Recently I had an interesting debate with a CEO who has built her business sustainably and profitably over a long period of time. She has a lot to be proud of and has done this without any on-board marketing expertise.
Her view point was that she wanted to build a marketing function slowly within her own business, a laudable ‘roll your sleeves up’ attitude. Mine was that having worked for many a large organisation, and quite a few small ones, I have rarely seen this work successfully. Here are a few reasons why:
Designers – lose their creativity and stop thinking from the target client perspective. The work becomes stale and it is hard to rise above the emotional baggage gained along the way.
Copywriters – get too close to the copy, have their words pulled apart by everyone in the business and often don’t start from the view point of the wider target market.
PRs – Can’t possibly create enough juicy content (or be useful enough) to keep all their journalistic contacts interested, taking their calls and covering the organisation in the media.
I could go on...
Don’t just see “all the cost and none of the value”
In general it is difficult for in-house staff to stay abreast of current trends and marketing developments without a) a boss that lets them out of the building occasionally and b), a training and expenses budget.
The usual driver for building an in-house team is that those holding the purse strings see “all the cost and none of the value” in external suppliers. And as a side issue the same people tend to proclaim: “How can agencies possibly know my business as well as someone from within it?” They can’t. That is however precisely my point.... one can lose all sense of perspective as a permanent employee.
External agencies, because of their spread of clients and differing peaks and troughs in workloads, can offer highly specialist skills at the right time, for what’s actually not very much extra money.
Marketing Communications that kick-arse every time, oh sorry, I mean, deliver significantly higher response rates due to their: insight of the target audience; appreciation of the competitive landscape; enhanced creativity; use of modern techniques; application of lessons learnt on other clients work etc. etc. etc.
What do you need? Some seriously talented, multi-facetted, in-house marketing execs that report to an even more wonderous marketing manager/director. Oh, and leaders with vision.
Posted by Claire Thatcher. Posted In : Marketing Strategy