Small businesses are faced with unique marketing challenges that bigger companies just don’t experience. With limited budgets, limited time, and big competitors ruling the marketplace, independently-owned shops have the ultimate trifecta to come up against. Deciding on a strategy to market your repair or body shop can be overwhelming, but one of the first decisions is what type of marketing solution you’re going to use.
When you hire an in-house marketing employee, you bring on a single individual who is available on-hand and dedicated to the success of your shop. While that sounds great, there are some serious limitations with this strategy that you may face which a marketing agency can help overcome. (Because often times, you may want to hire both at once!) There isn’t a wrong decision, but there is a right choice for your shop. It’s important to weigh how this choice affects your overall marketing strategy and the priorities for your business:
Pros & Cons of a Marketing Employee
- Unlimited time – Relatively speaking, because they’ll work for however much time you pay them for! Though the same could be said for an agency, when hiring a part-time or full-time employee you’re typically able to afford more time by the hour.
- Unlimited access – Because they’re in-house, you can usually find them in the office next door. There is a certain camaraderie that comes from an in-house team member and being able to hold shared meetings!
- Full control over their work – As their boss, you have unlimited say for each action and project they work on. This can be very alluring because it gives you transparency into everything being worked on and accomplished. Be careful, however, not to let your “marketing employee” blend with “business admin” responsibilities. It’s a slippery slope, and the admin side can quickly and easily take over!
- Expert on your brand – Being in the midst of your shop at full-force, they’re extremely familiar with your customers, employees, and your brand. This is an advantage for any materials they are creating to represent your shop!
- Social media – One of the biggest benefits an internal employee can make for your marketing is adding valuable social media posts – such as what’s going on in the shop, planning and highlighting local events, etc.
- Jack-of-all-trades, master of none – Unless you’re hiring a 20+ year marketing veteran who has worked as a specialist in all of the necessary areas for a powerful marketing program (PPC, SEO, Social Media, Web Design & Development), you’re likely to deal with a limited range of knowledge and experience within digital marketing.
- Higher cost of an employee (whether full or part-time) – Even on the conservative side, let’s say you hire a marketing employee at $15/hour for 20 hours per week, their wage would be $1200/month. Don’t forget to factor in employee costs such as payroll taxes, vacation time, benefits, etc. Compare this to how you’d budget marketing services with an agency, and the type of results you could expect with each.
- 100% of your marketing falls on 1 employee – To be clear, this isn’t a definite non-starter when you have an outstanding employee! However, you undoubtedly will have to deal with time off, eventual turnover, and only 1 person’s ideas and actions leading the charge against your competitors. (To some degree you’re also going to experience a bit of C.Y.A. when it comes to showcasing results. Why? Because their livelihood depends on it.)
- Lack of high-level tools – Many marketing agencies (including Autoshop Solutions) use advanced optimization and management tools to support your marketing efforts. From in-depth reporting and analytics to campaign management and optimization tools, there are powerful solutions only found at the agency level that can bolster your shop’s marketing. Without access to tools like these, less work can be accomplished in the same window of time – meaning results get further away and become more expensive (time = money).
Whether you’re considering a marketing employee for the first time or already have one on staff, these considerations might help put the choice into perspective! And if you’re adding an in-house employee to the mix with your existing agency (especially if that’s us), don’t miss our next blog on how these two parties can work together for your success.