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Should You Hire a Marketing Agency?

Many business owners / leaders feel that their marketing efforts are OK, but they know that they could be better – they just don’t how how. If you’re in the same boat, it may be time to examine your marketing setup and look at new options. There are three routes you can take – OPTION 1: Continue to do it yourself, OPTION 2: Hire a marketing specialist or OPTION 3: Outsource some or all of the tactics to a marketing agency.

Your budget, as well as your specific business and marketing goals, are likely the most important factors affecting your decision. Each option has pros and cons and so, to help you down this path of discovery, we’ve created quick guide to help you compare your options.

Option 1. Take the Do it Yourself (DIY) Approach

The DIY approach is prevalent in younger companies and/or companies with a very limited marketing budget. Usually there is a “someone has to do it” mentality, and that someone is often the business owner, an IT person or a sales representative.

PROS: The good news about going in this direction is that you don’t have to hire anyone new or pay an outside contractor. You will also have full control of your marketing.
CONS: The bad news is that there is likely a high opportunity cost for you doing these activities in-house, not to mention that marketing quality and strategy will be sacrificed. Although you know your industry very well, you are probably not a marketing master. It may be wise to focus on your Hedgehog (read Book: Good to Great by Jim Collins) and hand over the reins.

Option 2. Hire Someone

Hiring a dedicated marketing coordinator/manager or an internal designer/developer is a popular option. Budget-wise, you will need to spend $40k to $60k (or more) in salary.

PROS: Hiring a dedicated marketing professional will let you and your team focus on core business priorities. It will ensure that a trained, experienced professional is handling your marketing efforts. You will be 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. It’s unfair to ask one person to be your marketing coordinator, designer, developer, writer, researcher and more… It’s too many hats for one person. This leads to inconsistent results and, often, the need to still outsource specific marketing activities (graphic design, etc) to outside contractors. This can get pricey.

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 collateral. Their involvement in your business can range from the occasional single project to the full management of your marketing efforts. Due to this range of services, costs will vary.

PROS: You will have access to a team of specialists including strategists, writers, designers, web developers, email/social media experts, media planners and CRM specialists to help you execute your marketing professionally. Hiring an agency to manage your marketing ensures that your plan is based on facts, science and experience, not gut instincts. It also ensures that your marketing efforts remain consistent when you and your team are busy.
CONS: Outsourcing your marketing to an agency will most likely be the costliest of these three options. In many cases, though, the costs can be on par with option 2. Furthermore, the opportunity costs to options 1 or 2 are often higher and should be considered.

Your budget, marketing goals and the skills of your staff will all come into play when making this important decision.

Written by: Paul Provost, President, 6P Marketing

Read more: A 5-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Agency