Should I hire an agency or an employee?
If you are like many small to medium sized businesses, a question that you will have to answer at some point is "should we hire someone to handle ____?", and fill in the blank with whatever the particular need is. This can be an easy decision if the need is so great that it requires the full-time attention of a staff member, or if you are able to train one employee to handle a range of smaller responsibilities.
This is a world filled with endlessly changing technology, and every company competes for the eyes of each potential customer on social media and the web. With that at the top of the priority list, many companies make the decision to invest in a full-time marketing employee who gets the job of designing and/or maintaining the company website, feeding the social media outlet with marketing materials, and investing a great deal of time in pushing the message of their company. All too often, unless your company is ready to create an entire marketing department, and invest in the type of people (graphic designers, programmers, content writers) who are able to make your company stand out, the responsibilities of this job quickly overwhelm the one employee designated for the task.
Marketing is not just about training someone to do the job, and giving them the tools necessary to get it done. By the very nature of the personality type, creatives often get distracted or even bored when they are tasked with promoting only one brand, day-in and day-out, because of such a limited outlet for their creative expression. While there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, the burn-out rate is often higher with creative types than with task-oriented employees. For this reason, companies either find themselves trying to run a marketing department with an often high turnover rate, or they spend a great deal of time attempting to motivate the staff who have decided to stick it out, but who lack any real direction or imagination to create high quality content to brand the company.
Hiring a skilled professional who can create content, design graphics, and tie it all together in a digital environment is not only out of the budget for many medium size companies, but it also creates a permanent position for what is sometimes a front-loaded assignment, such as a new website or a marketing campaign. Some companies opt to send one or two employees to a training seminar on how to create marketing tools, or they take a do-it-yourself approach with existing employees who have little or no expertise in marketing. Many times, hiring an outside agency is looked upon as a last resort, because it seems more costly than keeping the marketing "in-house."
Admittedly, hiring an outside agency to handle your marketing and advertising does not have a 100% fool proof track record. It isn't the solution for every single business, every single time. However, more often than not, hiring an agency works to the advantage of small to medium sized businesses, simply because for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee with the necessary skill set, you can hire an agency that already employees many of those people who have the proper skills and are ready to work for you.
Another advantage of hiring a creative agency to work with you is that your company will seem new, fresh, and will inevitably spark ideas in the minds of the agency professionals who are working with you on your project. It is amazing how a fresh approach from the outside can sometimes be the answer to giving your company the marketing edge.
The decision to hire an agency, or to hire an employee really has to come down to the individual needs of your company. Your needs may lead you in the direction of creating your own marketing department or hiring a marketing "person" to handle these needs. For many businesses, hiring an outside professional can sometimes be the least stressful, and many times costs a lot less than even a part-time employee.