There are many factors to consider when deploying an effective marketing program. While there are always trade-offs, the question of in-house marketing vs. outsourced marketing is most troubling for small to mid-sized businesses. The impact of this decision can have far-reaching implications that may create new operational issues, or worse, cause the organization to fall short of its goals.
If you have an internal team executing your marketing and advertising in-house, they may not have the experience of marketing efforts across the spectrum. Additionally, an internal team may often simply be stretched too thin. You may be spending unnecessary time, effort and money training employees to stay up-to-date with the rapidly changing marketing best practices. Depending on the scope of their responsibilities, this can be draining.
Three key questions come to mind:
WHY: What are you trying to achieve and why?
Of course, it is crucial to ground every decision with a foundational marketing strategy. Who is your target audience(s)? How can you reach them? What is their decision process? Who are your competitors? What specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be used to measure success?
We’ve seen some companies cite the fact that a competitor who has an aggressive social media outreach is the reason why they need to have a social media strategy as well. Of course, “more marketing” sounds like a good idea – but if the marketing is not prioritized and aligned with specific KPIs, it may miss the mark. It is extremely important to drill down on “The Why.”
HOW: What type of marketing channels will you use and how?
Deploying marketing efforts across all channels sounds like a good thing. However, if it is not executed well, it may fail to break through and drive results. Unless a company’s marketing department is well-staffed with experts in each area, executing an effective cross-channel marketing effort is likely to be a challenge. You could end up with a bunch of marketing resources trying earnestly to drive results. But they may lack the expertise or time to deliver effectively.
Agencies have expertise in many disciplines including strategic planning, copywriting, art direction, digital and traditional media, and coding, which work together to deliver your objectives. A good ad agency can help ensure that:
For small to mid-size companies, the “how” to execute marketing is critical. Many find that hiring an agency can be a great way to assemble a team of experts in all of the complex specialties that today’s marketing requires.
WHO: Who has the perspective and experience to challenge the status quo?
There are always a million conflicting priorities internally. Despite valiant efforts, even the best leaders and team members cannot retain an outside perspective. Their view often gets encumbered with what’s been done already, “that didn’t work” or what “can’t” be done. The value of an outside perspective is invaluable. An agency partner is the ideal source to get that outside perspective and the challenge to constantly strive for innovation and drive a vision for what’s possible (well beyond the expected). This perspective is particularly valuable with the launch of a new brand, product, or campaign when a creative vision is essential.
The question of “who” is critical to companies at any size. No matter how talented and experienced the team, it can be difficult to maintain perspective from within the organization. Sometimes an outside push is just what is needed to take marketing to a new level.
At the King Agency, we have worked with clients of all sizes, partnering with internal resources to ensure that the efforts are constantly tracked and improved.