Should Contractors Hire In-House Marketing?

In 2019, there’s no shortage of individuals calling themselves marketing “experts.” And why not? With access to a wealth of free information, it’s easier than ever before to understand the basics of digital promotion along with the terminology that surrounds it. Furthermore, marketing degrees are now more focused on the digital aspect of advertising than what was prevalent before the internet’s great emergence. So education in both formal and informal instances, is available, and individuals have taken advantage. But what do contractors need to know?

The quandary for many contractors is whether or not to hire what is known as an in-house marketer. These positions are employed directly by your company and essentially place the onus of your promotion a single individual. There’s appealing aspects to going this route, but there can also be a significant number of downsides that are often left unconsidered. Additionally, there’s a tendency for contractors to “upgrade” their marketing department by hiring someone in-house, when that may not be much of an upgrade at all. Here’s what to know:

Strength in Numbers

Criticism of the in-house marketer model is not necessarily an indictment on the individual themselves (although it could be). Any single individual expected to run a successful digital marketing campaign is being set up for failure. Even the greatest marketing employee at national firms cannot handle the frequency and diversity of tasks that are required for success. Having a team of marketers (Agency, Company, Firm, etc.) is most advantageous to contractors. Because let’s face it, web design experts can fix an HTML or CSS error, but a PPC or SEO specialist is less apt to handle such issues. Of course, some experts have a diverse set of skills that cover a range of specialties, but sometimes resumes are misleading, and marketers who are really that skilled are going to be working for massive salaries for major companies. Still, with an agency model, you can cover the range of talents with a team of experts, rather than one person. Some things to consider moving forward:

  • One person cannot handle a digital marketing campaign in its entirety
  • Teams of experts generally have more diverse skill sets than a single person
  • For marketing wizards (elite of elite) who can handle everything, the salary is outrages

A Range of Skill Sets

As we mentioned, a single person shouldn’t be expected to know everything about every subject that influences online marketing success. Designers are often coming from a programming background with education to support it, and a knowledge of HTML, CSS, schema code and much more. That same person is unlikely to know how to craft ideal content for your website, which should gravitate towards user experience and readability. Skill sets like these are not necessarily compatible, but you need both of them to succeed online. Other skills include social media strategy, link building, public relations, branding, graphic design, pay per click management, along with several other specialties. There are outlier cases where an individual but might hold expertise in several or even all of these areas, but they are likely working for NASA right now and good luck out bidding them. The more realistic approach is to focus on a multi-faceted marketing approach. Here’s what to remember about skill sets:

  • Digital marketing requires everything from web design & SEO, to content writing & PPC
  • The skills most commonly associated with design seldom translate to content marketing
  • Outlier cases are rare, and are usually reserved for individuals out of any reasonable price range

Managing a Team

So what if you as a contractor hired multiple marketing employees? What if you have enough funds coming in now that you can afford to do so? These are questions that are most commonly raised to discredit the strength in numbers argument. If a contracting company can get the numbers, don’t they automatically get the strength? No, and here’s why. You as a contractor, don’t know how to manage marketers. Sure, you know how to manage contractors, whether you are in the roofing, plumbing, HVAC, or any other industry, you know how to hold your employees accountable. But one thing you don’t have experience with is marketing. So how can you hold web designers responsible for schema code microdata when you don’t know how to verify it? How can you measure an SEO specialist’s performance through Google Analytics when they are the ones setting up the account? You cannot. And that’s why contractors, even those of them successful enough to hire a team, should invest their resources in a marketing company that can hold their own team of experts responsible, which is usually the more affordable option. Here’s why marketing management matters:

  • Contractors might be able to afford multiple marketing employees, but would be unable to manage them
  • Managing contractors is probably second nature to you, but marketers are another realm
  • Agencies or firms not only have full teams of marketers, but also those to keep them accountable

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Investing Your Resources

Aside from the mechanical downsides of hiring an in-house marketer, the financial implications are less than ideal. We noted that in-house marketing is often seen as an upgrade and something contractors can invest in after “graduating” from an agency who brought them some much needed online success. More expensive marketing is not always better for your company. There’s an idea that contractors who are having great success with lead generation should “think rich” and therefore go for the top-level perks. The problem with this line of thinking is that it doesn’t align with marketing success. You can get a better team of marketers doing more work for less money. That becomes simple mathematics and if recognized, can save contractors a lot of resources to allocate to other areas. In fact, investing more money in a marketing agency is more prudent than going entirely in-house. Our goal is not to be self-serving and urge you to hire our team of Webmasters, it is to help you make the most informed decision possible in 2019. Here’s what to know:

  • Marketing agencies are generally more affordable than in-house marketing experts
  • Contractors can receive more work on their online presence for less money
  • In-house marketing is often seen as a higher tier, but that is seldom actualized in practice