Industrial marketing requires a lot of time and expertise. If you don’t quite have either, you’re not alone. Many manufacturing companies don’t have in-house marketing departments, and those that do often have limited budgets and personnel.
So what's the next step — training current employees, seeking out freelancers, or hiring an agency? Let's look at the pros and cons of each.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with hiring staff members who require training to get the job done, especially with a ton of free training resources available online.
- Job Growth: It's no secret that employees want the opportunity to learn and grow, and this could be a route that's beneficial for your rockstar performers and your company.
- Low Cost: There are thousands of blog posts, eBooks, and courses for digital marketing available online.
- Time Investment: One of the major drawbacks in doing so is that training takes time — time that you might not have if you need to get in front of buyers ASAP.
- Expertise Level: While an employee can work to pick up a few tricks through training (and trial and error), your business really needs a well-rounded marketer with experience in search engine optimization, email marketing, writing, editing, and pay-per-click.
If you have go-getters who are eager to learn and have a basic understanding of writing and marketing, it's worth them taking the time to beef up their skillset. Even if you end up bringing on freelance help or an agency, it's great to have someone in-house with a working understanding of digital marketing and how it can help your business grow.
A freelancer is an independent employee, or a person with a particular area of expertise, such as writing, designing, or performing, who works on their own schedule and takes on projects they select from a variety of clients. There are several pros and cons to hiring a freelancer for your industrial marketing needs.
- Contract Hire: Hiring a freelancer is a fantastic way to bring specialized marketing knowledge into your company without agreeing to a long-term commitment. You get the expertise you need without bringing on a full-time marketing staff.
- Rate Negotiation: Freelancers set their own rates, which can sometimes be flexible and tailored to your specific tasks on a project-by-project basis.
- Highly-Skilled: The best freelancers are successful because they are extremely talented at what they do and have experience working on a diverse range of projects for clients in different fields or industries.
- Sole-entities: Freelancers are one-person shops; if they get sick or take on other jobs with other clients, you and your project may take a backseat.
- Scalability: Because freelancers work alone, you can’t scale freelancers. You can hire additional freelancers, but if you work with multiple freelancers, they often have different processes, prices, and methodologies. This lack of consistency can make it difficult to grow smoothly.
- Niche Experience: Finding freelancers with manufacturing and industrial experience along with the tactical expertise you need can be difficult.
When to Work With Freelancers
Freelancers are perfect for smaller projects requiring a particular skillset such as design, writing, or other creative marketing needs. Additionally, allowing for rate negotiation means hiring a freelancer may be more appropriate when you have a minimal budget.
On the other hand, when your budget allows, working with a manufacturing marketing agency typically provides a much broader range of resources to create a more robust marketing solution while saving you time and reducing project management stress.
- Multiple Resources: Marketing agencies have dedicated experts in various areas including web design, content writing, social media, or email campaigns.
- Scalability: An agency becomes a “one-stop-shop” for all your marketing needs, allowing you to implement a full-scale, strategic industrial marketing program.
- Accountability: An agency builds success through a quality reputation and satisfactory performance with their clients.
- Proven Processes: As a professional firm, agencies will typically have processes in place to provide a consistent experience through time-tested methods.
- Cost: Unlike hiring a freelancer, who is typically self-employed or a sole proprietor, an agency tends to be more expensive due to overhead expenses and salaries.
- Niche Specialties: As with freelancers, finding agencies specific to industrial manufacturing may be difficult.
When to Work With Agencies
Typically, manufacturers should turn to a professional marketing agency for large-scale projects, such as a website redesign, or to meet ongoing, long-term lead-generation goals. Also, managing multiple freelancers can take time and resources, so consider an industrial marketing agency when your marketing needs outgrow your staff’s ability to handle numerous freelancers effectively. Finally, look to an agency when you need a partner who can quickly grow with your business, adding new capabilities and strategies as trends and goals change.
If you are in need of an industrial marketing agency, the team at Thomas Marketing Services can help. We've built more than 5,000 websites for industrial companies, and we've helped tens of thousands reach their lead generation goals. Get in touch with our team today.