Author, Azleen Abdul Rahim
The answer may not that straight-forward. A decision must be made wisely so that the financial won’t go down the drain with no real benefit gained. So, here’s how you decide.
In-house team. This method requires substantial monthly overhead costs, especially on salary. Gathering in-house marketing team can be very expensive since each of the team members doesn’t come cheap. Since you need to hire a full stack of people with multiple skill sets right from the Strategist aka the brain, right down to the social media people, copywriter cum proofreader and blogger, graphic designer cum video editor, website developer cum SEO expert and analytics guy, you need to prepare to burn some real money each month. Most SMEs like your startup can’t afford this method. Yes, you need a marketing team but this is way too much and beyond your capability.
If you insist on having an internal team, here’s what you can do. Hire junior-level people for all those skill sets, it is okay but not the brain. Find a great marketing strategist aka the brain to help build the path to your marketing nirvana. This one hire, no short-cut for it. Most of these strategists are well equipped with end-to-end marketing knowledge, expertise and experience, hence guiding those juniors will be a piece of cake.
Outsource. While this is considered as the best option especially to those companies with money, it could backfire too if the idea is wrongly executed. You see, the external marketing team members aren’t there in your company full-time so they’re not familiar with your products, deliverables and culture. One mistake goes out, it could go viral and therefore ruin everything that you’ve built since ages ago. Their language could be different from yours to your customers. The way they handle things could be the opposite of your way of doing things.
Still want to outsource? Sure, no sweat on that. Do this one thing. You need to own an internal marketing person, a senior person to be on your side. He will be able to direct, instruct, tell and offer some ideas to the outsourcing team members on what should and shouldn’t be done, and so on. The person will act as a quality assurance to ensure whatever being crafted and executed by the outsourcing team is making sense for the company.
Training. In this world, there is one special type of company available among others. They are called I-believe-that-my-people-can-grow company. They believe in training, learning sessions, workshop, seminar and working retreats. This is a brilliant way to make your marketing team better, however, it comes with a caveat.
The caveat is this. If you think your existing team has the capability to deliver, by all means, please go ahead. Else, those training sessions will be such as a waste of time. While you’re paying for those workshops, the team barely produce significant results. It’s similar to having a great soccer coach but lousy players all around.
There is another option actually that you can consider, and it is called consulting.
Consulting. This approach is useful when you have an in-house marketing team that is good but clueless. All you need is to hire an external Strategist who can help to hand-hold your marketing team on their respective executions and groom one person to be a visionary leader. With the hand-holding strategy, your team can finally understand where they are supposed to go, the reason behind it and how to make it happen.
Azleen Abdul Rahim is the co-founder of NSE