T.P.R. Episode 14 - Should You Hire Internally or Outsource for Your Company's Marketing Operations


Sam: Good day to you, wherever you may be. This is the Production Room, brought to you by Replay, the Collective Marketing Agency. I'm your host, Sam Smith, the head of growth at Replay. I'm joined by my beautiful co-host, Hannah Moyer, our head of operations, and Mikhail Alfon, our head of content strategy. What's going on guys?

Mikhail: Just chillin.

Hannah:Talking to you.

Sam:Talking to me. Here we go. Today, we're going be talking about hiring internally for a marketing position, versus outsourcing to an agency, for various marketing operations. What is hiring internally, versus what is hiring, outsourcing, or hiring an agency to do things? A study, according to marketing land, states that when you hire internally, 79% of managers and leaders reported noticeable skill gaps in their teams that they manage. From data analysis, all the way to different tactics and strategies used in digital marketing landscape.

82% of digital marketers don't have enough training, and they often are learning how to do things, while on the job. When we look at these statistics, what can we see that hiring internally can ... What are the downfalls that we see, with hiring internally, when it comes to  skill set.

Why do you think companies are, maybe feel more comfortable hiring someone and bringing someone in internally, versus outsourcing?

Hannah: When someone brings them in, internally, it means they can protect the brand a little bit more. Companies rightfully so, need to protect their brand, their voice, their color scheme, how they talk to their customers, everything. When they bring someone in, they think that they can do that. However, show me a person, one person, who can do video, design, writing, social media management, all really well. I don't believe that exists. If you want to try to prove me wrong, show them to me.

Sam: Yeah.

Hannah:So, when you in-source, you have very limited capabilities, unless you have the resources to bring in three or four people ...

Sam : Yeah.

Hannah: if not more. When you outsource then ... I'm probably jumping ahead, but when you outsource, you have all of that entire team. When you hire the right agency, they will protect the brand. They'll treat the brand as if it was their own.

Sam: Interesting. It's unrealistic to expect to hire one person to do the job of an entire team. You wouldn't hire one person to build a house? A guy to do the flooring, and the staging, or the framing, or the, you know, the installation, or the roof, or the landscape. You wouldn't expect someone to do that, right? You need an entire team to perform all these sorts of things. What do you say some of the benefits are, hiring internally are?

Mikhail:  I think the great benefit of hiring internally is, one, you really ... To be honest, it's like, from a financial point of view, you get to monitor exactly what's going on, on the day-to-day, and make sure that, that person is actually working on your stuff.

Sam: In their seat.

Mikhail : Yeah. In their seat. That type of thing, which I mean, I don't think that equates to productivity by the way, but I also think that there is something to be said about the osmosis of company culture, and information that just happens with sitting in the room with somebody. I do see that as an advantage to hiring somebody internally. It's like, I can pick up what you're thinking, and how you want the brand to be translated online, or wherever. Much better being right next to you, as opposed to, via email, or on a Skype call, or whatever you might use to communicate.

Sam :  Gotcha. Yeah. That makes sense. Let's flip the script here. I mean, hiring internally. We've gone over some of those things. Let's look at outsourcing. Let's talk about some of the features, advantages and benefits of bringing someone in, versus outsourcing. When we look at outsourcing, you know, Hannah, what you would say are the pro's ... Let's just start with the pro's of outsourcing.

Hannah: Like I mentioned earlier, you have a team. It's people who are dedicated to upholding your brand, within their specialties. The video guy will be helping you create visual content, along with a designer, that meets the brand guidelines, and is in your voice, and your style. And then, the writer, who will help you craft copy for ads, social media, blog posts, website, everything that is all within your brand tone, and brand voice, and everything. When you have those people, who are working on their specialty, then with the project manager, who can kind of keep everything going and keep everything organized and be the point of contact, that way, you have people, who love what they do and specialize in it, not someone who just does design, cause they have to.

