Every business owner faces it — As soon as you have your own company, people start coming out of the woodwork asking you for a job. Suddenly, your wife's friend has a second cousin who is an expert dry waller whom "you'd be lucky to have on your team."
And somehow your old coworker tracked you down to tell you that his neighbor's dog-walker is looking for a career change.
Then, there's your nephew who calls you every other day to tell you what he can do for your construction company web design. "You've got to spend money to make money," he tells you. "But don't hire an agency. I can do it much cheaper."
If it's not your nephew telling you these things, it's somebody else. Should you hire an amateur at an affordable rate to manage the marketing essentials, or should you partner with an agency? It's a hotly debated topic, and there are arguments for both sides. However, we're inclined to feel that partnering with an experienced team of marketers, rather than hiring one person, is the way to go.
Here's why we're pro-agency.
Your nephew's priorities might not match yours.
If your new marketing hire is a recent college grad, chances are, they're more than eager to get out there and try new things. That's great — you want someone who's creative. The thing you need to watch out for is the young buck who's more focused on building their own creative resume than promoting your brand.
As your new hire cranks out marketing material, whether it's content or designs, you'll want to watch out for inconsistent branding or messaging that misses the mark. It's easy for someone who's not completely invested in your business to get excited about creating and forget that everything created for a brand needs to support that brand's image.
If your hire views this job as a practice run before their career really takes off, then you may have a problem. You need a marketing guru who feels the weight of responsibility from the work they do. You need a marketer who is committed to your business goals, not building their portfolio.
Amateurs rarely save you money.
It's been said, "If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." This quote by American oil well firefighter and innovator, Red Adair, is true in many contexts.
No doubt, as a contractor working in the construction industry, you've experienced the truth of these words. Business owners and homeowners come to you all of the time asking for pricing on a project. Once you give them a price quote, they go find a friend of a friend who can do the job for half of what you quoted.
Time and again, you see these same customers come back to you months or years later asking you to fix what the other guy messed up. Usually they end up paying more overall because this time around, they have to pay you to undo the amateur work that was done.
The same thing happens with marketing. You can pay less now and postpone a professional marketing investment, but eventually, when you do hire a marketing agency, much of their time and your budget will be spent undoing and redoing the things your previous marketer did.
The last thing we want to do is waste our clients' money, which is why we are very transparent about pricing, and we discuss spending upfront. Clients have varying needs, and we accommodate that by pricing services according to level of engagement. If you want a fully engaged ongoing marketing strategy, it is going to be priced at a monthly rate as opposed to the project-based marketing plan, which will be priced per project.
You get work done but... is it strategic?
When you hire a marketing agency, you're not just hiring a team of people to crank out work for you — you're hiring a team of business consultants, IT gurus, marketing strategists, SEO pros, and creative minds. If you miraculously find a single person who encapsulates all of those roles, we'd love to meet them!
You see, marketing isn't just about publishing that Facebook post or writing the blog or sending your email newsletter — it's about the high level strategy that drives those activities. It takes a breadth of experience and great expertise from a team of skilled minds to pinpoint the right direction for a business's marketing activities and then move forward effectively.
You can't see beneath the surface.
One thing marketing professionals have that most amateurs don't is access to software that provides valuable data and marketing insights. Information such as competitor tracking, website analytics, email performance, and customer behavior online allow marketers to make informed decisions in how they market your business.
Without these marketing tools as well as the ability to read and analyze the information, you're really shooting in the dark with your marketing tactics. Sure, it feels good when you're not having to pay for these tools, but when you pay an amateur who doesn't use them, you're still wasting money because your efforts will be ineffective.
Another area where most amateur marketers fail to look beneath the surface is your website. It's not your copywriter nephew's fault that he doesn't know how to code or fix bugs or keep up with the latest software updates. If that's not his forte, that's fine.
What is not fine, however, is that your website gets ignored because there's nobody on your team who knows how to manage it. Failing to keep up with the behind-the-scenes marketing tasks will really hurt your online presence.
Things just get weird.
No matter what you do to ensure your nephew's marketing gig at your contracting company remains low-key and professional, this business relationship has the potential to get weird.
Regardless of how excited your nephew initially was when he gave you a great deal on his marketing services, do proceed with caution. This enthusiasm will likely fade, and your nephew will eventually begin to feel like he's doing you a major favor in providing his marketing expertise at such a discounted rate. Once your business relationship reaches this stage, you've opened the door for all kinds of complications.
The weirdness can go both ways, too. When you as the contracting business owner eventually become unimpressed with the results your nephew is achieving, it can be uncomfortable to make a change that will be in the best interest of the company and still keep family Christmas from getting awkward.
There are a million different ways you can spend your marketing budget. We just want to make sure that the money you throw at marketing comes back to you in profits. Let us know if we can help.