Hiring an In-House Marketing Specialist vs Outsourcing Your Marketing Needs


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Let’s take a look at a common situation that happens all across the world for many companies. You or your company has decided that you are needing marketing assistance and now you are faced with options on what to do. For most, it appears to be pretty clear to just hire someone to do your marketing for you, which is what I am calling ‘in house’ marketing. But there is another growing option that works just as well or sometimes even better, and that is outsourcing your marketing efforts.

pug wearing a scarf and glasses

In this article, I am going to discuss the pros and cons of each. Some situations are better for one or the other and sometimes it is just going to be personal preference.  Sometimes the timing may even be better for one solution over the other. There may be two options but there are a variety of ways to utilize these two options and a hybrid approach may work better. Each scenario and each company is going to be different but one thing is for sure, you can’t make the right decision if you do not have all the information.

In this industry, marketing, data and looking at the complete picture is how you are going to be successful. Some people may find hiring someone or a team to do the marketing within the company as the better option as you will have more control over the workflow. While others will find the value in hiring an agency to complete the efforts with all the experience and expertise that an agency can bring. So, let’s take a closer look at these two options.

In House or Insourcing is hiring an individual or several individuals to handle your marketing efforts and you will have them on your payroll and they will be employed by you. The average cost of hiring such an individual is around $4000 and the average salary varies greatly anywhere around $63-$132k. The average salary varies so much as it depends on the cost of living in the area, the experience of the individual, and hopefully the negotiating ability of the individual. Odd that I would mention that but let’s face it, you WANT someone that is good at negotiating. It means they can think for themselves and outside the norm of others, as well as have the confidence within their abilities. Could you find someone that will jump on the first offer you give them, sure but do you really want that in your marketing person? This person is supposed to propel your company into the future. Anyways, slightly off-topic but I feel that it is important. There are so many factors when it comes to hiring someone for in house marketing. The first step is understanding if you are looking for one person or multiples of people. If you do decide on one person, are they going to focus on one specific area or are you wanting them to be a ‘jack of all trades’?  Let’s look at the pros and cons:


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In House Marketing Team or Specialist

Pros of In House Marketing:

  1. Company Knowledge:
    This person is going to understand your culture. They are going to know what drives your company, understand how it operates, and fulfill your mission as a company. This will lead to a better brand image as they will have invested interest and understanding of their employer and the company.
  2. Communication:
    Communication is inherently better as typically they will be within your building. You can walk down the hall and ask a question or have them on speed dial on your office phone. You can catch them on the way to the break room or going out to lunch and ‘walk and talk’.
  3. Brand Loyalty:
    This person will be loyal to only your company. You will have more trust with an individual that relies on you to feed their family. Trust can be a big issue for certain companies as safeguarding your intellectual property may be a number one priority. Although for most companies it is not a major concern especially if you have the proper legalities in place.manager overseeing a marketing employee
  4. Focus:
    This person will have complete focus on your marketing efforts. You will also have more control on your strategy, which may not always be a good thing as you did hire an expert so you should let them do what you hired them to do, but you will have more control over the deadlines and the scope of the projects and tasks.

Cons of In House Marketing:

  1. High Cost:
    I mentioned the hiring cost and salary earlier but one thing I forgot to mention was what is the cost of hiring the wrong person? On average it is about $17k, and then you also have to start the hiring process all over again. Besides salaries, there are other costs and expenses of having an in house marketer, such as benefits, ongoing training and not just employee training but industry training as well. More on that below. The biggest cost of all is probably time. How much time are you going to have to invest in this person to hire them as an employee?
  2. Recruitment:
    Going along with what I mentioned above. The time and money spent on job postings. The time and money spent on screening. The time spent on interviewing. The time and payroll spent on on-boarding and employee training. Then after they have been with you several months, you find out if they really are the right fit with your work culture. I have hired many people that passed through everything great and were hired, only to find out that they were not a good fit and issues that arose after a few months of hire. Bad hires happen and can adversely affect the other co-workers as well.
  3. Lack of Expertise:
    This is my biggest hot point. I see lots of companies hiring a marketing expert to handle all of their marketing needs. These people can have great resumes and experience, but I truly doubt that they can be experts in every aspect of marketing and also stay that way. I consider myself a jack of all trades. I have a lot of knowledge over a wide variety of areas. But I am not an expert in any of them, but I used to be. It is very difficult to keep up with all the changes that are happening. Take Google for example. They have multiple departments working on and changing algorithms and process changes and layout changes and tool changes over the organic listings, Google Ads, Google Shopping, Rank Zero listings, Goggle My Business listings and it’s algorithms, Google tag manager, and the list goes on and on. And that’s just Google, let’s add in Facebook, Bing, Microsoft, Yahoo, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, and even that list goes on and on. So, are you going to find someone that is an expert on all of those? I highly doubt it and if they were an expert on most, they won’t be for long if they are not keeping up on their training. And that training is not cheap, it is a cost that needs to be factored in and many of those training seminars take place over a series of days so that’s time out of the office and not getting any progress completed on work tasks.

