Considerations For Building Your Marketing Team: In-house Vs. Freelancer Vs. Outsourcing
As your business grows, so will your B2B marketing needs. If your company grows and your marketing doesn’t grow with it, your business will eventually stagnate. You must allocate more funds to your marketing budget when you can expand your marketing efforts for this reason.
Improved marketing capabilities are essential if you had a bare-bones marketing strategy when you first started. What little marketing smaller startups have is often done by individuals who have other responsibilities. It’s not uncommon for the owners of small startups to handle all of their B2B advertising.
When you have more resources to allocate to your marketing strategy, begin to put together an effective marketing team. But how exactly do you do that? After all, even if you have a bigger budget to work with, you’ll want to maximize that budget as much as you can.
The last thing you want to do is waste resources or put yourself in a challenging position should your marketing budget diminish in the future due to unforeseen circumstances. Building your marketing team offers you three options: you can build an in-house team, you can temporarily hire freelancers, or you can outsource to a professional marketing agency.
What Does A Typical B2B Marketing Team Look Like?
If an in-house marketing team does exist, then a VP of Marketing and a marketing manager are often in place to oversee everyone on the team. In this day and age, marketing strategies tend to be very expansive, meaning that there are many roles to fill.
The typical marketing team may include an SEO manager, a social media manager, a paid search manager, a brand specialist, a solutions engineer, content writers, a content editor, and more.
Certain Projects May Require Specialists
Note that some marketing projects require specialists who are needed on a long-term basis. For example, web developers are needed to help build or redesign your website. Programmers are required if you are going to develop an app. These are both positions that you may not need every day, but that may be essential for specific projects.
The Benefits Of Hiring An In-House Marketing Team
Businesses that have the resources to spare will often prefer to build their marketing department in-house. An in-house marketing team is essentially a team of employees that work solely for your company. Because they are employees of your company, you will have to pay them a salary (or hourly wage) and benefits.
Add to that recruitment expenses, onboarding and training expenses, associated costs (such as overhead costs and employment taxes), and more that you will be responsible for. While it can be quite expensive to maintain an in-house marketing team, there are some advantages to hiring internally. These advantages include the following:
More Oversight And Control Over Your Team
As you can imagine, when you hire an employee to work in-house, you have much more control over the work they’re doing. You can monitor your internal marketing team with greater oversight than if you were to outsource to rented marketers or hire freelancers.
For instance, you can require your team to work on-sight, which means you can physically keep an eye on whether your employees are productive. You can also use analytics tools to track individual performance and provide incentives based on achieving work goals.
In-House Marketers Have A Better Understanding Of Your Brand
Employees who work directly for your company are exposed to your company culture. They work with others within your organization, giving them a much better idea of how your company runs and what its values are.
Someone who’s been with your company for a year or two will have a much better understanding of your company’s culture, values, and beliefs than any freelancer or rented marketer will have. Such an understanding is critical to your branding efforts.
In-House Marketers Have A Greater Stake In Your Success
A freelancer will want to do an excellent job to ensure that they maintain their reputation. However, they will feel no obligation to go above and beyond the call of duty. Rented marketers will feel the same way — they are not permanent employees, which means they have no future with your company.
Your business represents nothing more than a job to them. It’s a lot different with full-time employees.
Employees who work for your company in-house inherently want to do their job well. If they don’t, they risk being fired, which will also hurt their ability to find work in the future. If they do well, they have stability (which includes long-term benefits and salary) and the chance of pay raises and promotions.
Employees have a personal interest in your company succeeding and will be more likely to work harder to help you achieve such success. If you treat your employees well, they will also be more loyal.
Clear Communication Throughout Organization
Poor communication isn’t usually an issue for outsourced marketing or freelance marketing; however, it can be. If you work with a reputable agency, odds are they’ll be very communicative. But, if you maintain an in-house marketing department, it will be easier to keep track of who is doing what and for various departments to engage with one another.
Communication throughout your organization will likely be smoother and more straightforward, forming easier paths of collaboration and alignment between departments. Of course, this does depend on your in-house efforts to encourage communication and cooperation as well.
The Benefits Of Hiring Marketing Freelancers
Freelance marketers are typically specialists that you can hire on an hourly basis to perform specific tasks. Most of the time, freelancers are only hired to help with short-term projects since they are not permanent employees.
Essentially, they are contractors, which presents some disadvantages when hiring a freelancer. First of all, they have no loyalty whatsoever to your company. The risk of being terminated won’t bother them nearly as much as it would an actual employee of your company since they can get another temporary job.
Secondly, they tend to do things their way, making it difficult for them to fit in with your team, especially if you have precise processes in place. However, there are certainly a few benefits to hiring freelancers on a short-term basis. These benefits include:
Fill A Temporary Gap For A Specific Project
If you need a specific set of skills to help with the completion of a new project, then hiring a freelancer may be a more cost-effective option than taking on another employee. It makes more sense if the role you need to fill is temporary.
