Should you hire a marketing agency?

Hiring a Marketing Agency – The big thought

Over the last few weeks, Wordsmiths Marketing has been sharing valuable information and methods for you to use when it comes to marketing your business. Some of the feedback we have had is ‘how do you decide if you need to use a marketing agency?’

Many business owners feel that their marketing efforts are OK, but also lie awake at night knowing it could be better. By unpacking three different options, we will help you simplify the decisions you face when it comes to hiring a marketing agency or not. What you should be asking yourself is: is your marketing working for you and do you know how to measure it? We’ve created this quick guide to help you compare your options along with their pros and cons:

OPTION 1 – Do it Yourself (DIY)

The DIY approach is favoured by companies that are younger or have a limited marketing budget. Usually there is a “someone has to do it” mentality, and the marketing ‘task’ is then often left to the business owner, an IT person or someone in administration.

PROS: 

– You don’t have to hire anyone new or pay an outside contractor.

– You have full control of your marketing.

 CONS:

 – There is likely a high opportunity cost for you doing these activities in-house.

– Marketing quality and strategy will be sacrificed.

– You are probably not a marketing master?

– Last minute decisions get made that don’t necessarily support the marketing objective.

– Marketing only gets done when there is money and is not part of a long-term strategy.

OPTION 2 – Employ Someone

Hiring a dedicated marketing coordinator/manager or an internal designer/developer is the popular option. Budget-wise, you are looking at spending R20k to R60k in salary and will have to budget for additional marketing spend.

 PROS:

– Hiring a dedicated marketing professional allows and your team focus on core business priorities.

– It will ensure that a trained, experienced professional is handling your marketing efforts.

– You are able to increase the quality of your marketing materials and create more marketing momentum.

CONS:

 – Hiring one marketing person will generally leave you with fairly narrow capabilities. i.e.: one person to be your marketing coordinator, designer, developer, copywriter, researcher, social media strategist, blogger and more… The many roles for one person leads to inconsistent results and, often, the need to still outsource specific marketing activities (graphic design, etc). This can get pricey.

– The person in charge of marketing your business can easily become your (very dangerous) tool for ‘measurement’.

OPTION 3 – Outsource to a Marketing Agency

A marketing agency can provide you with services that cover all stages of your marketing cycle including research, branding, marketing plan development and design/production services to create professional marketing material. Their involvement in your business can range from the occasional once-off campaign to the full management of your marketing profile and all touchpoints. Cost will depend on the range of services selected.

PROS:

-You will have access to a team of specialists including strategists, writers, designers, web developers, email/social media experts, media planners and public relations specialists to help you execute your marketing professionally.

– At all times, help is only a phone call away.

– You can set a monthly budget to work within that the agency must manage.

– An agency managing your marketing ensures that your plan is based on facts, skill and experience – not gut instincts.

– Ensures that your marketing efforts remain consistent when you and your team are busy running your company.

– Agencies get better prices (and better deals) on media platforms in your area as well as nationally.

– A good agency can at any time give you a report on your marketing ROI (Return on Investment).

 CONS: 

– Outsourcing your marketing to an agency can be costly. However, the costs can be on par with option 2.

– Opportunity costs to options 1 or 2 are often higher and should be considered.

– Most agencies ask to be on a minimum 3-month contract to start with.

– If you are not in regular contact with your agency, you can lose touch with your company’s marketing efforts.

– You might use an agency that does not understand your brand.

Your budget, marketing goals and the skills of your staff will all come into play when making this important decision. Remember, nothing measured is nothing gained.

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