Let’s look at the other option, Outsourcing. Now, I know that word has gotten a bad reputation as many think that the work will be done by someone halfway around the world that is getting paid very cheaply. Well, that is not always the case. Hiring a US-based marketing agency can be very rewarding. Although you do need to be careful as many of these ‘US-Based’ companies are then outsourcing it again to those that are halfway across the world. However, hiring an agency can provide many benefits at a fraction of the cost and has helped many companies maintain growth and increase their marketing ROI. Now you are reading this post on a marketing agency’ website so yes, I may be slightly biased but I try to look at things objectively and I will be the first to tell you if we are not a good fit and you would be better off going elsewhere. I would rather be honest and upfront rather than lie and you have a bad experience with us and then you spread the word of how bad we are when in reality it just wasn’t the right fit for you. Anyways, let’s look at the Pros and then even the Cons of outsourcing your marketing.

Outsourcing Your Marketing

Pros of Outsourced Marketing:

  1. a group of people putting their hands in togetherVariety of Talent:
    A marketing team brings a variety of talent to the table, not to mention looking at your brand from a fresh perspective. Sometimes we can see through the ‘well we have always done this’ and tell you how we see it based on our experiences in working with other companies and seeing what works and what doesn’t work. We also have employees with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have experiences and are experts in certain industries that assist greatly with many of our clients. Agencies are also not part of any office drama or politics that you may have within your company, and if you really look at it and be honest, this alone can be a big factor.
  2. Performance with Proof:
    Agencies take pride in their work and their reputation is on the line. They are experts in tracking and measuring and using analytics to provide proof of their results. This allows you or your upper executives to be more hands-off and focus on other matters.
  3. Return on Investment:
    This is what it is all about. If you hand me $1 and I turn around and hand you $5, then you will be looking for every quarter you can find. Agencies know the importance of this and use this as the standard of measurement. They know if they do not produce then you will find someone that will as there is no shortage of marketing agencies out there.
  4. Training:
    You are not responsible for the costs of the ongoing training of these individuals. That is both monetary and time spent away from working on your accounts. Just make sure that if they are a small agency that they have someone filling in while your account manager is away whether on vacation or sick.

Now let’s take a look at what the cons will be in hiring an agency. And let’s see if my boss allows me to say why we as an agency shouldn’t be hired. Here we go:

Cons of Outsourcing Your Marketing

  1. Not the only one:
    Yes, you will not be the client the agency has. If you are, then you probably picked the wrong agency to begin with. So, response time may not be instantaneous. The agency should be responsive, as we know that this is a major issue and keep finding ways and policies to keep the times low, but this is a con as the person working on your account is not just focused on your account.
  2. Privacy:
    This pertains to your intellectual property. Double-check the agency’s reputation and make sure you have a solid agreement and NDA’s in place.
  3. Communication:
    Be sure you can talk to the person that is ACTUALLY doing the work on your account. Ask the right questions and get the right answers. If your account manager has to ‘keep getting back to you’ then they may be outsourcing the work themselves to overseas people which if you’re getting good results then it’s not too bad but I would still prefer to talk directly to the person working on the account as I will get true and honest feedback.
  4. Choosing the Right Agency:
    I can write a complete book on this but let me highlight it for you. Take your time, be sure to have a contract the is favorable and fair, take your time, do your homework to ensure the agency has a good track record, take your time, be sure their morals, mission, and philosophy mirror your own, and most of all take your time and find the right fit. The future of your company is resting on this decision.

Deciding Which is Right For Your Company

lightbulb held in front of sunsetAs you can see there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing to hire in house or outsource your marketing and I am sure you now know some new things you didn’t consider. Again, every company is going to be different, each industry is different, and the timing for each company plays a factor as well. I mentioned a hybrid approach at the beginning so I will touch on that. I have seen successes in outsourcing with an agency to get the marketing set up, once you notice the ROI and have enough data it may be clear to hire in house for certain services, like social media but yet to outsource for your SEO and PPC efforts. The hired person only needs to focus on Social Media and therefore does not need to be trained in the other areas so you do not have to pay for the premium salary for a professional marketer with that experience, and you still get the personalized touch and focus of an in house person where you need it the most. You can utilize the Pros and Cons of both options to fit your needs.

So as you can see, it is not pretty clear on the choice of just hiring someone to do your marketing. There are many factors to consider, like the hidden costs associated with hiring an in house marketing person. The salary of a trained professional marketing person is just a fraction of the costs associated with that hire. You have to maintain the high level of training needed in order for this new hire that you have now entrusted your companies marketing efforts to, you have to keep them at the top of their game and keep up with this ever-changing industry. Marketing is ever-evolving, and new changes can be detrimental to your company if they are not kept up with. Be sure to talk with many experts and feel free to ‘shop around’ with marketing agencies and find one that is going to be a great fit, for your needs. Keep in mind that a hybrid option can be a great solution as well.

Authorship: Marty C.


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