Deciding whether to hire an agency or to hire internally to fill a marketing staff position within your company can be an exhausting and challenging decision. In my professional experience, there are definitely pros and cons to both.
Why should you read this blog and trust this info?
Let me tell you a little about myself. I started my career straight out of college in the late 1990s. I was fortunate to land an entry-level job in Account Services at one of Kentucky’s largest ad agencies. An ad agency, big or small, is filled with frenetic and contagious energy - mostly creative, sometimes divisive, and always an exciting ride. I have met some of the most dedicated, hardworking, passionate, and brilliant people over the span of my career while working in an agency environment.
In the early 2000’s I was offered a Marketing Director position at an eyewear design company that happened to be one of the clients. At the time, I remember feeling like I had struck gold. I could apply all the valuable skills, lessons, and marketing tactics I learned at the agency directly for a company. Instead of being just the “middleman”, I could actually play a major role in a project from start to finish. I was young, bold, and ready to prove myself. I went on to have great success helping launch multiple brands in the eyewear category, including designer brand Vera Wang, one of the highlights of my career and allowing me to frequently travel to big cities like NY and LA.
Over the next 10+ years, I met my husband and we started a family, and eventually found myself back in the agency game. During this time, I also found myself working as the Senior Director of Marketing at a local non-profit to now leading the Account Service team at VIA Studio. Side note: that local non-profit is now my client :)
Ok so now you know about me and why I could be considered a reliable resource on the subject of whether you should hire an agency to help with your marketing efforts or if you should hire internal marketing staff. I’ve literally been on both sides of the fence!
Why You Should Work With An Agency
One of the biggest benefits of using an agency is the ability to tap into some of the most skilled, creative, and knowledgeable people in the industry. Whether hiring a large or small agency like VIA, clients gain access to:
- Team of experts (Strategists, Marketing Gurus, Media Buyers, Art Directors, Designers, Content Specialists, Developers and more)
- Years of experience - Experts in their fields
- Skilled professionals in tune with the latest trends and emerging technologies
- Pump out great ideas all day long
- Tapping into an outside perspective on your product and/or marketing needs
To me, this last point is the real key. The biggest challenge I experienced while working on the “client-side”, was that our marketing ideas and efforts were a reflection of my own talent and level of expertise, and that of my collective team’s. So let’s be honest here - it’s very easy to get complacent, do what is already status quo or what feels safe. When you work “in a bubble”, it’s often hard to go out on a limb and try new ideas because you might already know what has worked (or not) in the past or you have prior experiences with how the CEO or VP might want something executed.
Why Recent Clients Choose VIA
Several of our clients recently hired VIA to assist with their branding, marketing, and website development work in the place of hiring internally. Both Foxhollow Farm, a biodynamic grass-fed beef farm, and Louisville Parks Foundation, a local foundation that raises funding for Louisville’s Public Parks, recently hired VIA to help with their branding, website, and marketing initiatives.
Both had recently lost a staff member working in a marketing role and instead of filling that position, they chose to use the budget for that salaried position to engage with VIA. One of the main reasons both of these clients engaged with us is to gain an outside perspective on their business and help reach their business goals.
Our work for Foxhollow Farm includes:
- Consolidation of websites
- Integration of POS system providing easier and efficient business solution
- Marketing expertise to drive online sales
In the case of Louisville Parks Foundation, as a non-profit not only do they have to make every dollar work harder, but they also have a small staff who wear multiple hats. Our work includes:
- Elevate their branding
- Grow awareness for their important mission
- Utilize experts to act as an extension of their own team.
With both these new clients, instead of using that salaried position on one person, they now have the benefit of an entire team of experts.
Why You Should Use Internal Marketing Staff
There are absolutely advantages to having an internal marketing department. One being that the team lives and breathes the brand and product(s) every day, they understand the nuances of the industry at a much higher level than an agency. Granted, after proper onboarding and given ample time, any reputable agency should be onboarded to your industry, product, and marketing goals fairly quickly.
Working on both the agency and the client-side has been immensely rewarding and beneficial for me as a professional. There are definitely pros and cons to both, but without sounding too biased here, hands down if you are looking for fresh, creative ideas and wanting to stay at the forefront of marketing and website trends, hiring an agency is a worthy investment.
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