Day 19: Should I Hire an Agency or Staff Member?

Day 19 of 30. Let’s talk about hiring an agency versus hiring a staff member.

In this context, we’re talking about somebody who is just kind of into marketing, at a starting salary, not necessarily an hourly worker. Somebody who is really learning on the job. Your thoughts might have been, “I’m growing my marketing and so I’m going to grow my team with my marketing and they’ll learn as I learn and we’ll go from there.”

That is one way of thinking about this. Now, let me tell you some problems that you’re probably going to experience along the way. Not to be contentious, I just want people to make good decisions and be informed. So, a lot of marketing is pay-to-play. You have to pay to get the media made, you have to pay to get the web built. You have to pay Google, you have to pay Facebook. There is a large quantity of expense associated with this kind of enterprise and activity, and you should be budgeting well for this so that it’s not taken as a surprise. Turning most of that budget into payroll for this person is problematic because that person is going to say, “Thank you for hiring me, what’s my budget?” And you’re going to say, “You are the budget.” And now you have a high level of expectation for this person’s role, but you’re not giving them the resources by which they can execute well. 

They’re going to work their hardest and they’re probably going to pick up a camera and try to figure something out, but because they are not tenured, you have to manage them. So you have to give them some goals, some KPIs, something that they need to start tracking that might be bottom-line. It might be “bring me six customers,” or “I want to grow this audience.” 

But the reality is, now you’ve created a management job for yourself to hold those dollars, that person, that person’s salary, and that person’s time accountable. All good marketing is held accountable and it is all tracked to prove that accountability. And when you hire a starting staff member, a lot of those systems aren’t built yet and so it becomes problematic.

Agencies are a little bit different. We come ready to build in those systems.

We’ve done it before and we know how to do it. It’s a lot more cost-effective because now we’re building your systems without having to build your payroll tax, without having to build your Christmas party, and that sort of thing. So a lot more of your dollars are a lot more efficient as they go out into the market and are able to bring you ROI. They’re able to bring you a customer base or an audience base. That, my friend, is a distinct advantage of hiring an agency. 

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