In the last few years, many businesses have started to recognize the importance of moving some or even all of their marketing capabilities in-house. However, this process isn’t without its issues. When you combine the new way of working and the added pressure of maintaining stability in today's business world, it's easy to see why hiring an in-house marketing team can be a challenge.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Hiring an In-House Marketing Team?
Before you start assembling your in-house marketing team, it's good to weigh your options and get an overview of the pros and cons of hiring an in-house marketing team.
Pro: More agility
Without needing to coordinate between several marketing agencies, keeping track of your marketing efforts becomes easier. In-house marketing teams have full ownership of methodology, branding and budget, which means that pivoting becomes much easier.
Pro: Greater control over creativity and branding
When you hire an in-house marketing team, they live and breathe your brand day every day all day. That’s exactly why your team will naturally have a better understanding of your creative and branding process. However, having an outsider’s perspective on your creativity and marketing can also be great for driving new ideas.
Pro: Save money
Saving money is definitely one of the best advantages of having an in-house marketing team, as it allows you to have control over how and where your money is spent. Sometimes, marketing agencies can have higher prices for their services than your in-house team. Also, each new campaign and task outside the initial work scope will ramp up your fee. When you have an in-house marketing team, you can give them all the tasks that you want and their salary remains unchanged.
Con: It takes time
Hiring for any position, let alone an important one such as your entire marketing team, will take time. You'll have to spend a lot of it to find candidates, interview them, hire the best ones and then onboard all those new employees. This could take months. Also, more employees mean more time on managing the overhead for their salaries, time off and benefits.
Con: Limited skillset
No matter how hard you try to build that perfect team, you’re bound to end up with people that lack certain skills. If those skills become a necessity to you at some point, you can hire, however, that will take time and time is usually scarce in marketing.
In that case, working with a marketing agency that can immediately provide you with employees that have as deep or as broad a skill set as you need is the better option.
Con: Relying on people
People quit and that's perfectly fine. However, if a key person from your marketing team leaves your company, your marketing efforts are likely to falter until you find the replacement.
This can also happen with agencies, but it is much rarer as agencies tend to staff multiple teams at once with people that are ready to take over any new projects as needed.
Before You Start Hiring
Now that you’re familiar with the pros and cons of hiring your own in-house team, let's take a look at what you need to consider before you start looking for people to hire.
Identify your needs
This may sound obvious, but it is the most important step you need to take before hiring your in-house marketing team. There are many different professions within the marketing world, such as design, advertising, social, analytics, media buying, management, etc. Start by identifying which of these your business needs the most and then start hiring for those positions.
What to look for in candidates
After you have identified which positions you want your in-house team to cover, you need to figure out what type of person fits best with your company's culture. While there are certainly some unique traits that companies prefer, the ones listed below represent a more general list of traits to have:
- Passion: If you want your employees to be fully devoted to your company and your goals, they need to be passionate about your industry and especially about what your company does.
- Humility: We all make mistakes, there is no doubt about it. However, if you want your company to thrive and grow, your employees need to be able to admit their mistakes and can accept when they are wrong.
- A knack for communication: Another great trait to have is the ability to communicate effectively with clients, superiors and teammates. In the digital age, workers have to know how to effectively send and receive messages in person, over the phone and online.
Organizational skills: You should look for people that can plan, prioritize and achieve goals. These skills can save you money and time because they are essential for multitasking and keeping a business running successfully.
How Do I Hire the Perfect In-house Marketing Team?
Now that we have covered all that you need to do in preparation, let's take a deep dive into how to hire your A-team.
Start by looking in the right places
Where you post your job ad can have a huge influence on the type of people that apply for it. In addition to this, you have to be aware that not all marketing people hang out in the same places online. For example, if you're looking for a designer, you should go to Dribbble or Behance. If you are looking for content people, a content conference or a meetup is a great place to start. If you are hiring a social media person, you’re probably going to find them on social media.
However, even though different types of marketers hang out in different corners of the internet, there is one common place they all share — LinkedIn. Knowing how to reach out to someone on LinkedIn proactively is a surefire way to target the candidates that you actually want.
Build relationships and network
While we’re on the topic of LinkedIn, you should consider posting that you're hiring to see if anyone in your network can refer candidates. While you can do LinkedIn advertising and target certain people with your job ad, most of the time, a post on your profile with a link to your website should be enough to get the ball rolling.
Use job ad campaigns to find the right people
Sometimes, however, you have to go back to the basics and target your audience online with a specific marketing campaign on social media. Whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, social media can be a great tool to help you find candidates that are a good fit for your needs.
Tips for Hiring Your In-House Marketing Team
There is no such thing as a perfect team
No matter how hard you try, a perfect team doesn't exist. There is no formula that makes sense for all businesses and there isn't a structure that can guarantee the success of your in-house marketing team.
Instead of trying to perfect your team, invest your time, money and energy into building out the best in-house team for your current needs and goals.
You shouldn't try to replicate other companies and create a position in your team just because other companies have them. The structure of your team should be unique to you and it should match your company's vision.
Try to find strategic and tactical marketers
Finding the balance between strategic marketers who can plan for long-term goals and marketers that work on current ones is a great way to maximize your results. When you are building out your marketing team, try to find marketers that are invested in both current campaigns and long-term goals.
Hire people with the right skills and culture fit
For most people, this is likely the most challenging goal to achieve, as there are marketers that excel at their job but don't fit with your culture and vice-versa. But, at the end of the day, there is no marketer worth losing your company's culture over.
Also, your marketing team can never reach its full potential if your cultures clash. When people can't work together, it leads to negativity, frictions, turf wars or any of the other bad things that can quickly break up a team and stop the growth of the company in the process.
Plan your hires
When building out your marketing team, you need to ask yourself why you are doing it. Too often, in-house marketing teams wait for the challenge to arise before they start looking to expand. Unfortunately, most of the time it's too late – burnout is already taking place and people are overwhelmed with their tasks.
What you should do instead is look ahead all the time and surround yourself with amazing talent before you overload your team with work. While this may sound simple enough, it can be difficult to follow, especially if you get captivated by your competitor's approach to in-house marketing.
Building a marketing team for your company takes a lot of focus, care and attention. No matter what your competitors are doing, you shouldn’t rush this process. Take your time because, at the end of the day, your in-house marketing team members are the ones that’ll represent your company every day.
Once you hire someone, make sure that you do your best to start off on the right foot. That's why offering an onboarding package can be a good idea. It never hurts to go the extra mile to facilitate a new hire’s start.
Stefan Smulders is a SaaS entrepreneur and a founder of the world's safest software for LinkedIn automation — Expandi.io. He’s enjoying his family life in the Netherlands being a proud father of a lovely 4-year old son Steef.
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