Many small businesses and start-ups reach an important crossroads after their first sustained period of success. They know they need to invest in marketing to create an advertising footprint and bolster brand awareness. The crucial question is whether to hire an in-house marketing person or retain a marketing agency. There isn’t really a “right” answer to this question as there are different variables for different industries. That said, there are a few universal guidelines that can help steer you towards the right decision.

A Marketing Agency Covers Multiple Skillsets and Platforms

A savvy, motivated marketing person will have a multi-faceted resume and be well versed in many different advertising channels. That’s great, but one person is still one person. Paying a marketing agency’s production fees and commission is usually a good tradeoff for having a team of specialists working on their areas of expertise under your unified marketing strategy.

A Marketing Agency’s Training Efforts are on Them (Not You!)

It’s hard to stay ahead of the marketing curve, especially now in the age of digital advertising. A company that wants to have a well-rounded marketing director must invest in professional development and hope they don’t have any urgent advertising needs while they are in training. A marketing agency, on the other hand, knows it’s in their best interest to keep their staff up-to-date on the latest trends and emerging platforms, and they have the infrastructure to have other employees cover for those who are being trained.

A Marketing Agency is Directly Incentivized to Deliver Results

Even with the best skills and intentions, a salaried marketing person can get burnt out or simply become complacent. As cut-throat as it may sound, a marketing person who isn’t delivering results is not only a waste of money, but a direct detriment to your bottom line, as you’re also not realizing the revenue that a successful person in that role could deliver. A marketing agency knows that if they aren’t helping you hit your goals, they will lose your business.

A Marketing Person is More Likely to Quit Than a Marketing Agency

Let’s say your burnt-out marketing person finally decides enough is enough and walks off the job. Or, your rock star marketing person is poached by another company and turns in their notice. Either way you’re in a very bad spot that you likely wouldn’t face with a marketing agency unless they are forced to close down shop.

Great marketing people are extremely valuable but trusting your advertising strategy and implementation to a single person is risky. An agency gives you the same expertise with less liability.