In House Vs. Agency Marketing – Which one is for you?

flat lay photography of macbook pro beside paper

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So your business has grown (or you’re just now starting!) and you’re in decision mode: In-House marketing or partnering with an agency/firm?

There are many positive factors to both. In-house marketing involves people who work directly for and exclusively with your company. It may consist of one person, or even a team that your company hires. As for an agency, they have specific expert employees who each usually specialize in different areas – public relations, digital marketing, graphic design, etc.

Both have qualities that can be very beneficial to your business. Here are some criteria that will help you choose which one might work the best for you.

Let’s look at their skillsets.

In-house marketing employees are paid to work for your business only. They understand your brand through and through due to direct training and are handpicked by your company. However, it’s difficult to find an in-house marketing person who is adept at all aspects of marketing.

Agency-wise, first you research and ask for referrals. They then need to be introduced to your business and brand and make sure they are the correct fit. For agencies, there are usually a good amount of multi-skilled employees who have worked in their respective fields, allowing for more diverse skillsets.

If only one marketing aspect needs to be managed, consider an in-house marketing team for your business. But for a company who plans on expanding or growing, marketing in only one aspect is rare so an agency might be a better fit.

Next, let’s look at the two from a creative perspective.

Some consider creativity to be in-house marketing’s downfall. There tends to be less creativity in a team that solely works for you and your brand. However in-house marketers do have a great understanding of how to combat your direct competitors.

As for an agency, they work with multiple clients that could be in very diverse areas. There is a lot of change and diversity creativity-wise that they have to produce. This exposure to different ideas can help generate creative ideas for your business.

Both can be useful for your business. If you find that your in-house team is in a rut, choose an agency. If you feel that you are confident in your in-house team, keep them on the project.

Then, let’s look at cost.

In-house marketing consists of marketing management that you hire. For example, consider the cost of salary when hiring one manager, or multiple marketing specialists full time. The cost of each campaign will depend entirely on your marketing needs. Crunch your numbers before making a decision.

It may seem less expensive to hire a single, on-hand employee for your marketing strategy, but expect a long hiring process, training, and guaranteeing that a person fits properly over a set period of time. Aside from salary, you will be budgeting for office space, benefits, computers, and programs they may need as well as training for those programs.

A marketing agency has a pre-set, and negotiable price in place when it comes to your campaigns. An agency pays for its own software, tools, tech, and training, which cuts any extra costs on your end. It may seem like more up front, but it might be less expensive for your business in the long run.

So which to choose?

Break down your goals and your needs to help you figure out whether to go with in-house marketing or a marketing agency.

If you’re still unsure about which path to take or just have questions about marketing agencies in general, ask us here at LJF Marketing! We have been serving our community for 30 years and are professionals when it comes to PR, Marketing, Advertising, Design, and more.

LJF Marketing is a full-service marketing communications company that is fully equipped since 1989 to help you create and enhance your company image. Through innovative marketing strategies, graphics, web development and advertising campaigns, your company can grow to exceed your ambitions.

 

Allow LJF Marketing to conceptualize IDEAS for your campaign. It’s our business to grow your business and we love what we do!

 

Advertisements

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Meeting with LJF Marketing

LJF Marketing wants to get to know you and your company, and as an experienced full-service marketing company, understanding your company’s objective and branding from your perspective is key to success!

Before meeting with us one-on-one, review these questions and answer them to help you convey your thoughts to us so that we can help you as efficiently as possible.

