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Marketing has always been a key part of almost every business. Even if you count word of mouth or passing a few flyers out for a local garage; it’s all marketing! Very few businesses have simply started up with the immediate luxury of an endless pipeline and maximum revenue. But marketing itself has changed a lot over the last 10+ years and so has how businesses deal with it. There are so many options and so many ways to get it wrong as well as right marketing is a very serious conversation to have whether you are a 1 seat start up or a long-standing large business.

Ignore it, it might go away!

One thing is for sure, ignoring marketing changes and new trends is not a great idea! While there are some faddy things you may wish to avoid, getting stuck in the past is not going to lead to business success. It is really common for businesses who have been around for a while doing just fine to largely ignore marketing trends and that can be dangerous. For a new business run by someone without any marketing skills the same applies. While they may not be able to engage with things like website design, simply ignoring they exist is not going to grow the business.

In House or Agency?

This is a really big debate that many businesses will have at various points during their growth.

The Not So Good in-House Version

What often happens is a business will opt for someone in house, perhaps a fairly junior or inexperienced person if it’s a small operation, and simply give them the generic task of marketing. This person is keen and gets stuck into whatever they know a bit about. They might do some flyers or some e mail marketing. They will no doubt start posting with some vigour on social media only to trail off after a few months. The results are not measured because they don’t really know how and so it kind of bumbles on. On a larger scale some businesses have always had an in-house person or small team and they continue to do what they have always done. What they can often fail to do is adopt new practices because they may not have the time to learn. The senior marketer may also have been with the company for some years and hasn’t been able to get new skills.

The Ideal in House Version

That all being said, building a good in-house team or getting one amazing person can be very very effective because they know the business inside out! You can have a highly focused person or people working on single product launches all day, all week and all year! You get the kind of drive and focus you simply won’t get using an outside resource!

Agency

Getting an agency involved or using freelancers can be very effective but it does need to be considered carefully. Because of the nature of marketing and especially digital marketing more and more businesses are outsourcing to agencies across the UK

Sarah Bull from The Hideout says

“We are seeing an ever growing number of businesses coming to us because the sheer pace of marketing change and development makes building an in house team an expensive and potentially challenging option”

An agency can be a lot cheaper than hiring someone. Not just in terms of cost but obviously an agency doesn’t need pension contributions, NI or any sick pay. But agencies do not need a chair, a space to work, any HR time, training…the list goes on! However, the costs can vary greatly, and it is all relative. If you are a small business, you could potentially hire a junior marketing executive for say £24,000 per year. You could get an agency that’s far to big for your requirements and easily spend £3000 per month. Would you be getting value? Well, like for like yes! A single junior marketer vs the power of an experienced team who can bring in different skills and people depending on what’s needed. But as mentioned above, you may not get that total commitment and knowledge that someone in house could develop.

Niche Services

Marketing, as a whole, is filled with a huge range of different skills and techniques. On a more general note, you have display adverts in magazines, event sponsorship and promotional merchandise. But there are techniques that really do need an experience hand like Search Engine Optimisation and Google Adverts. This is when a hybrid of in house and outsourced can be useful. You may choose to have a really good person in house who has some budget to bring in freelance or specialist agencies to deal with certain aspects of marketing. The key is for them to know which ones are needed and to be able to monitor the results and quality of the work.

Jack Stonehouse from 427 Marketing Says

“SEO is certainly a niche area of marketing. It is so easy to get wrong and damage a site forever. There is no doubt we have seen a massive uplift in enquires over the last 12 months from in house marketers looking to outsource just SEO”

It’s All About Results

Ultimately it is about results. If the business is getting lots of new enquires, sales or clients then the marketing can be assumed to be working. That is not to say you could not have lots more coming in with better marketing. Which ever route you choose for your business be results driven and make sure whomever is doing the marketing is able to report what is going on. Work done, results achieved, budget spent etc.

 Also be sure to think ahead, it may be working now but are you prepared for the coming years. You may still be getting leads from a magazine ad slot you have used for years. What if print disappears and its all about social and search? Marketing is always changing, make sure you have people in place that can move with the trends as well as keep the quality work going.