In-house vs freelance vs agency: who to get to help with your marketing?
Struggling to find the time for your marketing and social media jobs? Thinking of hiring someone in to lend a hand? There are three options most businesses will consider; hiring an in-house expert, using a freelancer or an agency. But how do you decide what’s the right option for you? This short blog will take you through some of the pros and cons of each, and help you make the right decision!
Pros – There are plenty of benefits to hiring an in-house marketer. You’ll have their full attention and capacity, they’ll get to know your brand, business, and customers very well and they will be able to turn their hands to the whole spectrum of marketing activities and will grow with your business, developing valuable expertise along the way.
Cons – There’s one really obvious one – the money. Wouldn’t it be incredible to be able to hire someone for every business function? But alas, for the small or medium business owner, having a dedicated marketing professional represents too big an investment. This means that the duties usually fall to the one person that can cover anything in the business, the leader – probably the person who has the least time to do it, which ends up leading to neglect. So maybe hiring a freelancer is the way forward?
Pros – Freelancers are very flexible, and generally very professional. You can’t make it as an independent with a bad reputation (well, not for long at least) so generally speaking, you get a breadth of experience and skill. They’ve got their own systems and are efficient with their time, and you can pay for pretty much whatever you need. Sounds perfect, no?
Cons – Their flexibility can also be a hindrance. Because they’re often engaged on a casual basis, it’s easy for them to drop you should a bigger and better opportunity come along. That’s not to say all freelancers are mercenary, not at all. But just that this is a risk to think about, especially if you have a niche brand or nuanced personality. Businesses take time to get to know, however, well you know the systems, so sometimes freelancers aren’t the ideal solution for those concerned with continuity.
Pros – We think agencies represent a good balance between these two options. They can be contractually engaged for long periods of time, to allow the relationship, knowledge, and continuity to grow, whilst only charging for the services that you need. Most should offer you a bespoke package of marketing skills, along with a dedicated contact who should feel like part of your team in no time. And if any of this changes, a good agency will have a transparent succession plan so you’ll always know who’ll be in charge of your brands’ public voice.
Cons – There are some bad agencies out there, there are some with ridiculously high fees – as in any line of business. The risks of dealing with any supplier are present, but an agency should represent a more stable partner than a freelancer, but without the commitment of an in-house employee.
Final thought: Clearly there’s no right or wrong answer, and as an agency ourselves we’ll be the first to admit we’re biased. But hopefully this helps break down the basic factors in decision making, and of course, if you’d like to chat to us about your social media and marketing needs, then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!