Time To Hire A Marketing Professional? Finding the Answer Can Be Tricky
For the course of the 15 years that I’ve been in the industry I’ve had the opportunity to visit with and participate on numerous communications efforts for a variety of organizations – private and public. For some reason, this morning, I thought about those organizations and began diagnosing the common thread that drove there decisions to hire support. Whether it be a big ad agency, social media shop or public relations firm. The answer is not all that surprising, but a variety of factors can drive that decision.
For most businesses, especially small businesses, the basic answer is that it’s easier and less expensive to contract than to hire full-time. Any business savvy person knows that an additional employee means taxes, scheduling, training, etc. Of course, I support the hiring of a marketing professional if possible, but a great first step into a more permanent marketing solution is to seek outside resources. For larger companies, who might have employees who specialize in marketing, the reasons can be different.
So what factors should you consider when hiring an outside firm? First think of your business objectives and goals. Then think about how much “lifting” you and your current staff can sustain. Finally, think about the type of people you want to work with. How important is experience? How important is creativity? Are you looking for one project or do you want to build a relationship that lasts years? This part of it is very much like hiring an employee. So be critical but also be mindful of people’s time. It’s important to make sure that you are absolutely going to do something. There is nothing that can bum out marketing professionals, or any other professional, than to get strung along only to realize the opportunity was never real.
So where is your business now and what types of support are out in the marketplace? In some instances it might be important for your business to dig deeper into your marketing plan and require you to seek the support of a strategic marketing firm. Strategic firms hang their hat on thorough market research including inquisitive competitive analysis and development of customer personas. From that research process comes pinpoint objectives, calendars, tactics and measurement. You could say that this becomes your company’s marketing “bible.” Medium to larger size companies typically hire these types of agencies because they have ability to pay for that valuable information and can afford the time it takes to compile, organize and plan that information. They are also paying for people who specialize in an exact components of marketing like media specialists, creative gurus and strategy whizzes. The fees are steep, but the results can be impressive and keep you in business for a long time.
Smaller businesses, including upstarts and newer companies rely on tactical marketing. There is a certain level of research but for the most part these companies typically have an existing client base and they know who they’re targeting for future growth. The strategy here is based on the knowledge of the business owner, their team and maybe their business plan. These businesses need a website that works, brochures, social media management, advertising, public relations, package design, etc. In this case, the best solution is to piece the tools by using an army of consultants to keep your marketing working together. Most of these situations require the small business owner to wear the marketing director’s hat and can require a larger role from small business team.
So is there a happy medium? As businesses grow there is a step that falls in between. This step is what we call “Brandvertising.” This intermediary step was developed by us to assist companies that were in a particular growth phase. Characteristics of of this group include being in business for 5 to 10 years. Currently have a staff of 3 to 10 people. Want to organize all their efforts, because it was pieced together over time. Feel like they want to learn more about their customers. Don’t want to make LARGE financial investments, but know that a move in this direction will be beneficial in their company’s future.
No matter where your company is the idea of marketing is important. No matter how much or how little you do. Every situation is different, but in order to sale you must stay out there! Remember the best marketing is your own enthusiasm, so get out there and MAKE A MILLION!
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