Don't Rent your Marketing
from Bike Lane Business Development
File under: Marketing Coaching
Odds are this question has crossed your mind at one point in time if you're a small business owner: "Should I hire someone in-house for marketing or continue to seek outside help?"
So many small business owners are afraid to hire marketing people internally. Where do you even start? And is there something wrong with keeping your marketing in the hands of an outside consultant?
Not exactly, but there comes a point in time when you need to stop renting marketing and own it internally. Here's why.
The difference between owning and renting marketing
First, let's define what owning marketing vs. renting marketing means. Renting marketing is when you pay a consultant or agency to market your business.
Consultants should be your strategic partners. The Duct Tape Marketing Network (that I'm certified through) is an example of this. They can help you with high-level strategy, things like:
- Defining your ideal client
- Crafting core messages that set you apart
- Sharpening your brand identity
- Optimizing your website
- Building your blog.
Owning marketing is when you hire a marketing person internally to handle everyday things. They write content for your blog, creating social posts, and get reviews for your business. They manage your communities, public relations and work on referral programs. There's a time and place for both. And there's a sweet spot smack dab in the middle where 'owning' and 'renting' will work hand in hand.
Why you can't abdicate your marketing
It's common to delegate what you can as a small business owner. Marketing is one of those things that gets delegated most of the time. When delegation becomes abdication—then you've got a problem.
Too often, businesses have 'someone looking after their marketing.' But it's less about having someone effectively run their marketing and more about business owners checking the marketing box and turning their attention elsewhere.
Consultants can't be your entire marketing department. They won't have the opportunity to know all of your business's intricacies, and someone internally would. If you want to get your business to the next level, it's time to start building an internal team.
Why small business owners don't hire for marketing
Business owners are often skeptical about someone coming in to help with their marketing. They usually don't hire marketing people for reasons like:
1. They don't see marketing as a priority. Few business owners have a marketing background. While great marketing can deliver, most don't want to spend their time (or money) on it.
2. They've been burned before. Often, small businesses have had a bad experience with a marketing guru of some sort. They may have hired a marketing person who 'knew' how to manage social media but didn't have any broader direction for marketing strategy.
3. They can't justify the cost. Small businesses often have limited resources. Hiring is a commitment. It's an upfront cost, and the ROI isn't instantaneous. But your costs should pay for themselves quickly if you hire the right person.
4. They don't know how to hire or train the right person. As I said before, business owners (usually) aren't marketers. They often don't know what to look for, find talent, or get someone up to speed successfully.
The natural progression of a mature business
When a business matures, growth becomes stagnant, and sales slowly begin to decrease. You hit a certain threshold where you can only grow so much, and you can't do it all as a business owner. You're already spread thin. If you want to take it to the next level, having an internal marketing team is vital.
You can combat slowed growth by upping your marketing game
You need to refresh your growth in the marketplace with things like:
- Researching ways to reach new audiences.
- Creating new product offerings.
- Building referral programs.
- Focus on new platforms.
With more substantial marketing efforts and an internal person dedicated to taking care of those things, you can do just that.
Get help but plan to make marketing an asset.
When an outside consultant or advisor is your entire marketing department, you can only reach a certain level of growth. I mentioned earlier that there's a sweet spot smack dab in the middle where 'owning' and 'renting' marketing work magically together, hand in hand. Where you can win is when you marry an internal marketing hire with your strategic partner. A marketing consultant can help you with the strategic component like the plan, the operations of the plan, the analysis of results, and ensuring you remain on track on working towards your big goals. Meanwhile, the internal marketing person knows the business's intricacies (or soon will). An outside resource like me can direct them to execute this plan.
This is how you get the best of both worlds. By hiring internally, you end up building an asset for your business.
But that still brings us back to one of the biggest blockers for small business owners—how do you find, hire, and train the right internal marketing person?
Well, I've got a solution to this exact problem. I've put together the Bike Lane Marketing Manager Training Program. I'll teach your team how to build, run and implement a custom marketing system tuned to evolve as you grow. I can help you find and hire the perfect internal marketing manager or coordinator if you don't have one.
It takes the daunting task right out of your hands. And this is precisely what you need to get to the next level. So, this all sounds great, right? But you might still be wondering how exactly these three roles work together and who's responsible for what. We've created a visual 'What's Your Role' Map. It shows you exactly how the business owner, in-house marketer, and your marketing consultant's roles and responsibilities work together in the Certified Marketing Manager Program.
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
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