Odds are this question has crossed your mind at one point in time if you’re a small business owner: “Should I hire someone in-house for marketing or continue to seek outside help?”
So many small business owners are afraid to hire marketing people internally. Where do you even start? And is there something wrong with keeping your marketing in the hands of an outside consultant?
Not exactly, but there comes a point in time when you need to stop renting marketing and own it internally. Here’s why.
The difference between owning and renting marketing
First, let’s define what owning marketing vs. renting marketing really means.
Renting marketing is when you’re seeking outside help from a consultant or an agency to market your business.
Consultants are usually your strategic partners. They can help you with high-level strategy, things like defining your ideal client, crafting core messages that set you apart, sharpening your brand identity, optimizing your website, or building your blog.
Owning marketing is when you hire a marketing person internally to handle routine things like writing content for your blog, creating social posts, getting reviews for your business, managing your communities, public relations, working on referral programs, and more depending on your industry.
There’s a time and place for both. And there’s a sweet spot smack dab in the middle where ‘owning’ and ‘renting’ will work hand in hand. But more on that later.
Why you can’t abdicate your marketing
It’s common to delegate what you can as a small business owner. Marketing is one of those things that gets delegated most of the time. But when delegation becomes abdication—then you’ve got a problem.
Too often businesses have ‘someone looking after their marketing’. But when you look beneath the surface, it’s less about having someone effectively run their marketing and more about being a convenient opportunity for business owners to check the marketing box and turn their attention elsewhere.
When you’ve just abdicated and hired random people, you limit your bottom line results, and you aren’t building a long-term internal asset.
Consultants can’t be your entire marketing department. They can only carry so much on their plate, and they won’t have the opportunity to know all of the intricacies of your business as well as someone internally would. If you want to get your business to the next level, it’s time to start building an internal team.
How digital channels add complexity
There are so many digital channels out there available for you to use today—which makes managing them all so much more difficult. It’s nearly impossible for one person to do it all alone.
Not only are you responsible for the strategy for each of the channels that you choose to use, but without help, you’re also in charge of the implementation and execution.
Small business owners need help with marketing, but they often don’t want to hire.
Why small business owners don’t hire for marketing
Business owners are often skeptical about someone coming in to help with their marketing—whether it’s in-house or even on a consultant basis—so much so they don’t hire marketing people for reasons like:
- They don’t see marketing as a priority—few business owners have a marketing background, and while great marketing can deliver, most don’t want to spend their time (or money) on it.
- They’ve been burned before—a lot of times small businesses have had a bad experience with a marketing guru of some sort or they’ve hired a marketing person who ‘knew’ how to manage social media, but didn’t have any broader direction when it comes to marketing strategy. (And that’s because there often isn’t a bigger strategy.)
- They can’t justify the cost—small businesses often have limited resources. Hiring is a commitment. It’s an upfront cost, and the ROI isn’t instantaneous. But your costs should pay for themselves quickly if you hire the right person.
- They don’t know how to hire or train the right person—business owners (usually) aren’t marketers. They often don’t know what to look for, where to find talent, or how to get someone up to speed successfully.
But small business owners can only do so much on their own. There comes a point in time when even the skeptics need to re-evaluate and consider getting help if they want their business to continue to grow.
The natural progression of a mature business
When a business matures, growth becomes stagnant, and sales slowly begin to decrease.
This is when it’s time for your business to be shaken up. You hit a certain threshold where you can only grow so much, and you can’t do it all as a business owner. You’re already spread thin. If you want to take it to the next level, having an internal marketing team is key.
You can combat slowed growth by upping your marketing game. Whether it’s researching ways to reach new audiences, creating new product offerings, building referral programs, focusing on new platforms, you need to refresh your growth in the marketplace.
And with stronger marketing efforts and an internal person dedicated to taking care of those things, you can do just that.
Get help but plan to make marketing an asset
When an outside consultant or advisor is your entire marketing department, you can only reach a certain level of growth.
I mentioned earlier that there’s a sweet spot smack dab in the middle where ‘owning’ and ‘renting’ marketing work magically together, hand in hand. Where you can really win is when you marry an internal marketing hire with your strategic partner.
A marketing consultant can help you with the strategic component like the plan, the operations of the plan, the analysis of results, and ensuring you remain on track on working towards your big goals.
Meanwhile, the internal marketing person who knows the intricacies of the business (or soon will) can be directed by an outside resource—like a Marketing Consultant—to execute on this plan and craft messages that align with your strategy. This is how you get the best of both worlds.
By hiring internally, you end up building an asset for your business. But that still brings us back to one of the biggest blockers for small business owners—how do you find, hire, and train the right internal marketing person?
Well—we’re creating a program to solve this exact problem.
We’re using the proven Duct Tape Marketing systems to build a Certified Marketing Manager Program. The program comes with an experienced consultant armed with a proven marketing system and a personalized training program based on your business for your marketing team (even if that’s just one person).
We will teach your team how to build, run and implement a custom marketing system tuned to evolve as you grow. We can even help you find and hire the perfect internal marketing manager or coordinator.
It takes the daunting task right out of your hands. And this is exactly what you need to get to the next level.
So, this all sounds great, right? But you might still be wondering how exactly these 3 roles work together and who’s responsible for what. We’ve created a visual ‘What’s Your Role’ Map that shows you exactly how the business owner, in-house marketer, and your marketing consultant’s roles and responsibilities work together in the Certified Marketing Manager Program.