3 Ways to Expand Your Marketing Team
Many companies will reach a point when expansion is necessary. If your business is at this point then let me say, congratulations! This means your business is growing more sophisticated and it no longer makes sense for you alone to play marketer.
A marketing team plays a vital role in the promotion of a business or the mission of an organization. But needs vary group to group, so which direction is the best fit for your company? Do you need to hire a social media strategist or marketing manager? Do you need a dedicated department to develop and implement a marketing strategy? Or will you outsource someone to coordinate and produce all your marketing materials?
The key decision is how will you expand? Laid out below are pros and cons of three ways to expand your marketing team.
Expand the in-house team
A full in-house marketing group will require lots of funding and resources (from budget for employees, to benefits, to office space, to training). But there is great value in having an internal team who is connected and share a passion for fulfilling the company’s mission or business objectives.
- You’ll have more engagement with employees. Having the option to talk face-to-face with your employees may help move projects along. With an in-house team, disseminating information is easier and more effective.
- Offering room for growth (and salary and benefits) means your in-house hires are more likely to stick around.
- Problems can be resolved faster. In-house teams can address issues that must be fixed quickly immediately. Because you have a dedicated team, you know that 100% of their time is devoted to working on projects for you, whereas external teams may have multiple clients at once.
- Sourcing talent can be challenging! A December survey by The Creative Group found that 43% of marketers can’t find the talent they need. Finding quality talent is tough.
- And that quality talent is going to want things like dental, medical, and a 401k plan – all of which are costly. Is the increased overhead expense worth it if you only need additional power for a specific project? If you only need someone for a limited time, that may leave the in-house hire underutilized at other times.
- Hiring is a process in and of itself – from the search, to the interviews, to the negotiations. And then onboarding new employees and training them can be time intensive and costly! It takes time to get someone set up internally with HR and special allocations and other hoops. This varies by organization, but it can be a hurdle. Once you get this person hired, you then have the standard training needed to be successful, not just on a project, but on the the technology used internally, processes and procedures – all that fun stuff.
- Sometimes you need a broad skill set and hiring one person might in our wish list meet all of those divergent needs, but in actuality it might not be reasonable to expect all of that out of one person. In that case, you might still have a gap that needs to be met by an external resource.
Bring in freelancers
A team of skilled freelancers can be very beneficial. Typically easy to hire and with a very specialized skill set, freelancers have flexible schedules and get sh*t done quickly.
- Hiring freelancers provides the ability to expand as needed. Rather than investing the time and money into hiring a full-fledged team, you can hire individuals at the pace with which your business grows.
- Freelancer help can be highly specialized to help where you need it (be it web design, content creation, or paid social campaign development).
- Work is completed hourly, or on scope. Unlike in-house teams, you only pay for time needed to complete an assignment.
- Flexibility! Depending on your arrangement, your freelancer may be able to adjust deliveries and work with your schedule.
- It can be difficult to find the right people. It’s always a difficult task to find the best talent for a job, whether you’re hiring an on-site employee or freelance worker. And good freelancers are in high-demand! This can lead to project delays or difficulties in hiring.
- You have little to no control over working hours. This can be fine, as long as deadlines are met, but can be challenging if projects require consistent communication.
- And communication problems can arise. Freelancers get to work when and where they want. You might not receive prompt updates on a project’s progress.
- Depending on where your freelancers are located, time difference and language barriers can be an issue. If you are in different time zones, you can easily see how that might make it hard to reach your freelancer on a daily basis. And as we’ve said above, consistent communication is important.
- A freelancer, unlike an agency, is usually working alone, which means there is no backup. If they become ill or unexpectedly unavailable, your project may be delayed or worse.
Hire an agency
If you keep your entire marketing team in-house you may blow your entire budget on payroll. If you outsource all your marketing, quality and control are concerns. There are great benefits to hiring a marketing agency. Keep reading. 🙂
- An agency has expansive experience. That’s one of the great things about an agency – they’ll have years of experience and be able to show you examples of their past work so you can get an idea of what they’re capable of. An outside perspective can be extremely helpful. Marketing teams bring a lot of experience to the table, from familiarity with your target market to expertise with marketing channels and available technologies.
- Agencies can be cheaper than hiring numerous freelancers. Typically, an agency is cheaper than a full-time marketing executive and you get an entire team of experts.
- There are long-term relationship options. Hire an agency and you’re opening up the possibility of having a full and fruitful work relationship with a great team of people. Once you find people you like and trust, it’s only natural that you’ll want to work with them again.
- You can still get complete access to your data. Quality agencies will have great insights and be transparent.
- You save on the time it takes to find someone or to try and learn all the best marketing practices yourself. And you’ll get expert strategy and implementation and creative designs.
- Some of the things that make agencies great can also slow them down. It depends on the agency, but many have processes that make them efficient and may or may not work for you. If you need a small one-off project and an agency requires a $5,000+ discovery phase to get to know you before you do that small project, it might not be the right fit.
- Large agencies often have highly specialized people, general account managers, and also project managers. Know how you’re going to be billed and the general billing structure so that you’re not surprised by the cost. For instance, if you’re sitting in a meeting with your account manager, a project manager, and a couple specialists, are they all billing you for that meeting at various hourly rates? If so, that meeting could add up fast. (One note: we don’t work that way.)
- An agency naturally has numerous clients, and their attention is pulled in many directions at once. That’s not always a bad thing, if they’re gaining experience and insight on other accounts that can help you. But it’s good to know how you work vs. how they work. Do you want to stand over someone and see how they’re doing the work, or are you happy getting the end product that’s what you want (or better)? Do you need to pick up the phone and reach someone immediately who can drop what they’re doing to help you, no matter the hour? You can get that with an agency, but you’ll probably pay for it. If you need complete control over someone’s work, including the process and more, then that’s likely an in-house employee. This is where knowing what you need and how you work is key, so you and the agency know if it’s a good fit.
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Should your company hire an external creative agency, outsource branding projects, or develop an in-house team to do its marketing work? This decision can be one of the most important ones to make. Like most collaborative working relationships, whether employees, freelancers, or agencies, success depends partly on trust that is built through successful projects and open communication.
If you’re leaning towards the “I need to hire a marketing agency” side of things, drop us a line! We’d love to chat about our process and see if we’re a good fit. Or, check out this blog, 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Marketing Agency.