I often work with many organizations that don’t always have marketing departments (or may have one person on staff wearing multiple hats, marketing included). So when is it appropriate to keep your marketing in-house and when should you hire out your marketing? Here are five suggestions:

1. Leave design work to professionals

Microsoft Word is not a design program. Hiring out your design work, whether a brochure, a business card or an entire brand identity package, will not only save you time, but will put you in the hands of someone who works directly with printers, has knowledge of correct file formats and can give you expert opinions on color trends and typography.

2. Social media: Do what is right for you, but above all, be consistent

If you’re looking for custom landing pages, social media strategy development or measurement, you may want to work with an outside agency to get you started. You may even want help in the beginning stages to learn about listening, monitoring and placing your content online. Developing a comprehensive content marketing strategy will be key in the years ahead. Keep in mind that once you get started with social media, you need the resources to maintain your content on those channels and engage with your audiences. If this means hiring additional support, do it. Social media should definitely be a line item in your marketing budget.

3. E-marketing is most successful when using third-party services.

Although you may have the capability to send mass email messages to your contact lists, you’ll get better bang for your buck (and time) if you use a third party. Additionally, there are many email stipulations that you don’t want to get flagged for (no one wants to be coded as spam). You can go full-out and hire someone to provide e-marketing strategies, plans and content calendars or just manage the physical e-marketing campaigns (such as an e-newsletter). You’ll be able to track results, test subject lines, see who is clicking on your links and run your content through spam filters.

4. Hire out for your initial Web needs; manage the daily content yourself.

If you’re in business, you need a website. And your website can be a huge selling tool and easy way to engage your audience and provide a one-stop-shop of information. Our suggestion? Work with a designer and/or programmer to set up your initial site and conduct key word searches to optimize for SEO (search engine optimization). In addition to your website design or programmer, make sure you’re working with a content team to set up your overall online content strategy. Some of these can be one in the same, many are not. Once the development is complete, you can be the owner of your content and website updates or, if you think that will also eat up your time, enlist the help of your content agency to maintain the content on your website as well.

5. Two heads are better than one.

If you have a small staff or have a hard time “thinking outside the box” when it comes to your marketing plan, don’t be afraid to bring in a consultant. Someone on the outside may be just what your organization needs to get you excited about new ideas and initiatives to kick-start your marketing plan. However, if it’s just a matter of making time to sit down and craft your plan, start there first. Get together with key decision makers at your organization and see what needs to be done. If it’s outside the scope of your own capabilities, then you may want to look outside.

The bottom line? It can be a mixed bag of sorts. If you have the time, the energy and the expertise, there are some aspects of marketing that you can keep in-house. If you’re not sure where to start, if you need specific campaign help, or if you just need some creative marketing collateral, hiring out may be the way to go. Do what you’re good at and leave the rest to the experts.

And if you’re still not sure, ask. Sometimes looking through a proposal of what someone else could offer is helpful in making that decision whether or not to hire out. We’d be happy to talk through any of the above suggestions and scenarios with you and your team. Feel free to give us a call or fill out our contact form.

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