It’s tempting for many businesses to think that they can handle communications and marketing using in-house resources – and in many cases expenditure on agencies is the first thing to go when budgets are cut. However, it can often turn out to be a false economy as this article by our Senior Communications Writer, Richard Allen explains.
OK. You’re in charge of communications and marketing budgets, and the call has come down from the powers that be to cut costs. Before you decide that ending an agency contract is the easiest and best solution, take a few minutes to think about what you might be losing.
Specialist skills = better results
Customer behaviour is becoming increasingly complex with an ever increasing range of influences. It’s not easy to keep up to speed with this rapidly changing landscape, and for many SMEs it’s simply not practical or cost-effective to have a dedicated communications team in-house that have the skills and experience to match the best communications agencies. Even those companies that do have that level of in-house resources will face a constant battle to retain staff.
Achieving the very best results from investment in a marketing campaign might require the expertise of a copywriter, brand strategist, graphic designer, website designer, media planner/buyer and social media expert to name just a few of the professional services that might be needed. The cost of hiring and maintaining an in-house team can therefore prove to be very expensive, especially for smaller businesses – and while it’s possible to create and implement a campaign with fewer resources, the results usually fail to live up to expectations. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
A different perspective
When it comes to marketing, two heads are definitely better than one. Getting a fresh perspective from an agency that has experience outside of your own industry almost always produces new and better ideas. Whether it’s help with social media, digital communications or design, the best agencies take the time to understand your business and use that understanding to inspire new ideas and strategies.
One of the key elements of any marketing and communications strategy is consistency. That’s always been a challenge for businesses with in-house resources that are often stretched beyond their limits – but it’s even more of a challenge in the social media age with its insatiable appetite for content.
Engaging and consistent social media messages play a vital part in increasing brand awareness and gathering intelligence about customers’ interests, opinions and behaviour. Generating content day after day, week after week, will always be a challenge for in-house teams, especially if their communications and marketing duties are in addition to other responsibilities. Again, this is an example where buying specialist skills will prove to be a wise investment.