An executive search partner’s opinion on using a marketing agency
It’s a hot job market and everyone has more marketing work than they can handle. As an executive search partner, my clients often struggle with the question of whether they should hire internal marketers or a marketing agency to handle the demand. I tell them — the answer is both.
Here’s why: Marketing is a realm where needs and trends will always outpace hireability. I’d venture to say it’s a tale as old as time. You barely made it on Instagram before you found out everyone is on TikTok, you hired a copywriter but now you need a videographer; and, by the way, what the heck is all this talk about Web 3.0?
As marketing continues to evolve (and its pace will only increase) so does the variety of specialized expertise every company will need on its side.
According to a recent survey by Statista, 67.4% of small businesses said marketing was their biggest challenge because they do it themselves with a tight budget. That might be why 37% of them reported trouble getting ROI out of marketing.
Why then do so many businesses still think they can do it all on their own?
The myth of the do-it-all marketing department is dead
Whenever I place a Chief Marketing Officer in a new role, the first thing I tell them is “engage a marketing agency.” Hiring a partner is not a sign that your internal team isn’t up to the job, it’s just recognition that an external partner offers some things your in-house team can’t: specialized work, time, capacity, and no overhead.
Even if you have a staff of internal marketers, you can’t hire a big enough team to cover every marketing need. Regardless of size, every company will always have more work that needs to be done, and a need for different marketing skill sets than it makes sense to hire for. That’s why I believe all companies should have a marketing agency of record.
After the Great Resignation, talent left their jobs to find better roles — and they found them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the July unemployment rate was 3.5%. The Wall Street Journal reported that the number represents a 52-year low.
A combination of well-placed internal talent and a trusted marketing agency is the best way to optimize your marketing budget and gives you a lot of bang for the buck. With an agency, you get a whole truckload of talent for a fraction of the cost of your internal team.
Yes, you still need internal marketers; and they better be good.
Since marketing is moving at a pace that you can’t completely hire for, you have to hire better for the roles you do fill internally. That’s where I come in. It is vital that you fill a few key in-house marketing positions for a growing company: CMO and/or Director of Marketing should be first on the list followed by a Director of Content and a Digital Marketing Manager.
It is tempting to hire multiple, low-level marketers to try to fill up an internal marketing department with everything you want. That’s not how successful companies tackle marketing needs. It is more important to get the right people to the right positions so they can be effective at managing and overseeing the specialized services of the agencies you hire.
Your internal team is the architect of your marketing plans. They must be savvy enough to have a grand marketing vision and a firm understanding of your company’s goals, guardrails and pitfalls. They will prime the projects with savvy budgets, timelines and strategies.
Your agency is the crew, providing the extra expertise, specialty talent, technology and capacity to deliver the products that make the magic happen.
Together, you have efficient use of funds and the capacity to make a lot of marketing magic with a lot of flexibility to swerve when the market does. Businesses should bring in marketing agencies to bridge the gaps in graphic design, content creation, SEO, email marketing, video production, and social media, among other specialized skills.
My go-to marketing team
Far too often, I see internal teams bogged down by day-to-day issues mixed with high-level projects. This is probably the biggest factor in delivering you the highest return on your investment: giving your internal team the space to leverage their institutional knowledge to develop strategic plans.
Put your marketing strategy in good hands by working with the PS Partners team to hire the right internal marketers, and partnering with our friends at Content Matterz for the rest. Their team of marketers has decades of collective experience. They’ve seen everything and helped clients through it all, especially in the SaaS and tech industry. As a true strategic partner, you can trust them with the future of your company.
I always tell my clients, that if you’re thinking about hiring a marketing agency, your competition just did. What are you waiting for?