Sunday, April 8, 2012

In-House Marketing is Old-School Thinking

There’s a lot of talk these days about functioning in a “new normal economy.” That is, individuals and business owners have begun to bounce back from the massive economic crisis we’ve faced over the last several years, but they’ve also gotten used to doing more with less and finding ways to improve and grow while keeping an eye on the bottom line. That means, even as the economy inevitably bounces back, business owners will likely retain those frugal methods going forward, now that they see how some of the changes they’ve made were actually for the better.

One area small business owners almost universally cut back on during the recession was marketing. Many US businesses found they could no longer afford to have a full-time, fully staffed, in-house marketing department, and as a result, many, including a large number throughout Boston and Massachusetts, turned to outsourced marketing departments and advertising agencies. Boston isn’t unique in this, of course, and neither is the marketing industry. That is, Boston Search Engine Optimization companies and Boston web design providers aren’t the only businesses that are seeing their industries impacted by the new normal economy, nor is this phenomenon specific to the northeast. Everywhere in America today, small business owners are rethinking their old ways and learning how to do business better, even on a budget.

Now What?

In today’s economy, having an in-house marketing department is simply an outdated mode of thinking for small businesses. Why absorb the expense of hiring, consistently training, and managing a marketing department when you can access a wider, more experienced pool of talent by outsourcing? What that means for business owners here in Boston is that, if you haven’t already, it’s time to look at advertising agencies. Boston, like most cities, has more than its fair share of providers, and online searches for things like Boston Web Design and Boston Search Engine Optimization will yield huge results lists. So while online research is important, start looking for a marketing company by speaking to other business owners you know, particularly those who aren’t your competitors and who are having great marketing success.

Once you find and research a few advertising agencies, keep the following in mind:

  • With marketing, you truly do have to find a company that has project managers and service providers with whom you really do “click.” You’ll be collaborating with these people a lot. Ask yourself: Would I hire this team if they had to work in the office with me regularly?
  • All reputable advertising agencies will provide free initial consultations, and the better ad agencies in the area will always make sure you walk away from those meetings with some solid, actionable items you can pursue, whether you hire them or not.
  • Make sure they come to you. If you’re in Massachusetts, and you’re interviewing a marketing agency, they should come, meet you and your staff, and get a feel for your business before making any recommendations about your SEO, Internet marketing, traditional advertising, or other marketing activities.

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