Sam:  Gotcha. Yeah. You have that person focus on the specialty, and have them do that specialty very, very well, as opposed to trying to expect them to do a bunch of different things. That makes a lot of sense. As far as, like how we operate here, when we bring on a client ... When we manage a project, Hannah, you assign parts of that project to people, based on their skillset, and how they're going to be able to contribute most to the product. That way, our clients, are able to really get a well rounded, and ... Each part, or each segment of the campaign is taken care of by someone who specializes on that particular part of the campaign. Is there a disadvantage to working with an agency?

Mikhail:  Yeah. Yeah. I would say that ... This is dependent on the agency. I think that one of the cons, for example, would be turnaround times. A lot of agencies take a week, for something that could potentially take somebody in-house, a day. You know, because they do have other clients. Another disadvantage would be, again, communication. You can't just walk up to somebody's desk, and kind of translate what you want. I think that those would be definitely some advantages. With that being said, I mean, you can ... Some things to kind of, remedy that for example, is when you are vetting an agency, a great question is, "How do you communicate with your clients? How accessible are you going to be? How long should we wait for a response, and what's the expected turnaround time for x, y, z type of deliverable?" Asking those kinds of questions will help remedy that. At least you can plan around those timelines and time frames.

Sam:  I see how we here, and how you guys are managing our projects for our clients. You understand that dynamic, in the sense that communication is really key in transparencing understanding, that our clients know, where we are at any given time, on any given deliverable, or any given segment, or portion of the campaign itself. You guys have done a really good job of doing that.

You know, there was a study from HubSpot, that shows that, you know, let's just take a look at, sort of like a, standard boiler template, a look at a one month marketing strategy, or one month marketing campaign, includes content development. Okay. That includes design and copywriting, blog posts, social media management, and paid media management. Roughly around 41, 42 hours on a monthly basis, to execute those sorts of things, for someone in-house to complete, and around 6,000 dollars to outsource.

If you're paying someone on a, hourly rate in-house at, let's say, 30 dollars an hour. That's roughly 1500 bucks a month. Right? Or, a little bit less than that. Whereas, on the outsourcing, for an agency, around six grand. In looking at this, do you think it makes sense for someone that you already have in your company, to take on the task, or is an outside company the way to go?

Mikhail: Yeah. Going off of what Hannah said earlier. You do want somebody who specializes in copywriting, let's say, or specializes in graphic design video production. There's a lot more elements that you can have with that, in addition to just optimizing paid media. Right? You do want that, especially because, if you line up two companies, right? You take two competitors, whatever it is, and use the exact sum of paid media spend, you use the exact same targeting with the exact same demographic, the variable is really going to be in the creative, as to who wins.

 Now, if one person is doing five different things, the creative is going to lack in each segment, as opposed to me, just doing copy, and Hannah just doing photography, and so on and so forth. That's really the advantage. You're really paying for quality.

Sam: When you look at, sort of, the equality that can be delivered by an agency, versus an individual, it all comes down to that person completing multiple tasks, or someone within an agency, just focusing on that one task, and the quality that's going to come out of that.

Mikhail : Sure. Can I add something to that too?

Sam: Yeah.

Mikhail:  It's like, sure it might take one person like, 42 hours, or whatever it might be. That seems like that makes a lot of sense, but does it really take 42 hours. For an agency, they might be crushing it in like ... Let's be very transparent. It's like 10, to 15 hours. The KPI there should not be the amount of time that it takes. It should be, whether or not it gets done, by a certain date. That's the big thing, cause obviously you have a launch date, and how effective it is.

Sam : Yeah.

Mikhail : We're looking at the wrong metrics when measuring the effectiveness of campaigns, and work flow processes.

Hannah : It's also the outside eye of coming in. When you live and breathe your company, it can be hard to do something slightly different, and to take your creativity to the next level. When you have an agency come in, they're coming in from the outside, but they also have an inside perspective as they begin to talk to you. They can come up with this great marketing campaign, that you might not have though of, but has worked in your industry, or they're tailoring it your industry, or something, so that it's ... You would never have thought of that internally. And so it just gives more resources.

