Henry Ford once said that doing away with advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time. Yet, with many small and medium enterprises cash-strapped, business owners do away with marketing experts to save the little amount of money they have – and try a DIY approach instead.
Unfortunately, regardless of how entrepreneurial you are, you cannot be a jack of all trades. You may be good at coming up with business ideas but turning them into a profitable business will require a marketing expert.
Your time is precious, and taking on marketing is adding to an already-full plate. As the juggling becomes more and more stressful, you’re back to considering if you should hire a marketing manager or an agency. Let’s help you decide by looking at the pros and cons of both – in a very honest way.
Advantages of Hiring a Marketing Agency
Range of Expertise
A marketing agency usually comprises a group of individuals with expertise in the various marketing techniques and channels you’ll use, be it content writing, social media, eDM, search, digital advertising, branding, media, websites etc.
SMEs do not have a budget to afford specialised software, especially when technology keeps evolving and they need to keep up with the advancements. Marketing agencies aggregate the cost of such tools – as well as the staff that use them – across their client base. Therefore, you benefit from the latest technology and a team that best knows how to leverage the data obtained from the software to apply it to your marketing strategies.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Marketing Agency
It is a Costly Affair
As much as you are willing to pay for the service to get expert help, you have to consider the return on investment (ROI). We came across an agency specialising in social media marketing quoting $22,000 per month. Agencies price their services depending on the services they are offering. For instance, SEO, social media marketing, paid strategy, and paid media have differentiated prices meaning that if you want all of them, you will be paying a hefty sum per month. You need the expertise to know what you really need and what you don’t. The reality is you might need several agencies (specialist SEO and SEM agencies are common for example) and managing them is demanding.
Your Business is Not Their Priority
An agency is also running a business; their interest is in having as many clients as possible. If you’re not one of the bigger ones, you can be assured that your business will not get the attention it deserves. You will pay a hefty fee for getting the bare minimum in the long run. You deserve more than that, considering how hard you are working to afford to pay their fees.
Lack Familiarity with Your Business Realities
Only the wearer of the shoe knows where it pinches, and a marketing agency is an outside entity that barely understands the unique aspects of your business, your operations, your markets and your internal processes. An agency might be knowledgeable in marketing but may lack true insight into the specific industry your business is in. Insider knowledge is very hard to achieve from the outside. There’s a limited amount of energy an external agency will spend on getting it.
May Impose Their Vision on You
Hiring an agency does not mean that you can hand over the reins of your communications to them. As the business owner, you need to know what you want to achieve; you only need help in making that vision came true. Unfortunately, too many try to impose a templated vision on you as it’s more efficient for them. The back and forth as you try to educate them about your business and convince them to dive deeper to find your solutions can waste precious time, energy and money.
Why a Part-time Marketing Manager is a Preferred and Affordable Option
To fully realise marketing effectiveness, you need a marketing team that knows your business from the inside. A marketing manager gives you similar benefits of an agency while doing away with the disadvantages.
Trouble is, a full-time hire is no easy option. Finding the right fit for your company with the right amount of experience is challenging. Do you actually know what skillsets you need? You need a leader-level executive, but do you really need (and how will you possibly afford) a full-time role? How will you find time to recruit, carry out interviews, shortlist hire and onboard the best candidate.
At Inside-Outside, having helped many, many SME’s with marketing solutions, we understand your dilemma. That is why we’ve spent several years developing a unique set of solutions that are neither external agency nor internal marketing hire.
Instead, we build you a contracted, internal marketing operation, typically staffed by a senior strategic executive marketer assisted by a digital tactician – both are part-time roles, reducing your cost.
We do not impose our vision on you; instead, working right alongside you and your team, we develop strategies from understanding your business from the inside-out.
We extract, analyse, and assess critical marketing input and craft it into the plan through our Strategic Marketing Blueprint process to help refine and achieve your visions. Then we manage the execution with full accountability to your bottom line.
Along the way, we build out the internal processes you need to support efficient execution so that when you’re ready to grow further, you’ll have solid foundations, whether we’re still there or not.
You can be guaranteed that our marketers are invested in your business as much as you are because they have the time; we only give them two businesses to handle.
They can expertly manage any existing marketing suppliers you might have and additionally are backed by a multi-talented team specialising in all aspects of marketing; you get all the marketing insight at a subsidised cost.
The best thing about a contracted part-time Inside-OutHouse marketing team is you are not locked in. We can move people around and you are always free to let us go.
There’s a lot more to explain about how it actually works so engaging us in a 15-minute discovery discussion could be the best investment of time to see if Inside-OutHouse is the solution you have been seeking as it has been for other similar sized SME’s with the same challenges you face.