Agency Advantage Series #4: The Revolving Door

Agency Advantage Series

By Rodger Roeser


In our six part series that explains the many benefits of working with an agency rather than increasing overhead and staff in house to handle non-core, marketing related duties, we aim to educate businesses and brands, both large and small, as to the many advantages of having agency representation. Over the past decade, we have seen a fairly significant shift in businesses hiring more and more internal staff, verses outsourcing these tasks to an agency.

And, while we understand and appreciate why it may seem attractive to house all these folks internally, this series seeks to debunk a number of myths of internal placement, and give business owners and in house marketing executives a viable, and in our opinion better, alternative to additional internal hiring and the time and effort of that practice. The key to each of these is having a good, solid and trustworthy agency that fits and understands your business – not a vendor, but a trusted and valued partner in success.

  1. Revolving Door Syndrome

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If you do, in the upper right hand corner each day you have the opportunity to congratulate someone on their new job. Now, because I’m in the marketing industry, many of my LinkedIn connections are as well. And I do a LOT of congratulating. You know why? Because those marketing folks keep changing jobs.

They are laid off as soon as business is soft – as most bosses erroneously believe that marketing is an expense rather than an investment. What is rather common is that more internal marketing overhead appears to be required only to have much of that work dry up, so the new marketing person is now doing other tasks “as assigned,” which isn’t what they signed up for. Sadly, often times to folks hiring a marketing person understand very little about what skills are needed let alone what marketing activity is required so they bring someone in and almost immediately, they are languishing – unclear as to what to do, or not given any authorization to “do marketing” work. Simple tasks like crafting and distributing press announcements are brutally painful and inefficient, ads are not done, events don’t happen – because “the boss” thinks marketing is sales. Marketing people don’t want to be cold call salespeople or make power point presentations all day.

So, quite simply they move on to the next “gig,” as the average in house marketing professional will work at your business for a whole nine…

…months. Yep, that’s the industry average. So, that person that hounded you, penned follow up letters, had a great interview and promised to work hard and do great things. They’re going to leave you in nine months. And you get to do it again. This costs you money. This costs you time. Perhaps worst of all, it hurts your brand because it leads to inconsistency in how things are communicated both externally to potential and current clientele, and also internally to employees and stakeholders.

With an agency, when there isn’t a lot of marketing work that needs to be done, as is and should be normal as a natural ebb and flow, you can simply cut back. You can’t do that with a salaried employee as you feel the strain to “justify their salary.” With agency, you can do an entire marketing campaign, paid items and all, in many cases for less than the salary only of even entry level marketing folks.

I know of a specific instance where a marketing director was hired ($75K+) and the business asked them on their first day to redo their website. The marketing director said I’ll begin interviewing web development firms. Business said: “no, that’s what we hired you to do.” Marketing director said: “I’m not a web developer.” Business said: “that’s what we need, that’s what we hired you for.” Marketing director said: “I quit.” They were on the job for one day. And, if you’re the hiring person, and you need a website, why on earth would you hire someone at $75K for a website – that would be the most amazing website in the history of the Internet. A firm can offer you the exact expertise for what you need, be it strategy and planning, right down to tactical executions such as building a website (or making a fancy new business card).

With the right agency, you can create a consistency of message and brand, and actually create a legacy of high quality, professional work. You can create a true mutually beneficial business partnership over time – rather than an awkward “vendor” type relationship or employee relationship. You are a paycheck. An agency has a vested interest in your success and growth – it’s important to understand and know the difference.

So, the next time you see that marketing person on LinkedIn and you’re asked to congratulate them, think how long it was since you just did that for them and now that business is looking yet again. Oh, but this hire will be different….

…it won’t.


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