In an ideal world, you hire both. But maybe that’s not an option. If you CAN do both, hire someone with a business background in house to work WITH your marketing agency. Let that person sit in your executive meetings and develop marketing strategy that aligns with the company’s goals. And then let that person work with the agency to execute the plan. If you’re forced to choose between one or the other, we firmly believe you should choose the agency. Here’s why.

A marketing agency has a variety of skill sets

The in-house person probably has a business background. Maybe an MBA, or maybe not. Regardless, he or she is a strategy person. His or her job is to learn the market and develop a plan, and then go spread your brand message, gain awareness and capture leads. Great. But when it’s time to strengthen your website, develop advertising, interact daily on multiple social media channels, design an email campaign, etc, etc, how’s it going to get done? In PowerPoint? Or maybe Microsoft Word?

When you hire an agency, you get much more. That includes the strategy person (or people) with the business background, but also graphic designers, writers, web developers and social media gurus. You also get all the systems they’ve put in place that have worked successfully for other companies. Instead of paying for the time of one person to do one thing, you’re enlisting a team of experienced professionals who can do it all.

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It makes sense financially

Let’s say you have a $75K annual budget. What do you get with the in-house guy? A $75K employee with that one skill set, payroll taxes, benefits, office space, a computer, a smart phone and supplies to support them.

What do you get with the marketing agency on the other hand? $75K allocated to the development of a plan, followed by the creative execution of ads, website content, social media content, email content, and the tools to measure and evaluate the success of it all. You pay no payroll taxes or benefits on that agency, and they have their own hardware, software and office space.

Creativity is invaluable

The MBA brings a lot of incredibly valuable knowledge and insight to the table. But in most cases, that knowledge needs to be translated in a way that speaks to your customer. That’s where the agency comes in. If the agency is any good, they come to the table with knowledge and insights too. They understand that the purpose of your marketing communications are to brand your business with a message that supports your company’s goals while generating and nurturing leads. The difference is that a good marketing agency is full of creative minds that are prepared to craft targeted messaging and design buttoned-up communication pieces to distribute that message.

I won’t make the argument that an in-house marketing position isn’t valuable. As I said in the first paragraph, both are ideal. But if you’re faced with the decision, really evaluate the possible return on your investment and I think you’ll see the extra edge brought to the table by an experienced industrial marketing agency vs. an individual. Follow this link for the complete guide to industrial marketing.