A pretty frightening and concerning trend seems to be emerging lately.
Owners of growing businesses are realising en masse the importance of digital marketing, and putting up ads for marketing managers like ‘lost cat’ flyers.
The concerning part isn’t the realisation that marketing is important (that’s actually a pretty good thing). What’s concerning is what these business owners are expecting out of the Marketing Manager role.
There’s no clear definition of what the marketing manager role should look like, and it varies from industry to industry and often changes with the size of the company. However, if there’s one thing we should all agree on, it’s that the marketing manager should be overseeing and, well, managing, marketing.
Expecting a marketing manager to write all of a company’s copy and content, run AdWords campaigns, handle design and development tasks, and maintain and operate social media channels, and have the capacity and energy to forecast and strategise is just absurd.
It’s like hiring an architect to design your house, and then asking them to come down and lay the foundation, install plumbing and gas lines, erect the walls, put on the roof, and paint and landscape the entire place.
It’s just not feasible, and there’s a reason why each of these jobs is contracted or assigned to an expert.
Before you go throwing your hands in the air shouting “To hell with marketing then!”, just wait a sec. There’s another solution…
7 Reasons You Need A Marketing Agency, Not A Marketing Manager
In most cases, when a company expects a marketing manager to plan and execute absolutely everything, they aren’t looking for a marketing manager. They need a marketing agency.
1. Expertise Is Everything
And nobody is an expert at everything.
Digital marketing is a massive playing field. Expecting your marketing manager to be able to tackle every aspect is like sending them onto the field of an NRL match alone. They’re going to get pummelled.
Your marketing manager shouldn’t even be on the field.
In an ideal world, your marketing manager is like the coach, setting up plays, pivoting and repositioning where necessary, and developing their players to reach their full potential.
The players, on the other hand, are your individual marketing tactic specialists.
You’ve got your fullback, your wings, your hooker, and your prop, and they are all expertly specialised in their individual niche.
In the marketing world, this corresponds to people who are expert graphic designers, web developers, social media managers, and SEO whizzes.
Having a specialist in each position of the field means they are focusing in on their one task, they know it better than anybody else on their team, and they can work semi-autonomously.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; this all sounds pretty expensive. Suddenly we’ve gone from hiring one marketing manager to an entire marketing team of 10+.
It’s understandable then how so many business owners are expecting so much out of the marketing manager role. It’s still inexcusable, though, because this is precisely where a digital marketing agency fits in to help you grow and scale your company.
Expert marketing agencies can flex and scale with you, and often, you can get a team of four or five full-time niche experts for the equivalent cost of a single employee!
2. Strong Time Management Gets Results
It’s long been established that multitasking isn’t always such a good thing.
In fact, it takes a huge toll and efficiency and productivity, as every time you switch tasks, your brain has to recalibrate and refocus, momentarily impairing your cognitive processing abilities.
We’ve all had those days where we felt like we just got nothing done because every five minutes something popped up, which took our attention away from the task at hand. It’s incredibly challenging to stay focused on a task and perform to the best of your abilities when you have so many balls in the air at once.
Those of us who have been in roles like this have probably tried a few different strategies for maximising our productivity, one of which is to split your day or week into chunks of time where you focus on only a single task or area of your role.
This is a sound strategy, and it does have tremendous results for your individual performance. But there’s a problem:
Let’s say you’re a marketing manager with 50 different things on your plate, and you’ve decided that Thursday is going to be your day for dealing with PPC campaigns.
You get in on Monday morning (your content writing day), and you’ve got a notification from Google that says there’s an issue with one of your AdWords. What are you going to do?
Leave it until Thursday? That could cost you a lot of leads…
But if you tend to it right now, then you’re going to eat into your writing day before you’ve even started.
Do you see the problem?
Inevitably, urgency wins out, and you end being back where you started.
By investing in a marketing agency instead, that concern completely disappears. You’ll have a case manager overseeing the entire strategy and execution, and a team of dedicated experts who aren’t just spending one day a week on a given task, they’re in it to win it.
3. Nobody Likes When Balls Get Dropped
To be fair, nobody likes being the one who dropped the ball either.
But it happens, and it happens all too often when marketing managers are expected to juggle too many, well, balls.
It’s not their fault, our brains are pretty powerful, but they have their limits, and we can only hold so many things in mind at once.
Even those of us with the best time management and to-do list systems have been there before; this is what happens:
You’re in your office working on an AdWords campaign. Your boss comes in to remind you to change that spelling mistake on the website. You look through your emails to find where he sent it to you, and you get another one from a colleague reviewing that blog post you just wrote. So, of course, you open it.
Their feedback looks good, but they’ve suggested you mention something they found in another article, which you can’t help but skim through. Which reminds you, you were going to quickly pop into your other colleagues office and grab that thing.
You grab it, you’re back in the office, and you dig back into the AdWords task.
You see how these things happen…
This only happens when you’re asking too much of your marketing manager, and it sure as hell doesn’t happen when you work with a marketing agency. That’s because your agency has a dedicated expert on each task; nobody is juggling anything. They’ve got one ball, and it’s firmly in both hands.
Okay, enough of that analogy.
4. The Meeting Trap Is The Killer Of Productivity
If there’s one thing that kills progress and productivity, it’s meetings.
These days it seems we have meetings about meetings, and that just gets worse and worse the more tasks you pile on.