Mikhail: Yeah, that perspective.

Sam: When a company is working with an agency, how would you instruct them, or what are the types of things that you want brands and companies to look for, when they're communicating with their agencies, and managing, just the overall scope of the project that are going on?

Hannah : Definitely want to look for experience in past, not necessarily just in your industry, but the past campaigns that they've worked on, and also their internal workflow. When we're pitching ourselves to a potential client, we explain we have a project management system. We have a dedicated team. There's going to be a dedicated project manager. We also share how they can talk with the designer, if they have a question about that. They don't have to go through me, because I can become a bottleneck, depending on what's happening on that particular day. I don't want it to be, but it could become that. To work with an agency that understands, kind of the trepidation of bringing in and agency to work, but then also empowers you to work with the team, and empowers you to kind of ... I don't want to say, get your hands in everything, because they know what they're doing. You don't want to be too, overbearing, but just understands what all parties need to do, in order to work effectively together.

Sam: How key have the project management tools, that we use with our clients ... How vital has that been to the success and the ability to execute campaigns, and keep them happy?

Mikhail: I would say that it's pretty close to ... I want to say it's everything. I mean, it's also the user, right? I could have the best bow and arrow in the world, but if the Indian isn't shooting it right, then there you go. It's one of those things where ... What?

Sam : Does he have to be Indian, man?

Mikhail : You want me to rephrase that?

Sam: No. But this is good. We're going to keep going.

Mikhail: It's not the arrow. It's the Indian. Right?

Sam : Yeah. No. It's not the tool. It's the ...

Mikhail: Yeah, it's not ...

Sam :  It's the man who's yielding it.

Mikhail : Exactly. Exactly.

Hannah : Wielding.

Sam : Yielding?

Hannah : Wielding. W.

Sam : Wielding.

Mikhail: Okay. I could have the fastest car in the world, but if I'm not good driver, I'm still not going to win the race. Right? It is about the tools, and it is about the person that's managing it. Obviously, we have great project managers here, but I think one of the bigger things too, is that, for the client, the benefit of the client, is that having a project management tool, like the one that we use, it allows them to see everything that's going on at all times. They know, like who's working on what. I think, internally, what's been really successful for us, is that, even though there's a point of contact, you know ...

Typically, what's happening is, any of the email communication goes through the entire marketing teams connected on that, right? And so, typically what happens is that, somebody may ask Hannah a question about graphic design, but if it's a question about graphic design, Nelson doesn't ... Our graphic designer, Nelson, he doesn't sit by the wayside and wait for Hannah to respond. He does it, because he knows that's his department. It's really just, the action of the team. It is the tools that are in place. Again, it comes down to finding the right people, and you know, really vetting the agency that you're going to work with.

Sam : How, okay, final question here. How can a brand confidently decide to move forward with an agency? What is the top one, or two things that they need to look for, and maybe if there's a red flag, or if there's just two things that they really need want to be looking for in an agency and feel confident to move forward?

Mikhail : I have a lot of responses, but go ahead.

Hannah : I would say referrals. We've gotten multiple clients through one of our other clients. They'd be, "Hey. We're looking for a marketing agency." The other client will go, "Out guys are pretty great. Let's introduce them and start that conversation." And so, when you're working with something as delicate as marketing, you want, not only the experience, but you want that referral from someone else, who's currently working with them.

Mikhail : I would also be very in tune without the business developer, sales person, or other people in the company ... This is real crazy, but it's like, you got to be really in tune with how they talk about their own company. You know what I mean? Saying my company's the greatest is one thing, but you can tell when somebody's genuinely happy with their job. If they're genuinely happy with their job and the work that they do, they're probably working with a great group of people.

Sam : Gotcha. Wow. Great advice guys. Outsource, to Replay, the collective marketing agency. This has been the Production Room. Another great episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, don't stop growing. Don't ever, ever stop.


Purchasing decisions are made over two factors - your mind and your heart.
Lead with something exciting.