The question will always arise at some point. Whether you are just starting out with your small business, or you own a well-established company one question remains the same: “How should I manage my digital marketing strategy?”
Digital marketing is just a simple Facebook post twice a week right?
Social media management is just one aspect of a much larger, cohesive marketing plan in action. As your business grows, you will find a greater need for a streamlined strategy.
You need online reputation management, paid ads, an email campaign, credible backlinks, social media calendars with engaging content, a functioning website with direct workflows, consistent - keyword rich content, and so much more in order to keep up to date and visible for your target audience.
You need a marketing team. But should that team be a part of your company, or should you look for a marketing agency? The following content compares both options, so you can make a more informed decision.
Consider Your Digital Marketing Needs
As a business, you have marketing requirements that are just as unique as you are. Your choice of marketing strategy will depend on your exact needs. In general, an in-house marketing employee has a very specialized set of skills.
They may be a social media specialist, copywriter, analytics professional or focused on paid search and ad words. In contrast, when you hire an agency, you are hiring a team with a variety of diverse talents.
1. Skillset: Specialized Vs Diverse
Those working in-house are keenly aware of your brand. They intimately know your goals and desired image because they eat, sleep and breathe your business. They are generally extremely specialized in the one area of marketing that you need.
It is rare to find an in-house marketing employee, well practiced in all aspects of digital marketing. Generally, there are various specializations that need to be combined for a cohesive and successful marketing strategy to take place.
Marketing agencies work with a variety of clients. All aspects of your marketing needs are met due to the sheer number of individuals working throughout the agency. When you hire an agency, there is no need to outsource work that your in-house workers can't complete. Agencies possess a much more diverse skill set. You have separate individuals assigned to every different aspect of your marketing strategy.
The answer here comes down to asking yourself, can I afford to hire multiple people with different skillsets for my in-house marketing team? Or should I simply contact an agency where there is a talented team already assembled?
It depends entirely on your company needs. If you only need one aspect of your marketing campaign managed, you may want to hire a single in-house employee. If you are looking for a full-service marketing strategy to manage all aspects of your online presence, then it makes more sense to choose an agency.
2. Ease Of Communication
Communication is important in any business. In order for work to run smoothly, communication is key. Types of communication vary dramatically between an in-house marketing team and an agency. Both are effective and depend on your preferences as a business.
When you have an in-house marketing team, communication is relatively easy. You can get content and projects approved the same day they are created, there is very little wait time on assignments.
Due to the number of clients and client needs, it can take slightly longer for communication between clients and digital marketing agencies to occur. Generally, your agency will update you weekly or monthly, with what they are working on and what has been done. If they are waiting on your approval or want to discuss anything with you, it is done via an arranged meeting, email or quick phone call.
Both agency and in-house communications are effective, they are simply different. An in-house employee is right in the office with you, so it is easier to discuss ideas quickly. An organized marketing agency, however, will stay up to date with all communications needed in order to keep you informed.
Marketing is a naturally creative career. It attracts minds that are constantly thinking, busy and interested in what's new. Marketing teams need to effectively make a brand seem interesting, and unless you're selling fidget spinners, it's easy for creative minds to get bored.
An in-house marketing team is solely devoted to you, your company and your brand. They are always thinking about ways to promote your image and products online.
As beneficial as this may be ( they intimately know your brand) it can also lead to a plateau in creativity and new ideas. Your in-house team can lack variety or get stuck in a rut. This can lead to a lower rate of employee stability. You may see your in-house employees jump between jobs due to sheer boredom.
Your agency has several other unique client accounts that they work with daily. Their minds are fresh as they navigate new topics at all times. It leaves very little room for boredom. It is also possible that they have similar clients to your company, depending on how specialized the agency is.
They may focus on one sector of business (such as marketing just for dentists or real estate) Agencies are working with several different clients related to your account, which makes it much easier for them to keep on top of industry news and trends. They are always motivated and rarely bored by what they do due to the variety of topics they get to work with each day.
Factor In The Costs
Cost is the final factor that should be considered when making any decision surrounding your business. Is it cheaper to choose an in-house employee or an agency? Again, the cost will depend entirely on your needs. But here is a general overview.
Initially, it may seem less expensive to hire a single employee for your marketing strategy. However it is a long hiring process, you need to ensure that this person fits in well with the rest of your company.
There are unforeseen costs that can arise after hiring, for example, you could hire a social media manager but then realize that you also need a paid search specialist to complement the social campaigns.
When you hire in-house you also need to consider the costs of adding a new team member to your office. Aside from salary, you need to budget for an office space, computers and programs that they may need. You may even find you need to pay for extra training if your in-house employee has a specialized skill set and needs to branch out.
When you hire an agency there is a pre-set price in place. There is an entire team of talented professionals that combine their skills to cater to all aspects of your marketing campaign. An agency pays for its own software, tools, and tech. They manage their own training and ensure their employees are up to date with education on any new programs and software.
Determine the annual investment you want to make in digital marketing and meet with agencies and in-house candidates alike.
Choose What Works Best For You
In the end, the choice is yours. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. It is a good idea to meet with marketing agencies and potential in-house employees as well. Some businesses even settle on a mixture of both. Whatever the need may be, it is essential to have a prominent online marketing strategy for your business in the digital era.
In order to gain visibility, leads, and sales, you need to consider your businesses personal goals and how they can best be achieved. At ElementIQ, we offer a full-service digital marketing strategy, covering everything from paid search to content creation and promotion. Let us know if you want to learn more about working with a marketing agency!
Have you worked with a marketing agency before? Do you have an in-house marketing team? Share your thoughts and insight in the comments below!