Marketing is essential to the success of any company, but choosing the right strategist can be difficult. If you are looking to add marketing to your company, you have three main options to choose from: a marketing consultant, agency, or CMO. Which of these options you choose will depend on the size of your business, your company’s goals, and your budget.
Consultant, Agency, or CMO?
The first thing you need to do to decide what marketing strategist is best for you is to understand the difference between hiring a marketing consultant, agency, and CMO. Each of these will bring a different level of marketing to your business, so it is important to choose the one that makes the most sense for your business’s needs. When you are building a marketing department for your company you are presented with the following three options.
- Create an in-house marketing department
- Hire a marketing agency to do the work for you
- Hire a marketing consultant
There are benefits and downsides to each of these options, so choosing the right one depends on your business.
Marketing With a CMO
A chief marketing officer, or CMO, is a professional who is responsible for running the marketing department of your business. If you were to hire a CMO they would become an employee of your company, with their sole responsibility being to oversee the marketing department and any strategies that the company executes. CMOs are an important part of the company’s executives and usually report directly to the CEO, but will also communicate with other department executives to achieve company-wide goals effectively.
In some cases, a company will hire a CMO to then oversee the outsourcing of the work to a marketing agency. In this case, the marketing department of your company would only be made up of the CMO who works with the marketing agency. However, the agency itself would carry out any marketing strategies and communicate with the CMO, none of this work would be done in-house.
One of the largest benefits of hiring a CMO is that they are focused entirely on your marketing project. You won’t have to worry about them forgetting about you as you would if you just hired a marketing agency. In the same way, it is someone who can handle all of the communication with an agency so that you don’t have to. This is someone who is an expert in marketing, with your best interest in mind. Therefore, not only do they remove the pressures of having to handle the marketing department on top of your other responsibilities, but they are also more qualified to do so than you are.
There are some disadvantages to hiring a CMO however, the first is that they could be influenced by internal bureaucracy. If you have a large company where there are many executives, immersing your marketing director in the company could lead to influence from the CEO and company politics in general. Additionally, a CMO is an expensive executive to hire, with average salaries starting at around $8,000 a month. Despite this high price tag, finding talent that is right for your company can be difficult.
Hiring an agency means that you are outsourcing your marketing efforts to a separate company that focuses only on marketing. This is a common choice and makes a lot of sense for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the time to focus on marketing along with everything else. Marketing agencies may also be called marketing firms or marketing companies, and their main objective is to assist their clients in managing their marketing operations to reach certain goals.
A marketing agency will identify which strategies are going to be most valuable for your business’s success. After determining which plan is going to be most effective at bringing you new customers, they will implement these campaigns. Marketing agencies use one or more marketing tactics to achieve their clients’ goals. The main marketing strategies that agencies use include PPC, SEO, and link building, however, there are many other smaller aspects to a marketing strategy.
After executing their marketing strategy for your business they will be able to analyze the results to determine any course of action that would be and change aspects of the plan to produce the best possible results. There are a lot of benefits to hiring an entire agency to market for you, first being the diversity in expertise among the team. Marketing agencies hire web developers, social media managers, SEO and PPC specialists, graphic designers, content writers, and more. When you hire an agency, you don’t have to worry about filling all of these individual roles on your own to form a marketing department.
Marketing companies have also already paid for all of the necessary software and tools. When you do your marketing in-house, you are going to have to purchase these tools on your own if you want to do the most efficient work. However, on top of the salaries of marketing employees, this can really begin to add up, especially if you have a smaller business.
While a marketing agency has its benefits it also has some downsides, the most important of which is that you have very little control and communication. Usually, a marketing agency has many other clients including you, and unless your budget is the highest of their clients, you may find your work being low on their list of priorities. It can also be risky to entrust so much money and brand name into a single company, for example, if you choose wrong they may end up wasting your resources and tainting your brand’s name. Additionally, lesser-known agencies may have an issue keeping up with your work, which could mean late work and late results. You could be paying thousands of dollars a month to see very little results, so choosing an agency wisely is very important.
A marketing consultant is your last option when it comes to hiring someone to do your marketing for you, however it is different from the other two because marketing consultants are normally hired for a short period of time. When you hire a consultant, they will come in and assist your company with the best strategies for reaching your target audience. In most cases, a marketing consultant will help your business for anywhere from 1 to 6 months, and once they have helped you build your marketing strategies your marketing department will be left to execute it on their own.
One of the largest benefits of hiring a consultant is that their expertise has usually come from working for marketing companies for years prior. They have the experience of an agency, without the price tag of hiring an agency or CMO. Their limited time at your company is an excellent option if you have a limited marketing budget but could really benefit from some expert help. It is also the most cost-effective option of the three because unlike with a CMO you don’t have to pay for the benefits and extras like you would with a full-time employee. Instead, marketing consultants work most often as a contractor.
However, as with each option, there are some disadvantages, such as the availability of your consultant. Most consultants work with about 4 to 5 additional clients, so they may not always be at your immediate disposal. Although a third-party perspective can be helpful for your business, it can also create conflict between your current executives. A consultant will only be at your company for a limited amount of time, and they may not fully understand certain aspects of your company.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area