Three Ways Your Small Business Can Build Out A Marketing Department
Marketing is a reflection of your organization's identity, beliefs, and offerings. Knowing and sustaining a consistent and compelling message to effectively communicate your brand is vitally important for long-term and efficient success. While sales can move the needle today, marketing will remove friction in doing business tomorrow.
Many companies excel in marketing but fail to deliver on their promises, while others neglect marketing but go above and beyond for their customers. While this tends to be more of a spectrum than one or the other, if you lean towards strong operations and weak marketing, it's time to seriously explore bolstering up your digital growth efforts and there are three major options available to you.
1. Rent A Marketing Department Today By Working With An Established Marketing Agency
If your need is urgent and you want to scale up your resources instantly, this is your path. It’s also the easiest option to quickly build out capabilities. To leverage well, your organization needs an effective liaison to interface, direct, and provide feedback. Without this, your business is flying blind, making it difficult to navigate towards the end goal.
External resources are only useful if you’re able to interface with them well. For effective use, this approach requires an articulated strategy or dedicated planning time. Also, your agency partnership will provide a variety of resources and quality control to mitigate against risk, but usually, it comes with a price premium.
2. Build An Internal Marketing Department By Hiring Staff
Building a team inside the walls gives you direct control over what they do and how they do it. Likely the most expensive of the options and most financially inflexible, hiring staff to build out a marketing team gives you a group of people solely focused on your dedicated endeavor and responding to the needs of your organization.
It’s lack of flexibility and high cost make it harder to incrementally grow. But, if you find you struggle to interface with outside parties and tend to change course on marketing efforts, an internal team is best suited to walk alongside your approach.
3. Build An External Virtual Marketing Department Contracting Freelancers
Your third option is leveraging a group of freelancers to function as your marketing department, and this is something I've done with several of my clients. We've built fractional business growth teams operating as a virtual marketing department.
The cost and flexibility benefit for freelance teams is high. It allows you to scale up and down the team based on the financial context of the business. It also allows small business owners to leverage different skillsets without having to hire them all full-time.
The downside here is you don't have the full attention of each person, in terms of their workload capacity. And, the onus is on either your liaison or a project management freelancer to hold accountable move projects forward.
Hiring an agency, recruiting staff, or contracting a group of freelancers are all strong options for different contexts. The key is to determine what you need, how and when you need it, and which strategy best leverages the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.