Should you hire a marketing agency or hire in-house?

Every day people call us with an array of questions, many of which end up becoming the basis for an article; if one dealer is asking the question, then many others must be wondering the same thing.

Anyhow, a customer of ours asked, “If you were in my shoes, would you hire an agency or hire someone in-house?”

Of course we said, “Agency, agency, agency!” Not really — believe it or not we do think there are pros and cons to both. And, often, we like to ask ourselves what we would do if we owned our clients’ companies.

So, in a non-biased approach, here are our thoughts when considering whether to outsource or hire an in-house marketing person.

Let’s start with in-house. When hiring someone experienced to handle your marketing, plan on spending anywhere between $5,000 and $6,000 a month. If a candidate wants $3,000 a month, you might want to keep on interviewing. A seasoned marketing coordinator will know how to create a plan according to your company’s goals/KPIs. And more importantly, he or she will know how to implement that strategy. An in-house person will understand your value proposition like none other, will know and understand your processes, will be able to work closely with your sales team to gauge how marketing efforts are working, will have a quicker ROI report, and will have the ability to adjust on the fly if campaigns need adjusting or pivoting.

Also, when it comes to hiring in-house, look for someone with a few strong skill sets. We’d suggest maybe someone with graphic design skills and Web design — and since we’re creating our own scenario, sprinkle some SEO skills in there to make sure you're found online.

So there you have it — Marketing Madmen’s secret sauce on the perfect candidate to handle your in-house marketing needs.

But what if you want to hire an agency? What are the benefits? What should you look for?

The benefit to hiring an agency is that, for the same price or even cheaper, you can hire an entire team, not just a single person. So, more than likely, you’re going to get an expert in Web design, graphic design, SEO, PPC, marketing strategies and more, and they are all at your disposal, working together to help your company to grow.

Another big benefit we see is that most agencies will continue to push ongoing education. If you’re more than 35 years old, you understand how much the world, technology and marketing has changed. So if you hire in-house, make sure to calculate in your annual budget ongoing education, because if you’re not keeping on top of social media, SEO, PPC or marketing trends, you’re going to be left behind.

Here at Security Dealer Marketing, because we’re industry niched, when we bring on a client we call them family members. And that’s because we all watch out for one another; our clients are comfortable with sharing insights and results. When a customer comes across a new find that helps increase their lead count, we’ll pass that info into all of our other customers’ marketing efforts to help them as well. So, when interviewing an agency, ask if they share new findings from other clients to help increase your campaign as well.

Another benefit of hiring an agency is it’s easier to drop them if their performance is poor, unlike an employee.

So what are some downfalls of hiring an agency? We hear the same horror stories from dealers across the nation about past agencies they’ve hired, such as holding domains, websites and graphics hostage; underperformance; horrible customer support; sudden disappearance; double dipping; and much more.

Reporting and adjusting may take much longer also. By the time you schedule a meeting or are able to get someone on the phone, days may have cost your company hundreds of dollars.

So make sure you’re comfortable and feel secure with any agency you do decide to hire. God knows we’ve been guilty of falling into some of the pitfalls mentioned above. No agency is perfect, but if it creates a solid marketing plan, reports, hits agreed upon goals and is generating a ROI, then you’ve got yourself a good agency.

Sometimes our article is only enough to wet the whistle, but we hope you found some insight or learned something to help you decide what’s best for your security company. Until next time.