Want to get the most bang for your marketing buck? Hire an agency.
You’re a growing business, and you’re looking for ways to improve your marketing. Your first impulse is probably to look for a new employee. But you may be better off working with a marketing agency instead. While agencies often appear expensive at first glance, they can actually be more cost-effective in the long run. Here’s why.
1. Agencies provide a broader skill set than a single person.
Marketing covers a broad range of skills, and every individual has their strengths and weaknesses. You need someone who can handle copy, SEO, digital advertising, branding, social media, and graphic design, but you’ll be lucky to find any single person who has mastered more than two or three of those skills.
On the other hand, when you work with an agency, their hourly rate is effectively a bundled package of all the diverse skill sets of their team. A portion of your time is going toward the social media expert, a portion is going toward the chief copywriter, a portion is going toward the graphic designer, and a portion is going toward project management.
2. Employees are expensive and (through no fault of their own) inefficient.
The average annual base salary for a marketing specialist is $70K, and that’s before you calculate employment tax, benefits, and the HR resources needed to hire, train, and support a larger staff. And that’s just for one employee.
What if you only have enough content writing and social media management time to keep one person occupied for a quarter of the month. You can’t expect that person to also handle graphic design and video production—not without paying to educate them in an entirely new skill set. So now you’re hiring a second person to be underemployed, just to handle the portion of work that the first person doesn’t know how to do.
Your employees are hard workers, eager to prove their value, who will doubtless find ways to fill their down time. But, despite their best efforts, it simply won’t be the most productive use of your hours.
By contrast, a monthly, 40-hour retainer with our team costs 60K annually, and there is no down time in that retainer. You’re only paying for the best hours the agency has to deliver, and those hours will be well spent.
3. Agencies are a scalable resource.
Having a lot of down time in an employee’s schedule is inefficient, but at most companies, it’s unavoidable. There’s often a boom and bust cycle with marketing work, where some times of the year are overloaded with work, and others are slow. This means that, when a big project comes through, your employees can find themselves feeling drained and exhausted by the sudden influx of work.
This results in an odd paradox: when times are slow, your marketing team isn’t at its most efficient, because there’s not enough work. But when times are fast, your marketing team also isn’t working at its most efficient, because they can’t manage the load.
On the other hand, an agency can ride with the slumps and surges of your business with ease. Not every client has the same busy cycle. The holiday season, which is packed for ecommerce retailers, is slow for corporations where employees are taking time off. A landscaping company that needs to ramp up marketing for spring and summer will slow down right when a school is gearing up for the start of the fall semester.
Furthermore, while you can’t hire two or three employees to handle a marketing campaign overnight, an agency already has those employees ready to go. When a big project comes up, an agency can put more of their team members to work on it, helping you get the project out the door on time, even with a short turnaround.
4. Employees leave and take their experience with them.
Let’s say you’ve found your perfect employee. This marketer is experienced, savvy, and driven. They are disciplined in keeping up with all the latest developments, and are showing results month after month. They’re a real asset to your team. You hope they never leave.
… and then they do. They leave because this amazing incredible employee with the wonderfully marketable skill set understands what they are worth. And unless you’re ready to increase their salary (adding to your expenses), they will find someone who can offer them more.
In fact, these kinds of employees often end up at agencies. Why? Because an agency can pay them top dollar by using their premium skill set across a range of clients. And that means that, if you want to work with top talent, you’re probably going to have to work with an agency. That’s because…
5. Agencies are driven by market pressures to keep their specialties up to date.
When you hire a new employee, they become specialists of your company and your company’s brand. This may sound like a good thing, but it’s usually not. Many businesses are so wrapped up in their own brand and company culture that they can lose sight of the big picture, which includes their customers and their competitors.
Furthermore, without a range of other projects to work on, your marketing team can lose track of new developments. The employee you hired in 2010 who blew you away with their SEO knowledge has spent the last decade working on internal campaigns and is still following the practices they learned when they signed on. Your social media strategist is so wrapped up on Facebook that they haven’t researched Instagram. Without exposure to outside challenges, the talents of your employees are growing stale.
A marketing agency can’t afford to fall behind the times. If their skills aren’t sharp, they will be unseated by a competing agency. But, by working with a range of clients, they will continue to bring fresh ideas to the table even years in to your working relationship. And because that relationship is built to last, your agency will get to know your business just as well as your employees in all the ways that matter.
The combined impact of all of the above can get your business further, faster.
Imagine hiring an employee with a diverse range of specialties who can work as many hours in a week as you need them to and will never leave you for a better job elsewhere. That’s what you get when you hire a marketing agency.
We can build a marketing strategy for your company from scratch, or we can work with your existing marketing team to supercharge their current efforts. In fact, we often find that the marketers within the organizations we work with are our strongest advocates. They know the value we will bring to their team, and we can help them manage a tight workload in ways that will cause their own work to shine.
So, if you want to get the most efficiency out of your marketing budget, talk to us. You’ll see the results in your bottom line.