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If you are a business owner, it can be a tough call deciding whether to employ a marketing team in house or to outsource your marketing. It’s no secret that as a full service agency ourselves, we vote for the latter! Full discretion.
When we first meet new clients we are often asked, “what’s the point of using an agency when I have someone in house that can handle the SEO, design and marketing at a fraction of the cost.” Well… We believe that the best in the business tend to gravitate towards an agency. Because if you truly love what you do, you’ll want to be surrounded by other creatives that share your passion. So although your in-house marketing manager might be very good at what they do (and very knowledgeable about your company), their skill set might be limited, and managing the various elements of your marketing could be overwhelming.
The beauty of an agency is that you don’t just get the expertise of one. You don’t just get a burger. You get a burger with an extra patty, double cheese, onions, relish and a side of fries. And, if you’re happy with a burger, maybe you’re just not that hungry!
Over the top metaphors aside, let’s break it down. Why should you choose an agency over in-house?
2014 Apprentice Winner, Mark Wright, recently spoke with the BBC saying there was a ‘huge shortage’ in digital skills. His own digital marketing agency, built alongside Alan Sugar, highlighted the significant lack of knowledge in this field of marketing. Over the past 10 years, marketing has become increasingly focused on the online world, and it seems that businesses are being ‘left behind’. We are only just starting to recognise digital marketing as a desired and valued role, and a lot of companies are a little slow off the mark. In May this year, Wright said, ‘I have 14 roles immediately available and over the last month we’ve had one application.’ The BBC reported that 40% of the UK’s population in fact lack digital skills, which actually doesn’t surprise us, we know the skills we have as an agency are niche, and very sought after. So rather than fishing in the ocean for a goldfish, why don’t you just grab a net and find a pond full of them. (Yes we’re comparing our people to goldfish but we’re smart – promise).
As we mentioned (providing you find the right candidate to fill your in house marketing position) your in house marketer should have a wealth of knowledge about your industry and your competitors. That’s great. What an outsourced team brings to the mix is a variety of different skill sets. This prevents tunnel vision when it comes to marketing, and gives them the experience of marketing plans that have worked for other industries which will cross over into yours. Bringing you something fresh and different, with a proven track record that will set you apart from your competitors. You and your team provide the industry knowledge and your outsourced agency will bring the rest to get your business noticed.
You are not stuck with your agency. It is not difficult to choose another, so they should never become complacent. They will work to your budgets and timescales, in order to have a happy customer at the end of it. As creatives, they are likely to be as passionate about their campaigns as you are about your business, and will love to see you and their advert or marketing campaign succeed. Far from the doldrums of working a 9-5 the variety they experience in their working day will keep the fire in their bellies…giving you the best concepts to choose from, every time.
It happens only too often, due to staff shortages or busy periods your employees don’t always end up carrying out the tasks they were employed to. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s covering another colleague or taking minutes, employed marketing executives aren’t always given the time they need to put their full focus into marketing your business, delivering SEO tactics or networking. A leading SEO agency will continually revisit your stats, offer regular clear reporting and tangible results. They will form a marketing strategy for your business and stick to it. If for any reason they don’t see the result they were expecting straight away, they have the time to take stock, get creative and use their knowledge to get you back on track – before you even notice a downturn.
It may seem on paper that the employment of an internal member of staff is a cheaper option than utilising an agency and if you choose a junior with little experience, it may well be the case short-term. However, if you are looking to employ a member of staff with the same calibre of skills you find in a well established and professional agency, you will be hard pushed to find someone that can be bought for a song. An agency only charges you for the actual work carried out and their fee includes their software overheads and the purchase of fonts, that you would otherwise have to invest in separately. As a business owner you will know that employment comes with its own set of costs too, such as initial recruitment, national insurance, pension and sick pay to name a few. In addition an agency is always on hand and a good one will be there for you whenever you need them, without annual leave of absence being a factor.
Agencies shout about their clients from the rooftops. Whether it’s from a blog on their own website or in a conversation at a networking event, if an agency values you as a client (as they should) they will spread the word on your behalf. Not only that they are usually only too happy to put you in touch with their other clients should they spot a potential collaboration.
A full service digital agency will offer you the complete package of developers, designers, copywriters, marketing executives and SEO experts all in one place. No one person can be an expert across all areas of offline and online marketing unless they have eight arms (and as many heads). To make it successful you need a team which quickly becomes expensive and by outsourcing your design, development and SEO work you can find these skills all under one roof.
Nu Image, for example, is first and foremost a melting pot of creatives. We are a proud collective of people who genuinely love what we do, and are the reason we have organically evolved over the past 15 years into a full service digital agency.
If you already have a member of staff in house that can manage some of your marketing or you want to keep your hand in with the direction your marketing takes, that’s great. Don’t chuck them out! A professional agency will help with as little or as much as you need. They will liaise with your existing staff, advise them on how to get the best from your social media and support them to drive your business forward.
If your target is to be the best in your industry, you need to have an understanding of the ever changing market that is SEO and online marketing. A well appointed SEO agency will be only too aware of Google’s latest changes to its algorithms and will ride the wave of the digital revolution. Amendments to Google’s rules could see your rankings plummet if you don’t make the right changes – and fast. An agency worth its salt will keep its staff up to date with any new updates. As for graphic designers and developers, if they are working within an inspirational and creative agency, they will have the desire to research the latest trends and have time allowed to them to be innovative. When it comes to your work, they can develop concepts that hit the mark promptly or transform your initial ideas into an effective campaign that works for your business.
Ultimately, if you have the ambition to make your business a success (and you’re hungry enough for that extra patty and pickle), the right agency will feed your passion and help you achieve the best results possible.
If you are considering trusting an agency with the digital marketing for your business, talk to us, we’d love to help you out!