When starting out, businesses are confronted with one big decision to make:
Hire an in-house marketing team or outsource to a marketing agency? Well, the answer is not that simple.
If you go the in-house route, there is a good chance you might end up burning your budget on payroll. Outsourcing, on the other hand, isn’t rosy either – someone might unintentionally damage your company’s reputation.
While a hybrid of both options may seem like a great fit, it isn’t always the case.
Now, before going into the nitty-gritty, it makes sense to first analyze the factors that will ultimately affect your decision-making process as a business owner.
A great chunk of every start up’s fund will ultimately be channeled to marketing – if there are no customers, the death of a business is inevitable.
Generally speaking, established companies with huge marketing budget can comfortably afford to keep a house full of marketers. But for the Jack Welsh looking to launch start up – most likely on a shoestring budget – employing a team of marketers is an expensive adventure.
So, it suffices to say startup will be disadvantaged should they chose to go the in-house route.
2. Brand Image
A ruined brand image can, well, ruin your business. Since marketing is intertwined with brand building, an error, even the minutest, can prove disastrous.
Things can easily go wrong when a third party is saddled with the responsibility of promoting your business. The desire to achieve “results” quickly can make an agency resort to black hat marketing techniques, against your knowledge. Should this happen, your brand image could take the hit – bad business for you.
To that end, doing your marketing in-house might make sense because it gives you 360-degree control.
Why throw away money at something that doesn’t yield meaningful results?
It isn’t that easy to strike a balance between hiring a marketing team and outsourcing it to an agency from the standpoint of efficiency.
You could end up hiring “promising” employees who only come to work to idle away on Facebook, and still get paid at the end of the month. There is a good chance you could outsource to an agency good only at giving excuses.
Here’s the thing: if effective time management is your sole aim, in-house wiring might prove abortive.
If, for instance, your business requires little man-hour, or involves frequent one-off projects, outsourcing is the best decision you will make.
4. The Big Picture
Where do you see your newly found business 5 to 8 years from now? Even if the picture isn’t clear yet, one thing that is sure is this; your business will need a team of dedicated employees. It takes time to build one you know.
Like the popular Chinese proverb says: the best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago – the next best time is now. Getting the gist?
To further guide your decision-making process, let’s consider the pros and cons of each of two PR models.
Outsourcing: Benefits and Drawbacks
Okay! Let’s kick off with the benefits first
- First off, outsourcing, to a very large extent, is cost effective. There won’t be need to pay for employees’ insurance cover, bonuses, gratuity, severance package; you name them. Payments are only made on completed projects.
- Hiring the services of a third party marketer saves you money on employee training. Also, it saves businesses the trouble of employee turn over.
- Outsourcing lets you tap into the expertise of marketing professionals who might be too pricey to hire in-house. Should outsourcing to an agency prove cost abortive, hire a freelancer – most are good at what their craft.
How about cons? Oh, outsourcing has got a bunch.
- Loss of control: The agency or freelancer you hire could be in your backyard or on the other side of the world. Whatever be the case, you won’t be able to closely monitor what they are doing, and this means less control for you.
- Great chances of running into messy legal issues: An external party might infringe upon someone else’s intellectual while promoting your business. Should this happen, you, and not the third party agent, will be held responsible.
- Can be cost prohibitive at times: Some marketing agencies charge thousands of dollars per month just to find you leads. If care isn’t taken, you could end up burning up your money with nothing to show for it.
- Another problem you could run into when working with a third party is coordination problems. This will mostly happen when you are working with two agencies at a time.
In-house hiring: Benefits and drawbacks
- A formidable team of employees is one of the key assets in the arsenal of every business. Build one now and you will forever be grateful you did.
- Faster coordination: A lot of coordination is required in every marketing campaign. If you were to hire an in-house team, the process will be a lot smoother and faster.
- A dedicated team of employees can easily buy into a company’s culture and run with the company’s vision. This is unlike a marketing agency whose sole aim is to deliver results and get paid.
- Companies with in-house employees tend to have more credibility in the eyes of investors and banks. So, if your business isn’t settled yet on securing funds yet, you might have to give in-house hiring a go.
- It takes a great deal of luck and work to find talented employees capable of delivering results – you might not be so lucky. Even when you do find them, you will most likely go through troubles keeping them.
- High training cost: It costs money to train employees. Besides, experienced marketers still need of some sort, and the cost of such training will rest squarely on your shoulders.
- Generally costly. The cost of maintaining in-house employees goes beyond monthly payroll to insurance cover, holiday cuts, and retirement benefits.
Making a Decision
The path to business success is a long and uneasy one – only the well prepared eventually make it at the end of the day.
Before making a final decision as to whether hiring in-house or outsourcing, do a thorough background check.
If cost effectiveness is your priority, outsourcing is clear-cut. In house hiring, on the other hand, is a great fit if the future of your business means the world to you.