If your marketing manager is bogged down in meetings all the time, then they probably aren’t getting done what you hired them for: managing marketing!
How do marketing agencies get around this?
Because it’s what they do all day every day, and everyone involved is an expert in their given field, there’s really no need for so many damn meetings.
Every agency is different, but the people on your project will likely meet once a week to discuss any changes, progress, and generally keep up to date with each other. Other than that, they’ll be heads down getting your business found!
5. HR & Recruitment
I’m guessing you didn’t get into business to spend all day writing job descriptions and ads, pore over CVs, and conduct interviews.
This is a part of the process we often forget about when we decide to hire for a new role, but its actually a major time hog.
You’re likely to spend 20+ hours of your own time in interviews and contract negotiations, which you and I know is time that could be better spent elsewhere. Then there’s the fact that hiring a new employee always takes longer than expected.
On average, it takes 3-4 weeks to find the right person for a role, though for management roles this tends to be a little longer.
And then there’s the notice period at their current job, which is likely to be at least four weeks if they are in a senior position.
So, six weeks to find someone, then four weeks until they can start. Give it another week or two for them to go through the onboarding process and get their feet under the table, and suddenly you’re three months down the track and not a single new lead to show for it…
A marketing agency, on the other hand, can get stuck in straight away, and sure as heck won’t be tying you up in interviews and negotiations for six weeks.
So, you need to ask yourself a question: how motivated am I to grow quickly?
6. Marketing Managers Cost More Than You Might Think
If you’re tossing up whether to hire a marketing manager or a marketing agency, it’s a seemingly simple calculation.
The agency’s monthly fee x12 vs. a marketing manager’s potential salary.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple, because hiring an employee comes with a plethora of additional costs you probably haven’t thought of.
First of all, there’s the cost of recruitment in the first place, with estimates ranging from $4000 to $8000 per employee!
Add to that things like holiday and sick leave, and essential work paraphernalia like a phone and laptop, and you’re starting to get the idea.
But wait, there’s more.
Your marketing manager isn’t going to be able to get much done without the right digital tools, so expect to be shelling out for email automation, Google Ads accounts, and social media campaigns.
Marketing agencies, on the other hand, help you to avoid any hidden costs. Obviously there are always variables, things like ad budgets for PPC and social, but more the most part your marketing agency should provide an upfront monthly cost, and detail exactly what you’ll be getting for your money.
7. The Power In A Process
How many marketing managers have you met that have worked for hundreds of different companies?
Actually, how many marketing managers have you met that have even worked for ten companies.
Not many, right?
Chances are, they’ve been a marketing manager at one or two, maybe three different companies. They probably weren’t even all in the same industry.
By contrast, marketing agencies work with different clients all the time, and they’ve (hopefully) been developing and implement successful strategies for years, and with tens or hundreds of clients.
What this means, then, is that your marketing agency has (again, hopefully) developed some robust systems and processes for strategising and executing digital marketing campaigns. These strategies have proven effective time and time again, and are based on extensive research, and of course, experience.
Now, this isn’t to say that if you do hire a marketing manager, they won’t have a process, but that process is going to based off having done it once or twice before, not 30 times before…
When Hiring A Marketing Manager Makes Sense
Obviously, we’re a marketing agency ourselves, so we tend to favour the idea of hiring an agency over a marketing manager.
But the truth is, there are a few benefits to hiring a marketing manager which are worth considering.
1. They Live And Breathe Your Brand
Because a marketing manager is working directly inside your company, 40 hours a week (or more if you’re asking them to do everything), they know your brand better than anyone else.
This, in some cases, can make it easier for them to stick to your company’s branding guidelines.
2. Communication Is A Little Easier
We say a little, because there’s really not much in the way of communicating with a marketing agency.
Especially these days, where so many of us are working remotely and even in different countries in timezones, communication is becoming a lot easier.
Still, you can’t just walk down the hallway from your office and have a quick chat with your marketing agency, which is exactly what you can do if you hire a marketing manager.
3. You Are Their Only Focus
The simple fact is that you aren’t the only client a marketing agency has. A marketing manager, by contrast, works for you and only you.
Of course, it’s entirely your decision as to whether this is an actually an issue, you might be fine with your agency seeing other people.
And if they’re worth their salt, they know how to manage, allocate and prioritise their time effectively amongst all of their clients.
4. They Can Oversee Operations And Engage Agencies
Perhaps the only good reason for hiring a marketing manager is when you want them to do some things in-house, and then outsource other specific tasks to specialised agencies.
For example, your marketing manager might work on the overall long term marketing strategy and branding guidelines, but engage with experts in SEO, web design, and social media marketing to take care of each of these specific tasks.
It’s an approach that works for large corporations, but probably isn’t very practical for most companies, as it can get quite costly.
2 Heads Are Better Than 1 - And 5 Are Even Better Than 2
It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s one for a reason.
If you hire a marketing manager, that’s exactly what you’ll get, one marketing manager. Shipped and delivered and ready to install.
At Phiranno Designs, we offer a number of monthly marketing packages to suit start-ups through to multi-million dollar corporations. For roughly the same cost as hiring a full-time marketing manager, you get four full-time employees and a case manager.
That’s right, five experts putting their heads together and delivering you the best in digital marketing expertise.
Ready to scale? Don’t want to fall into the same trap most business owners do? We get digital marketing inside and out - give us a call.