brand refresh, that’s all you pay for. If you decide to run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign later, you pay for that at the time of service.
Usually, hiring a marketing agency is far more cost-effective than paying salary and overhead, even for as few as five employees. Outsourcing your marketing to a dedicated team for a fraction of the price can be a huge benefit.
If you do decide to outsource, interview a few agencies first. You can thank outside agencies for their time with a professional thank-you gift . A thermal mug, stylish travel bag or tech padfolio work well and remind them of your business if they should ever need your services too.
Con: Multiple questions and meetings
Because the marketing agency doesn’t yet know anything about you, your audience or your goals, multiple up-front meetings may be required. If you’re not planning on running a big, complex campaign, the time spent in these meetings may seem tedious or unnecessary.
You’re also the person who must make the final call when it comes to budget and big decisions. Nothing can proceed without your agreement, and some people struggle finding time to meet or respond to agency inquiries.
Pro: A team of specialists
With access to an entire team of people who specialize in marketing, your results can be exponential. A collaborative marketing team can handle anything from search engine optimization (SEO) and PPC to content, digital ads and print campaigns. They can also take care of brand refreshes, web design and programming.
A marketing agency must also stay on top of trends, innovations and the latest news. Sometimes an in-house team (or employees trying to wear multiple hats) may struggle to stay up to date, prioritizing other business needs ahead of marketing.
Con: Not industry-specific
Many agencies work with multiple clients across a variety of industries. An agency may not know much about your industry or have any experience with your type of audience. And while any agency can learn about your industry, having a knowledge gap means agency staff will require more time to learn. This may result in a longer time period before you see results.
In addition, an agency that isn’t well-versed in your industry can also mean the agency may miss important nuances, resulting in material or campaigns that don’t deeply connect with your audience.
Tips and what to look for
If you decide to hire a marketing agency, it’s important to ask the agency (and yourself) the right questions. What would make hiring the marketing agency successful? What are you hoping it can accomplish for you—both in terms of revenue and nonrevenue (such as greater brand awareness)?
Also look at their values. You want to work with a marketing agency whose values mirror your own, so your experience is as pleasant and smooth as possible.
Make sure your agency contact understands your communication preferences too. Do you want to be heavily involved, with email updates twice a week? Or would you prefer to be hands-off and not communicate outside of scheduled check-ins?
It’s also important to stay open-minded and flexible. Listen to new ideas and consider recommendations you normally wouldn’t think of. If you expect your internal team to collaborate with your newly found external marketing agency, you can show appreciation with professional thank-you gifts, like a Chocolate Square Gift Set, a sleek medalist pen or a wireless speaker.
Decide what’s best for your business
Some companies would benefit from hiring a marketing agency, while others would benefit from keeping their marketing in-house. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, you’ll be able to decide what’s best for your business. Good luck!