There seems to be a certain scepticism when considering hiring someone to handle marketing tasks; particularly during the startup process of a company. Do we have any budget for this? What type of marketing should we be considering? Isn’t it simple enough to do ourselves? Decision paralysis is a horrible thing.
When it comes down to it, many businesses choose the do it yourself option. Marketing is one of the only expenditures where it is difficult to predict real value. You can spend money on a product designer and get a product. You can spend money on a receptionist and get quality customer service. You spend money a marketer, and all you get is a belief, a belief that the actions they take will lead to higher sales or greater brand awareness.
Starting up your business and handling your own marketing isn’t such a bad idea. Sometimes it is difficult to share your vision with others, making you the best person to get to the place you want to be. Marketing is often referred to as the face of the business; the entrepreneur being the face of the business adds to your credibility and is often attractive to customers, (E.g. Levi Roots the face of Reggae Reggae Sauce)
Another common route is to involve freelancers to work on specific marketing tasks, e.g. conducting marketing research, producing press releases and designing the brand image. This may be good for short one off tasks, however professional freelancers usually charge higher amounts for their services and are making them just as expensive as hiring someone for the business. Their flexibility depends on the other projects they are working on, which can make for an unreliable option at times.
So can you handle your own marketing?
There has been a shift in marketing tasks across all industries to include less traditional channels and more digitally focused tasks. There are a number of different software packages that aim to make the ‘time-consuming marketing tasks’ simpler, and quicker for both experienced marketers and newbies! This means start-up businesses are naturally becoming more confident in managing marketing tasks without additional help. As an example of this, ‘Email Integration Software’ like Mailchimp allows you to create personalised emails in minutes and send them to as many contacts as you may wish. SproutSocial allows you to schedule social media posts and you can also conduct market research on automated platforms such as ZappiStore.
There is a downside that comes with managing your own marketing tasks. It may seem that marketing tasks themselves are getting simpler, it still takes a considerable amount of time to manage the marketing strategy, different marketing channels, and different software.
What we find is that as the company grows, the least important tasks get put to the back of the list and we come back to the same argument that marketing tasks show the least output. Consistency is key to successful marketing, and as the company grows and the entrepreneur becomes more busy, marketing often comes at a sacrifice. As the entrepreneur becomes busier, they also will find it harder to stay creative and adopt new marketing opportunities.
Sales have picked up, we are too busy to focus on marketing, I guess we can now justify hiring a marketer! This is often the case, and makes perfect sense now that the there is more budget to do so. However, hiring somebody at this stage can sometimes be damaging to the relationships you have built by yourselves. You will find that marketing the company is very much about the person behind it, so switching the face of the company can lead to a loss of integrity and trust. As this digital world progresses one may argue that the ‘face’ of the marketer is no longer of importance to the customer, as you can’t see who is behind a newsletter or behind a social media page.
It can also be more difficult to share the vision of the company with a new marketer when the journey has already began. They are likely to bring new and creative ideas that may sidetrack you from the original plan. Hiring someone from the start-up phase may be an expensive option , but it can help guide the marketing department in the right direction from the beginning, as opposed to jumping onto a ship that has already set sail, the marketer can grow alongside the business.
There are a number of factors we must also consider such as industry, experience, adaptability of the company. One thing that is certain is that the role of the marketer is not one that should be taken lightly and the decision should be justified by considering both the long term objectives of a company.
I welcome your thoughts, experience and opinions!