What I often get asked is, “should I employ an internal marketing person or outsource my marketing needs to an agency?”
After spending over 4 years’ in a marketing agency environment and almost 3 years as an internal marketing manager, I feel I can give an honest insight into the life of both parties, and hopefully it will help you decide what’s the best route for your business, whether you’re the owner of a small independent company or the marketing manager of a multinational corporation.
Typical job descriptions of an Internal Marketeer and a Marketing Agency:
Job Description (internal marketeer): ‘Get me a return on my marketing investment using your knowledge and expertise’
Job Description (marketing agency): To manage the overall marketing strategy; including social media, email marketing, design, content marketing, development, brand, offline marketing and SEO.
There are 3 simple considerations to comparing the two options described above – Time, cost and skills.
With a dedicated marketeer responsible for all aspects of your marketing strategy, time management can become a challenging issue. With focus split from one project to the next, the overall quality of each task can decrease. Speaking from a personal standpoint, as a salaried individual marketeer I always struggled to dedicate a solid few days on a campaign, mainly because another ‘priority’ would appear on my to do list, whether it was from the directors, the internal team or a customer.
With an outsourced marketing agency, their sole responsibility is to work on your behalf to ensure your marketing strategy is generating a return on investment (ROI) for your business. With combined experience, an agency team will implement strategies and techniques they know will improve your brand and increase sales.
Marketing Agencies are not distracted by additional tasks and they have a fully experienced team of designers, developers and digital marketeers handling the workload.
A recent study shows only 56% of small businesses (50 employees or less) have a marketing plan, while 81% of larger companies (more than 1,000 employees) have a plan in place.
So, what would are the comparable costs of employing (a) a full time in-house marketeer or (b) a full service agency marketing team?
A full-time Marketing Manager would cost you in the region of £30,000 – £50,000 per annum, dependant on experience. And of course PAYE, holiday pay and pension contributions would all be additional.
Digital agencies tend to charge a fixed monthly fee, with the only additional cost being the paid advertising spend, which is also managed to a fixed budget. Some agencies, like Kariba, can even guarantee a return on investment, such is their confidence in their ability to deliver.
As part of the service provided by a digital agency, all analytics and data tracking is set up in the interim and precise reporting dashboards showing key metrics are analysed and sent to the client to demonstrate their ROI.
Many in-house marketeers have a specific set of skills and experience. Some are advocates at paid search platforms such as Google PPC, some are social media savvy millennials who know all there is to know about being social and others are tech experts with a passion for coding.
Whichever skillset the individual marketeer specialises in, it would be a shame, for example, to hire a paid search specialist only to realise the competition is getting all of its customers from social media. What then?
Now, I have all the admiration for an internal marketer, being one myself previously. They do a fantastic job and, more often than not, get asked to do a multitude of tasks. So, if you’re currently an internal marketeer – you’re awesome!
What I worry about with internal marketeers is that, if they spend so much time being dragged from pillar to post, do they realistically have the time to implement each specialism of digital marketing effectively? The answer, I’m afraid, is ‘no’.
By employing the monthly services of a digital marketing agency you benefit from the combined services of a highly experienced team of designers, developers, social media gurus, digital marketeers, strategists and account handlers, to name but a few.
From my point of view it makes sense to invest a significantly smaller amount of your marketing budget (than the 30-50K full timer’s salary described above) and partner with an experienced and reliable team of individuals dedicated to their specialist area for a fraction of the cost.
By Kelly Worrall