You don’t want to pay for a full-time employee’s long-term costs if you don’t have any use for their skills once a short-term project is complete. Freelancers can come on board for however long you need them, and then leave as soon as they complete their job.
Reduce Costs Of Having To Hire FTEs
Although you will still have recruitment costs to account for when hiring a freelancer, you won’t have nearly as many expenses to deal with compared to the expenses associated with an FTE (full-time equivalent).
Freelancers generally have their own equipment and software, which means that they can often work off-site. And since freelancers are hourly employees, you won’t have to worry about expenses such as health benefits and retirement benefits.
Obtain Highly Specialized Services
The world of freelancing is incredibly competitive. There are many freelancers out there, all fighting for the same jobs. To stay competitive, freelance marketers must continuously improve their skills, which means they tend to offer specialized skills.
So if you have a particular role that needs to be filled on a project, odds are you can find a highly skilled freelancer that’s qualified to perform it. Because of their level of expertise, you won’t have to worry about training either.
Of course, there is a drawback to such specialization. The more expertise they have providing a specialized service, the more expensive they will likely be.
Less Management And Supervision Required
If you’ve hired an experienced freelancer, they should be able to come in and do the job with little fuss. Reputable freelancers have such a wealth of experience that they are accustomed to all types of projects, meaning that they can do what you hired them to do without supervising their work or managing their tasks closely.
Large Pool Of Freelancers To Choose From
There are more freelancers than ever before, especially in the world of marketing. Working from home and for oneself are attractive options for many, after all. If you have a temporary role that needs to be filled, and it requires a certain level of experience and expertise, it shouldn’t be challenging to find a freelancer who can meet your needs.
The Benefits Of Using An Outsourced Marketing Service
Outsourcing involves hiring a company to handle your B2B marketing needs on your behalf. They are often referred to as “marketing agencies” or “consulting firms.”
When you work with a marketing agency, they will provide you with various services, including consulting on your existing marketing campaign, developing new strategies, implementing those new strategies, and monitoring your marketing efforts.
Typically, agencies provide various plans, tailored to the needs of their clients. These plans are available for a flat monthly fee. The fee may be pricey (depending on the agency and the plan) initially, which is why some smaller businesses shy away.
Others simply don’t want to give up any control over their marketing to an outside party. However, despite these perceived drawbacks, outsourced marketing can be incredibly beneficial in the following ways:
Access To A Full Team Of Marketers With Experience And Expertise
Finding just one FTE or freelancer that has the specific skills and experience your team needs is difficult enough as it is. If you outsource to a B2B marketing agency, you’ll have no issues with this whatsoever.
A good marketing agency has access to an enormous pool of marketers, including specialists, with extensive experience and expertise. You’ll never be limited to the team you have in-house, which means that you don’t have to worry about your company’s existing resources when planning or implementing a new marketing strategy or campaign.
An agency has the marketers to be able to handle any project on your behalf.
Address Talent Gaps At Any Point
Even if you prefer to run your campaigns internally, a marketing agency can still provide you with hired marketers to fill any talent gaps that may exist. The ability to fill talent gaps will be beneficial since it will allow you to address your team’s temporary needs without spending time searching for the right FTE or freelancer.
You can also turn to an agency to slot into specific roles should any of your marketers suddenly quit or take time off, even if it’s just temporarily until you can find a full-time replacement.
Scale Up Or Down Based On Your B2B Marketing Or Budgeting Needs
One of the biggest challenges that any marketing department faces is the need to scale up or down, depending on how the business performs. If your business is growing, your marketing efforts should keep up to maintain that growth.
To keep up, your marketing department must be capable of scaling up. That can be tricky if you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your budget. You may begin dedicating more resources to your marketing only to experience a sudden stop in growth, in which case you may find yourself struggling to stay within your budget.
A marketing agency has the resources to scale up and down based on your needs. If your business is stagnating, then the agency can scale down with ease so that you’re not overspending on outsourcing.
If you need to scale up, an agency can tweak your plan and dedicate more resources to your campaign within a short period. Then you won’t be scrambling to take on more FTEs to keep up with demand.
Level Of Involvement And Management Up To The Client
Some businesses are hesitant to outsource marketing because they don’t want to give up control of their marketing to an outside party.
However, the level of control you maintain over your marketing efforts is dependent on what you want. An agency can take complete control over your marketing strategy, or they can supplement your existing efforts using their resources.
You can even keep the majority of your marketing in-house and use an agency primarily as a consulting service to help improve and optimize existing strategies or to fill temporary talent gaps. The level of involvement that an agency has is entirely up to you.
