As you consider new strategies to stay ahead of your competitors and increase profitability, there are always two options in front of you – to either hire internally or work with an outsourced digital marketing department.
Ultimately, the choice will depend on your current situation, but I want to share a story about a CEO we met the other day.
Jin is a beauty entrepreneur representing hundreds of leading Korean beauty brands entering the UK market. She places them in stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Selfridges.
She had been considering hiring one person to do all of her digital marketing on an annual salary of around £40,000, but after hearing about the great results we get for our clients, she wanted to discuss how we could help.
As she mentioned each aspect she needed help with, from social content through to SEO through to paid social traffic, I pointed to a different team member who specialised in each discipline.
She looked around and said ‘There are so many of you!’. And that’s the point.
Hiring a single employee to cover the spectrum of needs for a successful digital marketing strategy is impractical and ineffective.
There is no way, that we would ask our content team to do the work our paid traffic buyers do, as the former are creative and content focused and the latter (whilst creative) live in a data driven landscape in which they compete, play against and ride the waves of an intelligent learning algorithm.
Equally, the media buyers wouldn’t have the success that they do without the work of our content team which helps support and drive results on all of their campaigns. Without our fantastic creatives, none of our brands would be getting traction in the marketplace no matter what bids or strategies our paid traffic buyers implemented.
Even within our content team, we have staff specialising in videos, graphic designs, blog posts, email marketing, social content and community management. We don’t even have a SINGLE person responsible for content as there are so many different forms of content required.
Yes, all the areas of digital marketing work together to provide a single digital marketing strategy. But the disciplines are different, each requiring years of training, ongoing learning – and of course, doing. It’s a powerful ecosystem, and one that produces the best results.
There is a myth is that all you need to run a digital marketing strategy is a ‘young person.’
Please forgive me while I fall around laughing. Personally, I’ve been generating leads and sales for my own businesses purely online for the last 12 years. The foundations we have set as a team and I have gained through constant learning over the past decade mean that I know we can never stop learning and doing.
So, before taking a decision to hire marketing staff for your business, you should consider the benefits of outsourcing marketing to a digital agency instead.
And yes you can say I’m biased because I run Bolt Digital and so have a vested interest in promoting an outsourced marketing department service like the one we provide, but I believe it’s the most informed, wise choice.
Finding the right talent
I know from hiring for Bolt Digital that finding just one role can be challenging, imagine building an entire marketing team.
Even in our diverse team, I want everyone to have the same basic skills – writing, media production, editing, a love of content and an innate understanding of how to communicate direct to consumer.
The content skills are really just the foundation of what the team needs.
Then let’s bring in an ability to play and win in the social ad buying landscape, a place in which you use creativity and targeting to win at auctions and play an algorithm, not in a casual way in which you sometimes win and sometimes lose, but in a way in which you always win…..
The only way a single agency like Bolt can provide integrated services is by having a number of people with different areas of expertise working on each account.
We’ve been waiting OVER A YEAR for one of our clients to bring their social media marketing in house (the scope we do for them currently includes photography, video content, copy and commmunity management). It was ALWAYS their plan to hire an inhouse person.
We’re still waiting. And why. Because they cannot find any single person who can do what we do. And that is because there isn’t a single person at Bolt Digital working on their account, they have FOUR team members on their account each with different talents.
This means that for a fixed price, either for a particular project or on a retainer agreement, you get an entire team of experts at your disposal.
It’s easy to forget that the cost of a new employee goes way beyond a person’s salary. It also includes recruiting, training and other intangible costs which can be elusive. In fact, a study published by the Centre for Economics and Business it was found the average employment cost is £35,500 per worker.
By outsourcing work to a marketing agency, you can future-proof your business without the risk of investing time and resources in an employee who doesn’t have the right experience or is simply a bad fit for the role.
No training required
This week two distressed business owners came in to see us. They have blown through tens of thousands in developing a website and running ads which have come to… wait for it…. Zero sales, despite having an inhouse digital marketing person who once worked at some big brand somewhere.
Why are their sales not working despite having an inhouse employee with an impeccable CV? Well because a ‘big brand somewhere’ has a proven product and sales process and a giant inhouse team so all this person previously had to do was read data and work on strategy. Yes their CV but looks good in reality they (self admittedly) have zero idea about the actual tech set up to drive actual sales, let alone any of the doing that needs doing, ie the content, the media production, the videos, the funnel builds etc.
If you work with an agency or outsourced digital marketing department, you’ll be working with people who have been there and done that. Chances are that the agency in question has already worked on a similar project and knows what works best and what doesn’t. This means that their advice can help you prevent common mistakes. Because agencies work on so many accounts they have tried and tested processes which you can benefit from.
No training costs
Oh and an extension of the above. Any digital agency worth its salt trains staff on an ongoing basis because they know that everything in digital changes all the time and that what works now will not work this year. We spend thousands of pounds per year on giving our staff who may one day become your outsourced digital marketing department access to all the best gurus in the world, to learn directly from the masterminds, keeping us up to date with the latest best practise.
There is no one-size-fits-all training solution. You need to create a custom learning and development program that addresses the challenges individual employees face and the needs of your business. Preparing a thorough development plan involves having a person responsible for executing the training, creating training materials, among many others.
The best thing about working with an agency is that you don’t have to go through the whole training process, their staff already have the depth and breadth of skills needed.
You can focus on what you are best at, and let your outsourced digital marketing department focus on what they are best at.
If you’re focusing on other activities for a couple of hours every day (training and managing your in house digital marketing team), rather than the core of your business, your talent is being wasted.
Outsourcing part or all of your marketing initiatives means that your team will also be able to focus on the areas where they can make the best use of their time.
You don’t have to worry about annual leave
A key to successful marketing is consistency. However, staff with numerous responsibilities or understaffed teams may feel overwhelmed when they cannot deliver on time or targets.
This situation gets even worse when even one team member is on an annual leave.
By outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency, you can relieve this pressure off your staff while ensuring that all deadlines and targets are met.
Two (or 20 heads) are better than one.
Some of our clients don’t outsource their entire marketing to us. We are flexible, and have the aforementioned team to successfully work on all, or select elements / projects. For a couple of our larger clients, we initially work together to find those pain points within their existing marketing, and take one those particular parts to fix them, working alongside their existing in house team. It’s not an all-or-nothing deal, our prerogative is ensuring our work is fit for purpose and we are always flexible in the ways we collaborate with our partners.
There is no doubt that you know your business better than anyone else. Nevertheless, outsourcing your digital marketing will bring an additional, fresh perspective to your business, point out the gaps in current strategies and provide you with solutions. At Bolt we provide a number of different strategic and financial solutions to really empower our partners to keep growing fast. And the whole team is a part of identifying these opportunities and coming up with solutions.
We’ve built Bolt from the ground up – learning the intricate details of successful digital marketing by doing it, running successful campaigns for everyone we work with. Rather than a faceless agency, running your campaigns without consultation or explanation, we pride ourselves on an effective, powerful partnership that works for both of us.