One of the most frequently asked questions we receive as a full-service marketing, design and development company is “can you just handle our social media marketing?” While we understand the need for a quality social media manager, it’s unfortunately just not as simple as that. Without getting into all the minutiae, we thought now would be the perfect time to discuss the differences between in-house and agency marketing, as well as options on how to leverage the best of both worlds.
The main differences between an in-house marketing employee and a full-blown marketing agency are vast, but in the end, the comparison really boils down to expectations and results.
Hiring an In-House Marketing Person
When a business hires an employee to handle marketing in-house, the expectations are usually high and rightfully so. Not only should this person have a full understanding of marketing concepts and the current trends, but they also need to be able to implement them as needed. They should also have a thorough understanding of analytics and reporting, so that they can show you the results of their hard work.
Unfortunately, many businesses are not properly set up for analytics and reporting and if the marketing person you hire is not familiar with the more technical side of internet marketing, they will be unable to properly monitor conversions and assess what is working and what is not working. Basically, they will be set up for failure.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of skills needed to implement, monitor, and adjust even the most modest internet marketing campaign. Additionally, with the way the marketing landscape can change from month to month, it is essential for any professional marketer to continue their education in order to roll with the punches. This can be daunting for any one person, but there certainly are professionals out there who can accomplish the job. And though it can be costly for a business for the long haul due to the salary, if the marketing professional is truly at the top of their game, they will be worth every penny spent.
Working with a Professional Marketing Agency
On the other side, a marketing agency can bring a vast array of talent and experience to the table, without the overhead of a business paying a salary. While there are usually higher up-front costs, an agency can organize the work according to their internal staff’s expertise and prioritize a business’ needs based on a timetable, giving that business more bang for their buck. This also helps the agency retain quality staff, ensuring that not only will the business end up with a high-quality marketing plan, but that the best possible marketing specialists are doing the work for them.
Don’t Hire a Social Media Management Agency
Right now there are a number of “social media management” agencies trying to win your business. And though they have every right to try, a business owner must understand exactly what they are getting when signing on with one of these agencies. There is a huge difference between a marketing agency and a social media management agency, and it’s right there in the name.
While a marketing agency will cover all aspects of marketing, including social media, a social media management agency will only handle the “… online presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by creating, publishing, and analyzing posted content. In addition, social media management includes engaging and interacting with social media users.”
Although that may sound great, keep in mind that they do not interact with any other marketing endeavors or assist with web design or development. This is important to know because social media really only works at its best when implemented properly with a business’ website and marketing plans.
A Digital Marketing Checklist
Regardless of whether your digital marketing is handled by one or more in-house people or an outside digital agency, there are a number of skills a person or team should possess to operate with confidence in the modern digital marketing world and ensure the value and return of your marketing budget is maximized.
- excellent writing and communication skills.
- a thorough understanding of Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
- a thorough understanding of the underlying principles of organic search.
- a thorough understanding of search engine optimization (SEO).
- the ability to post on and edit your website platform, including metadata.
- a solid understanding of web marketing conversion principles and ROI.
- a deep understanding of analytics and reporting, including implementing trackable marketing assets.
- a deep familiarity with the most applicable social media platforms to your industry.
- creativity, enthusiasm, and the ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace.
Keep in mind that this list is just a starting point. Digital marketing can get incredibly technical and new technologies are expanding the digital marketing world on a daily basis.
Leverage the Best of Both In-House and Agency
As the marketing landscape transitions and trends come and go, one thing we’ve begun to see is the need for leveraging the best of both in-house and agency marketing options. Whether you’re a business just starting to build up your online presence or an established company wanting to streamline your costs, it can be difficult to find the best fit in regards to a marketing team.
It would seem having an in-house marketer would be the simplest solution, but the cost of a top-notch marketer may not be feasible. On the other hand, having a team of marketers through an agency might offer high quality and effective work, but there might be a sense of loss of ownership.
This is where we would like to suggest taking advantage of both! There are many quality employees with a high knowledge of current marketing trends available for hire, though they may not have the experience or expertise that employers want. At the same time, there are many well qualified and experienced marketing agencies who are looking for quality projects.
By combining the two, a business might just find that working the two in tandem offers the most effective and quality output. Not only will the in-house marketer retain that sense of ownership, but they will also learn at a faster rate by working with a more experienced team at the agency. The agency will also be able to contribute by ensuring a continuous, high-level of work and providing the utmost in efficiency.
What to Look for in a Marketing Person
When hiring an in-house marketing person, make sure to look for someone who will understand marketing needs for a small business, as well as someone with a full understanding of current social media marketing trends. You don’t need to find a social media “expert”, but you need to find someone who understands the evolving world of social media and how it plays a part in marketing your business.
What to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency
When hiring a marketing agency, be sure to find one that offers a well-rounded set of options, from web development to design, print marketing to digital marketing, as well as social media management. This way, no matter what your needs may be down the road, you will have a qualified and experienced team waiting for your direction.
We hope this has cleared up some confusion when it comes to deciding which way is the best direction for your business. Blink;Tech prides itself as a true tech partner, a team that will always look out for the best interests of their client. We also offer optimization for your current marketing needs while also focusing on your long-term success, resulting from years of experience and knowledge. Contact us today and see how we can help you make your mark!