Monthly Fee Without The Typical Employee Or Overhead Costs
The costs of an FTE can be challenging to determine. Salaries vary widely based on the position as well as the level of skill and experience. Add to that all of the costs associated with a full-time employee, such as benefits, employment taxes, equipment and software costs, office space, recruitment costs, and more.
These associated costs are virtually eliminated when you outsource.
An agency charges a flat monthly fee, for which you’ll have access to all the skills and experience you need. Not only is it more cost-effective, but an agency is much easier to budget for.
You know precisely what you’re paying and what you’re paying for. It’s also easier to budget for an agency than it is to budget for a freelancer. Highly skilled freelancers typically charge a substantial amount of money on an hourly basis.
You can guess how long you’ll need them for, but you may need them for longer, making it more challenging to estimate how much they’ll cost in the long run./p>
Introduce A Fresh Perspective
If you’ve maintained the same in-house marketing team for years, your marketing strategy may grow somewhat stale. If this happens, it’s not necessarily the fault of your team. It isn’t easy to stay fresh if you’re working for the same company on the same strategy for years.
It can create a sort of tunnel vision. By introducing a marketing agency to the mix, you’ll also introduce a fresh perspective.
Rented marketers have experience working with different businesses in different industries. They have worked on strategies and campaigns that may have been entirely different than yours.
As a result, they can draw from lots of unique experiences and provide a new perspective that can help freshen up your marketing efforts.
Stay Up-to-Date on B2B Marketing Trends
A fresh perspective isn’t the only thing an agency can provide. A marketing agency must stay on top of the latest marketing trends to stay relevant within their industry. Most small to medium-sized companies have a hard time keeping up with such trends because they’re busy focusing on developing, implementing, and monitoring their own marketing strategies.
By working with an agency, you’ll automatically be plugged into the marketing world. They can help you identify new trends that will benefit your marketing plan and help you take advantage of new marketing opportunities.
Read more about the benefits of outsourced marketing here.
How to Choose Between Hiring an FTE, a Freelancer, and an Outsourced Marketing Agency
There are pros and cons to all three types of marketers to consider when addressing your business’s marketing needs. FTEs, freelancers, and marketing agencies all bring value to the table, but none are without their disadvantages.
The best way to choose among the three when building your marketing team is to evaluate your unique needs by asking yourself the following questions:
What Are Your Internal Marketing Team’s Current Capabilities?
Evaluating existing talent is critical to identifying talent gaps. Determine exactly what your marketing team’s capabilities are and where their weaknesses lie, both for short-term projects and long-term strategies.
Is the Need Long-Term or Short-Term?
Do you need to fill a long-term role, or is there a skill-set required for a specific project? It would help if you thought about this because the last thing you want to do is hire a full-time employee who won’t have anything to do after they help you complete a short-term project.
Are Your Needs Immediate?
How quickly do you have to address the need you have? Do you need to fill a role right away? Even if it’s a long-term role, if it’s a pressing need, you need to consider it. Hiring a full-time employee can take some time, which you may not have.
What Skills Do You Need?
One thing to keep in mind is that not all marketers who fill the same role have the same skill sets. For instance, one web developer may be more proficient in a specific programming language than another developer. A freelancer may cost you more just for one particular skill you need because they specialize in multiple skills. On the other hand, if you outsource, you will only pay for what you need.
Are You Working With a Limited Budget?
Your marketing budget has a significant impact on how you fill a need. If your funds are limited, it may be challenging to take on an FTE to address a long-term need. On the other hand, a limited budget can make it difficult to hire a freelancer who is a highly-skilled specialist for a single, short-term project.
You could re-evaluate your budget allocation to find money to address these needs. Another option is to outsource since a marketing agency can fill both short-term and long-term needs for a flat monthly fee.
What are Your Internal Project Management Capabilities?
Project management is crucial to the effectiveness of running an in-house marketing department. You will need the time to oversee multiple employees and to sign off on the work being done.
Freelancers will also require guidance and direction since they are more responsible for executing strategies than developing them. If you don’t have the resources to provide careful project management, outsourcing may be a better option. Agencies can manage all of your marketing efforts on your behalf.
Address Your Needs by Building a Balanced Marketing Team
There’s no fixed consensus about which option is the best choice for building your marketing team. It all comes down to what the needs of your business are.
However, you’re also not limited to only one of the three. Just because you’ve built a small in-house B2B marketing team doesn’t mean that you can’t also hire freelancers for a short-term project or seek a marketing agency’s professional services to help both in the short-term and the long-term.
To create a balanced marketing team while maximizing your marketing budget, consider using all three. A business that relies on in-house marketing, freelancers, and a marketing agency to develop and manage their marketing campaign will have much more flexibility than a company that limits itself to just one.