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Hiring a full-time marketer vs. marketing agency or expert: Which is better?

As a small business that wants to ramp up marketing, when should you hire a full-time marketer? And when should you consider hiring a marketing agency or expert instead?

What are the factors to consider when making a decision?

Tim Stokes

Tim Stokes, Managing Director at Profit Transformations

A marketing agency is the higher end cost by far and if you're prepared to pay multiple thousands of dollars for months continuously then they are worth considering. Prices from $3,000 to $8,000 per month are common.  

I recommend something in-between which is hiring a marketing expert who also educates you.

With 28 years of marketing experience and mentoring businesses on marketing (and growth) for 22 years I find the best clients who achieve great success in the long term are those where the owner invests in their own education. 

The greatest challenge I see in business with marketing is how ignorant business owners are. They happily spend (and waste) thousands of dollars a year on marketing service providers yet rarely pay anything at all to learn about marketing.

Because marketing is the just about the biggest topic there is and impossible to completely master in all aspects, not knowing anything about it at all is why its so easy to waste tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on it and yet achieve very little. 

An education on marketing isn't required for years and you only need it on a few lead generation topics - i.e. the ones most relevant to your own business.

If you're a B2C business then Facebook and Instagram are potentially good platforms so learning about posting and PPC on these is definitely worthwhile.

If you have a B2B business then LinkedIn may be a good platform therefore learning about it is worthwhile if that's the case.

If you are an established business then ranking higher in search results is valuable and so learning about SEO is valuable. 

Having mentored business owners for years these topics only require a couple of months of education and then you can keep on learning, once you know where to find sources of ongoing quality information to keep on learning.

Or with a good education you're ready to find excellent service providers who can do your marketing for you.

If you aren't aware of the questions to ask a marketing service provider or how to instruct them to market your business, you are completely at their mercy and level of skills. From my experience 8 out of 10 businesses do not get value for what they pay for with marketing service providers.

Rarely do businesses that pay for SEO receive value. About 2 in 10 do when I review what their SEO service provider is doing. 

Learning isn't expensive when you pay once for a couple of months and then benefit for years and years. It just takes so much of the risk out of your marketing.

Plus, those who get an education about marketing, including the new 'brand-led' marketing information that is out there in workshops, a marketing agency will find your business so much easier for them to work with, if they are ethical and extremely good. Great marketing agencies love great clients and with an education you become a 'co-creator' of your marketing outcomes, not just a recipient. 

Happy to answer any questions anyone has on this.