Published in AccountingToday on February 13, 2013
by Sarah Warlick, copywriter and editor
This question comes up again and again for many firms. To clear up the lingering confusion and make things simple for you, bbr marketing is willing to go out on a limb and say definitively: It depends.
With that out of the way, let’s all take a break. Oh all right, we won’t. But in truth, the answer to the question of outsourcing or hiring to meet your firm’s marketing needs really does depend on a variety of factors. And the answer may vary at different times even within the same firm. Both in-house marketing staff and outsourced help bring distinct advantages and many firms combine the two to reap the advantages each carry.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons, using this nifty infographic. As an outsourced marketing firm, we recognize that we may be biased. But we fully recognize that for many firms, direct hires make more sense. We enjoy working with firms as their only marketing partners as well as working alongside the in-house marketing teams of our clients that have them. It’s all about what works best for you and your firm, and that means asking yourself a series of questions.
First of all, do you have the financial option of hiring an in-house person to handle your marketing needs? When approaching this question, include costs for a salary, benefits and the space and equipment that the new team member will need to do his or her job well. Just as with outsourced services, these numbers can cover a broad range reflecting ability and experience.
It’s not cost-effective to simply go for the cheapest option in either case. If you’re going to spend money on marketing, it’s wise to hire or contract with someone who specializes in your industry and has sufficient expertise to give you the most bang for your buck. While that doesn’t automatically demand a high-dollar or well recognized name, it does mean you want an individual or team with a track record that gives you confidence.
Finally, keep in mind that the costs for your new hire do not include the expenses for the actual marketing efforts. You’ll still need to pay for media buys, direct mail, websites and their associated costs and all the rest.
If you’ve decided you can afford to hire, the question becomes, “Should you?” The answer won’t become obvious until we examine a few more angles. For example, do you have enough work to keep a marketing professional busy 40 hours a week, year-round?
Marketing can cover a lot of ground, between designing and implementing specific campaigns, handling social media accounts, researching new ideas and creating opportunities for your partners and staff to network with the right contacts. If your firm can regularly provide the demand for such services, then hiring is a reasonable option. If, however, your marketing pro is likely to wind up addressing envelopes or spending time doing other things that could be handled by an intern or general administrative assistant, you’ll be paying more than you need to and courting frustration. Creative and experienced marketers aren’t happy stuck with work that doesn’t allow them to use their skills. Outsourcing may be the best choice in this situation.
In subsequent posts we’ll explore this question further and would love your input as well. It’s a consistent and important issue, and one that most firms face at one point or another.