The big question for companies considering online marketing in today’s flexible working world is whether to invest in having a marketing function in-house, or whether outsourcing the role to an agency, such as JDR, offers better value for money.
As a marketing agency ourselves it is fair to say that we have an angle on this question! However, there are pros and cons to consider for both sides of the in-house/outsourcing argument before any decisions are made. If they have the budget to spare, some businesses simply like the convenience of having one or more marketing professionals employed in-house. Whereas for other businesses the choice to outsource is clear-cut; both in terms of cost-benefit and in the skills they can access for a comparatively small investment.
Accommodating Your Business Model
Ultimately the decision comes down to what works best for your business. However, working with an agency does come with some important advantages, as we hope to explain in this article. These advantages mean that outsourcing is often the best business decision even for companies with the capacity and budget to take on more staff. Even businesses who already have an in-house marketing team frequently benefit from the added power that comes from working with a multi-skilled agency team.
If You Are Going To Hire In-House…
The four key factors to consider before hiring a marketing executive - much as with any other role - are time, space, resources, and money.
1) Time, because marketing is often a round-the-clock endeavour and may possibly traverse different time zones;
2) Space, because you need a suitably large office infrastructure to house additional staff, along with a good remote-working system;
3) Resources, because there are definitely tools and applications that are needed for worthwhile online marketing efforts, not to mention a staff member’s computer, laptop, tablet, company car etc.; and
4) Money, as the representative will need to be paid according to the skills they offer, as well as being funded for any marketing training necessary.
These four factors are key to deciding whether in-house or outsourcing marketing is the right course of action. If you are in any doubt, skip straight to the outsourcing option. You may be surprised how affordable it is.
The Perceived Benefit Of Hiring In-House
For some companies, hiring a person directly to fill a skills gap is still the norm. The reasoning goes that an employee has greater loyalty to a company’s brand, and greater knowledge of its products and services, than an outsourced agency. Therefore, according to this view, hiring an in-house marketing person ensures that the employee fully understands the needs of the business, and can be monitored internally. There are also perceived advantages to hiring an industry specialist e.g. someone with X number of years working in marketing specifically for the pharmaceutical industry. As we will see below, however, while this might be true for some job positions, such as management, it isn’t necessarily the case for marketing.
Problems Recruiting The Right People
Finding the right person with the right skills on the job market isn’t always easy these days. Recruitment depends on your ideal match being in your area and looking for work at the precise time you are advertising. All too often this comes down to sheer luck – and when there is a match, highly qualified people are in such demand that you are likely to face stiff competition.
Also, the cost of hiring someone full time can be difficult to negotiate with ever-tightening budget restrictions. Hiring an internal person also comes with job-specific requirements such as holiday time and sick leave, which can be tricky to manage when handling ongoing online marketing campaigns. Typically, you can expect a new employee to need a three to six month training and probation period before they are able to work at full efficiency.
Should they choose to leave at a later date, you will then be faced with even more hiring headaches and skills shortages. Of course, this assumes you are hiring only one new member of staff. To employ a whole marketing team to cover the skills you need will necessitate a huge investment of time and money, probably requiring an HR Officer to oversee the project full-time over a period of several months.
What About Outsourced Marketing?
For the majority of companies, outsourcing marketing activity to an outside agency can be incredibly beneficial. This isn’t simply an option for small companies that ‘can’t afford’ an in-house team. We have businesses of all sizes among our clients, ranging from family businesses to large manufacturers; so any company can benefit from outsourcing. These are some of the most important benefits:
The sheer breadth of knowledge that a marketing agency can provide is astonishing, given that the cost of hiring a full agency is a fraction of that needed to hire a full-time marketing employee. Companies do not lose out on precious marketing time for holidays or sick leave, as there will always be a team member ready to take over from the primary executive handling their campaigns.
Range Of Skills
Using ourselves as an example; at JDR we have web designers, copywriters, advertising specialists, graphic designers, sales consultants, SEO gurus, social media experts, PPC executives, programmers, and many other specialists. We have a team of over 30 marketing professionals with niche skills and varied industry experience to bring to bear on your marketing campaign. It simply is not possible to get the same level of expertise in-house without an enormous investment.
Furthermore, working with an agency gives you flexibility. Work with us to fulfil your marketing goals, with a bespoke suite of services that can be scaled up or scaled down depending on your requirements. As your needs change, so can the way we approach your marketing strategy. This is less easy with an in-house team, where you will have a fixed number of staff with specific skills. You may find yourself having to outsource core functions that you don’t have in your team, even if you have most of the bases covered. Marketing encompasses a number of activities, ranging from blogging, to PPC, to technical SEO. Not every business will need all of these skills at any one time. Why spend thousands of pounds, for instance, hiring a web programmer when you might not need them in six months’ time? Working with an agency that provides the whole gamut of marketing skills gives you access to the right tools to address your specific requirements, at the time you need them.
Outsourcing Options For Flexible, Dynamic Businesses
Modern businesses outsource so many different business functions, from accountancy to recruitment, to web design. This is one of the things that makes the modern economy so dynamic and growth-driven. Marketing is no exception. By outsourcing your marketing team to an agency such as JDR, you can leverage a far higher ROI pound for pound then you could ever do in-house.
So Are There Any Disadvantages Of Working With An Agency?
These are largely to do with perception among certain businesses. A company with traditional hiring policies may view an external agency as having less of a vested interest in their product or business. However, this isn’t the case with marketing. Not only do agencies have a clear interest in how successful your campaigns are, in order to secure ongoing work, but a marketing agency cannot afford to be detached.
Marketing is a deeply personal field and will only work with a thorough understanding of your industry, your business and your target market. Therefore, the most important part of our onboarding process with new customers is to take as much time as necessary to get under the skin of your industry and how it operates. Using efficient profiling and targeting techniques, our marketing specialists can quickly arrive at an understanding of a customer’s business and target demographic that rivals that of employees working directly for the company.
Which Option Is Best For Your Business?
Outsourcing your marketing to an agency such as JDR is the most cost-effective, long-term investment you can make in securing growth for your business. With so many advantages to be had outsourcing to skilled, UK-based agencies, it is becoming increasingly rare for even large companies to hire sizeable in-house marketing teams these days.
For the same or a similar budget as one in-house online marketing executive, a whole team of experts can be consulted and can carry out marketing campaigns on your behalf, quickly and efficiently. With the right targets and a solid briefing strategy, an external marketing agency can be far more cost-effective than hiring in-house. When balancing time, resources and money, hiring an external marketing agency makes the most financial sense for companies looking for an overall online marketing campaign solution.
How To Get Clients Coming To You
The essence of modern, inbound marketing methods is to have new customers knocking on your door, through effectively promoting your brand on the search engines and social media. To find out more about the potential gains of working with JDR as your business development partner, we have put together a free guide on How to Get Clients Coming to You, specifically for B2B businesses. Click here to claim your copy. To speak with one of our marketing specialists directly, please call us on 01332 343281.