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

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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!

 

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Essentials For A Well Stocked Sales Kit

Whether your ideal clients are large or small, consumers or businesses, a lasting impression is required to seal the deal. While you may think a Word doc printed on the company copier is a great tool for your sales team to use – think again. An equipped salesperson needs the added credibility of a professional looking company; quite frankly, a Word document won’t give them an edge.

 

Let’s look at it from another angle. How likely would you be to hire a candidate who didn’t wear a pressed suit or outfit to an interview, and then handed you a wrinkled resume to review? Of course, it’s highly unlikely they’d get the job.

 

A well-stocked sales kit is your company’s interview attire. It allows your salesperson to put their best foot forward.

 

Here’s what you need to button up your sales team before you even send them out.

 

Business Card – This is most essential component. It’s your salesperson’s best asset. Get business cards before you do anything else. Make sure to include all forms of contact – including all social media information.

Pocket Folder – Busy people often lose things. Make it easy for your clients to find all the information they need to know about you with a pocket folder.

Brochure – Repeat after me: I will not use Microsoft Word to create my brochure. A graphic designer will create a custom and unique brochure with room for a bio, list of products/services offered, contact info and anything else that’s important to you. Have it professionally printed. You’ll likely get more results if you take time to present your customers an informative and visually appealing representation of your company.

Case Studies – These go in your pocket folder, with your brochure. They are the evidence behind everything the salesperson is saying and are a useful reference during a meeting if there are specific questions. A client list may also be included.

Product Sell Sheets – Perfect to shed more light on your specific product offerings, inserts can be, well, inserted based on which products your client might be interested in. That is, they make it easy to give them the necessary information, but give you the flexibility to choose which products to spend time discussing. This way, there’s less of an overwhelming amount of information and more discussion.

Your Story – Connecting to your client is key to effective communication. Include the history behind your business, where the idea came from, or interesting details that make your story personal, relatable, and honest. This will help with helping your client feel more connected to you and your company.

 


 

LJF Marketing has in-house design capabilities and printing options, so please contact us if you’re interested in tailoring any of the above sales collateral to your company’s unique vision.

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.

Eat Even More Ice Cream Using LinkedIn

We haven’t talked much about LinkedIn; however, it can be crucial to your business’ success and your professional life in general. We’ve outlined some thoughts to reach out to others on LinkedIn. With enough time and persistence, showing a genuine interest in your network connections will give you the opportunity to ‘grab ice cream’ with them.

Follow up every couple of months or when something major happens with your connections:

  • Especially with people you don’t see very often, it is nice to hear that people are thinking of you every couple of months. It will make it more likely that when the opportunity does arise for you to work together, things will work out, because you don’t simply come to them when you have a problem or need something.

Recommend someone:

  • LinkedIn has a tool, called “endorsements”, where you can endorse the skills listed on a contact’s profile with just a click. It takes just a little of your time, but will pay dividends – because who doesn’t like someone who says something nice about them?

Be active in groups:

  • You’re in a group, so why don’t you stay active? It’s definitely good to be a part of some larger groups, but exercise moderation and join some smaller groups so you can actively form relationships with the group members.

Reach out to people who have viewed your profile:

  • Use discretion on this one. If you have never met the person, this is probably not a wise thing to do. However, if you met this person recently, or have met them multiple times, then it’s probably a good idea to send them a note and try to connect.

Pass along leads:

  • If you see that someone in a related field is looking for a job and know of an opening at your company (or elsewhere) that they are qualified for, it wouldn’t hurt to send them the link to the posting. Even if that’s not the job they end up with, your contact will remember you when the tables have been turned or when they discover a new business opportunity . . . they will think of you.

Remember: LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Twitter. Your network is made of professional contacts, so always exercise caution in what you say. You can be somewhat casual, but refrain from making any tasteless jokes or anything you would not want to get out in the public.