  1. Why are you interested in advertising/marketing? Is it to:
    1. Generate sales
    2. Introduce new products/services
    3. Outreach to existing customers
    4. Learning/teaching
    5. Increase awareness of your company/product
  2. What is your message? What message do you want to communicate in the first 3 seconds a visitor sees your website/ad/brand?
  3. What will attract an audience to your company/products?
    1. Public relations in news/publicity
    2. Place-based promotion – events, displays, sponsor booths, other live presentations
    3. Giveaway item/offer that will draw attention to your company/brand/products
    4. Brand recognition of product/service
    5. Design and graphics
  4. What is the brand image you wish to project?
    1. Examples – Conservative, Leading Edge, Contemporary, High-tech, Progressive, High-style, Established Values, etc.
  5. Will you need one time only marketing or use it long term? If so, what intervals?
  6. What are your competitive advantages?
  7. What kind of venues for placement? Where specifically for each?
    1. Online?
    2. Newspaper?
    3. Magazine?
    4. TV/Radio?
    5. Outdoor?
    6. Email/Blog/Newsletter?
    7. Press release?
    8. Direct Mail?
    9. Social media

Answering these questions will help us to help your business grow and prosper!

We appreciate your interest and look forward to working with you.

 

 

Founded in 1989 by Linda Freede, areas of expertise provided by LJF Marketing include public relations, graphic design, media planning, web page development, corporate branding, corporate specialty logo products and social media planning and support.

LJF Marketing provides full-service marketing communications support, serving local, national and international clients within a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.ljfmarketing.com or call 281-367-3922.

Message Crafting in the Midst of March

In the craziness of work, life, numerous tasks and even Spring Break, we often forget the main reason we do everything we do. The same is true of companies – it’s easy to neglect the purpose behind all of your business transactions when a lot more work is coming in than usual.

It’s crucial, however, to remember your purpose in times like these, and make sure it’s transferring to the way you promote and market your business. After all, doesn’t a sense of purpose get us through the busy times? When we forget it, our tasks seem to be more difficult and executed less intentionally.

The point: your company’s message should be an expression of your company’s purpose.

Here are a few facets where your company’s message should be present in any marketing campaign:

  • Graphics – did you know that even the color scheme you use is important in conveying your message? In certain industries, some colors are seen as negative, so you will want to avoid those colors in your marketing strategy and advertising campaigns.
  • Tagline – a tagline is a short phrase or statement that describes either what the particular campaign’s message is or what your company’s message is (in general). It’s necessary to have a snappy tagline so people know what your firm is all about.
  • Body (if needed) – Think back to when you wrote papers in college: you needed a thesis and the rest of the paper was supposed to back it up, right? The same is true if you’re doing a brochure, website, or anything other than an ad (you don’t need a body for an ad because too much text detracts from the core message); everything in paragraph form should back up your company’s message.

LJF_BT_MarAdvertising will turn into action with the right target, message and frequency. The message is crucial, but it’s just one part of the big picture.

If you need assistance with the right message or your advertising in general, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Love our content? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Reassessing Your Social Media Plan

Social media trends are constantly changing, so it is a wise idea to look at your social media plan every so often to see if you are keeping up with the trends. If you don’t try to capitalize on current trends, your reach may not be as vast as it could be. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re reassessing your social media plan:

Q: Are there any new forms of social media that have popped up in the last 6 months?

A: Probably, but it would seem the real question is: “are they useful?” MySpace, for example, recently tried to reinvent itself. We’ll see if that helps them long term, but it’s an example of a new social media platform in the market. If it looks like your business could benefit from being active on a new platform, you might want to add coverage for that platform into your current social media plan.

Q: Is your current activity generating anything (i.e. comments, likes, retweets, etc.)?

A: If it’s not, you need to focus more energy into the activity that is. If so, try increasing the amount of content you post a little bit, and see if you have the same results. If I’m posting links 5 times a week to Facebook with no feedback, then I should spend more time on Twitter (if that’s getting more of a response).

Q: Is there any research on the social media industry right now that I could look at to tailor to my needs?

A: The answer, is of course, yes. Look at different blogs and see what you find. Social Media, as a discipline, is always changing. Look at the information you can find and make sure you tailor your plan to work with it. For example, there are some times where it’s better to post on Facebook than others; however, when Facebook grew a lot, they changed because companies started blocking Facebook at work.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer in the comments below.

