You already know that having a solid online presence is a critical ingredient necessary to grow your business. But, if you’re like a lot of executives, there’s little time in the day to run a company and keep up with all the tasks that go into running successful marketing campaigns.
That’s where having a separate full-time marketing team comes in handy. However, once you’ve decided to make this happen, you have to choose between hiring a digital marketing manager to become an in-house member of your team or opt to go with a third-party agency.
There are definitely pros and cons to each approach to evaluate. And each comes with a unique set of merits that the other does not offer.
So, should you hire a marketing agency or a marketing person to handle your digital advertising needs? There are quite a few reasons to consider both, and that’s what we’re going to dive into. Let’s get started.
What Does a Marketing Manager Do?
A marketing manager is an in-house employee who helps a company engage in all advertising tasks. This can range from web design to keeping up with social media profiles, writing blog content, and much more.
Depending on the size of your company and the intricacies of your industry, there’s a good chance you might need both a marketing manager and a few staff members to work as part of a bigger team. In that case, the manager would also delegate tasks to these individuals based on project needs.
Marketing managers generally have a background in advertising or media. They might additionally know graphic design or how to handle technical aspects of web development. Some even understand psychology and consumer behavior, but this definitely isn’t a requirement.
Having an in-house marketing manager means you have a dedicated full-time team member to work on all your advertising campaigns. Their only focus is your business and how to bring more attention to the brand.
Is there a downside? They’re considered your employee. That means you’re paying them a salary, even if you don’t need them to handle a ton of marketing tasks during seasonal lulls in the year. You are also on the hook for any benefits or health insurance required, just as you would with any other staff member.
What Does a Marketing Agency Do?
In contrast, a digital marketing agency is a third-party company that assists other businesses with a wide range of marketing strategies. Usually, their services include everything from branding to web development, content creation, graphic design, social media marketing, and even some print advertising campaigns that crossover to digital channels.
Digital marketing agencies employ entire teams of experts, each with their own specialized focus within the industry. They work with multiple client companies at once, which means their focus might not always be solely directed toward your company’s needs.
However, they are professionals and work to always stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends and best practices. Since they are a sub-contractor who works for your business, you do not have to pay for wages or benefits for their employees. Instead, a monthly retainer is usually sufficient or even a per-project fee based on the merits of the work at hand.
Understanding the Difference Between the Two Roles
The biggest difference between hiring an agency and having a dedicated employee to handle marketing is how directly they work with your company’s needs.
An in-house team member only has to worry about your campaigns, website, and any other marketing channels you utilize. Conversely, a digital marketing agency handles advertising and brand recognition duties for multiple businesses at once.
Furthermore, in-house marketing managers are often less productive and not as knowledgeable as a digital marketing agency. Why? There are a lot of facets to running successful online advertising campaigns, and it is almost impossible for a single person to be an expert in every single process. When you have a team of people who work together—such as at an agency—the knowledgebase and expertise is more well-rounded.
Finally, there’s the expense. While it might seem less costly to use an in-house marketing manager to handle your online presence, there’s a good chance you won’t need them to work on campaigns throughout the entire year. However, as full-time employees, you will still need to pay them. With a marketing agency, you can negotiate smaller workloads during those seasons in which sales are a bit slower, or your product or service is in minimal demand.
Why Having Both Can Be a Great Idea
A lot of companies go wrong by automatically assuming that they need one or the other—that you can’t have an in-house marketing manager and work with a digital marketing agency too.
The truth is that it’s often a great idea to have one person within your organization to represent your company’s needs and unique niche, plus a team of subjective third-party experts who stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and algorithm changes. Best of all, they can work together in harmony!
When you have both in place, you can rest assured that all angles of your company’s digital marketing campaigns are adequately assessed, making it easier to create campaigns that really resonate with your target market.
Furthermore, the combination is a great deal if you’re a large enough company to have more work than a single team member can handle but aren’t ready to have an entire dedicated in-house marketing department.
Hiring Tips for Agencies and Support Staff
After you’ve decided to hire a marketing manager or find the right digital marketing agency—or both!—then it is time to find the right candidates for your needs. However, this task is sometimes a little easier said than done. Here are a few tips to consider.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Experience and Skills
These days, just about anyone can claim to be a content or social media expert. Instead of just taking a candidate or agency’s word for it, be sure to ask for references or testimonials. Discuss prior projects and results to get a sense of whether they truly have what it takes to increase brand recognition for your organization.
Be Ready to Pay for Quality
Those who know how to get results in the digital world are worth their weight in gold. That means you’ll need to be ready to pay for the quality you require, whether you’re working with an individual or a third-party agency.
Ask for a Trial Period (But Give It Enough Time)
It is perfectly acceptable to ask for a trial period to see if the process is working for your business. However, you should also ensure you give it enough time for results to take hold. Digital marketing success rarely happens overnight, so keep your timeframes reasonable.
Wrap Up: Why You Should Consider Both an In-House Marketing Manager and a Digital Agency
When it comes to solidifying your digital presence, having someone knowledgeable to help your business succeed is critical.
Are you still trying to reach a decision in the in-house marketing vs. agency debate? We would love to answer any questions you might have. Please contact our ER Marketing team today to start the conversation.