  • Don’t forget: if you like the content we’re providing, sign up for our monthly newsletter by clicking here.

The Art of the (virtual) Elevator Speech

An elevator speech at networking events is a key part of managing your message and spreading it to others. While this concept is no less important in the realm of social media, may seem difficult to translate it to such a platform. We’re here to answer your questions to make the process seamless.

 

Q: Where do I put my elevator speech?

  • A: The “About” section

On Twitter, this would be your profile. The About section may be found in different places on each profile (on LinkedIn, it’s under the “Home” section), but it’s typically the first thing potential customers look for.

  • Make sure your about section is visible to everyone. You can change this in your privacy settings. That way, people that don’t already like your page can get the information from a general search.

Q: What needs to be in it?

  • A: What your business does
  • Who it serves
  • How it serves
  • Why it serves
  • Note: This content is different from a sales pitch. You haven’t won that key meeting yet, so this is an opportunity to get someone interested in hearing your pitch.

Q: How long does it need to be?

  • A: Relatively short (I recommend 6-7 sentences)
    Sum up the previous 3 questions succinctly and with a concrete example or two. These sentences can be divided into short paragraphs for emphasis, if that’s your writing style. Similar to resume writing, you must get the point across quickly because you don’t have a lot of time to impress the reader. Give them enough to get them interested, but don’t waste time and energy giving everything away; peak their interest and they will come to you.

Q: How do I end it?

  • A: Tell the reader to contact your company today for more information, or lead them to your website.
  • Note: Make sure you leave all contact information. If someone has read this far, you would normally give them your business card; this essentially emulates that act.

 

Pressed for time? LJF Marketing does all of this in house, so contact us for more information. Until then, we hope this helps!

How to Use Social Media to Target Your Market

“Target your market” is a topic discussed quite often… but many business owners still do not understand what that actually means. To level the playing field, targeting your market is crucial to your business’ ability to turn interactions into profits.

Here are some examples of common misconceptions of what qualifies as a target market:
“Everyone who will buy my product”
“Men”
“Women”
“Soccer moms”

The problem with all of these perceived “target markets” is that they aren’t specific enough; you can’t target everyone. The gist of targeting is to be intentional with your efforts and understand where those efforts are being effective. Realistically, not everyone is going to want your product or service, so you are wasting time and money trying to cater to everyone.

Please note that just because someone is interested in your product or service and is outside of your target market doesn’t mean they can’t buy your product – it just means they are a statistical outlier, which is completely normal. Don’t let yourself falter from hitting the target because you fear alienating potential customers.

Now that we have a firm foundation on what not to do, we can discuss how to target your market by researching the market you already have. It’s surprisingly simple to do with fee tools like Facebook and Twitter.
Look at your customers’ interests.

  • Do most of your customers share a common interest and live in your area? That’s probably a good indication that you should try advertising to them. You’ll be likely to get more customers because people with those interests already like you. Look at your “likes” and “followers” – you can tell a lot from them about the support you have.

Look at demographics.

  • Predominant gender, age, socioeconomic status, cultural background, etc. can also tell you a lot about your customers. It allows you to see what may be important to them, since cultural backgrounds likely influence the person they are today. Look at these things to cater to what your current clients’ convictions are, and which will likely catch the attention of their friends through word of mouth.
  • For example: if you sell artisanal salad dressing, you might notice that most of your biggest fans are “foodies”. After doing some market research, you could probably tell that many foodies crave exceptional taste and often look for healthy as possible products, so if there are foodies that love your flavors, they may also love the fact that they can stay healthy using the product on a salad and as a marinade. Since one product satisfies both the need for health and the need for taste, sharing recipes that demonstrate these characteristics add an increased value to the brand and satisfy the demographic.

While these things may seem simple, they are effective, and free!

Are there any tips you have for finding the most loyal customers?

Source:
Inc.com