Regardless of whether you have been in business for 10 days or 10 years, as an independent RIA, you have undoubtedly learned that marketing is a key component to your success.
Even before the days of digital marketing, traditional marketing in the form of print, radio, and television was crucial in achieving brand awareness and gaining new clients.
However, in the fast-paced digital world, we now live in, marketing has taken on an entirely new meaning.
It’s now intertwined within social media, websites and online directories and listings. In some ways, it almost feels as if there is no way to keep digital marketing and other digital entities separate.
Because of the demand for digital content, it’s imperative that today’s RIAs have access to a professional digital marketer to help them navigate the landscape of today and anticipate what will be coming tomorrow.
The big question you need to ask yourself is whether the digital marketing professional is part of your in-house staff or part of a larger unit within a digital marketing agency.
If you’re looking to make a decision between in-house and outsourced digital marketing, read on for some comparisons and recommendations:
1) Are You Looking for Short-Term or Long-Term Help?
When assessing your needs for digital marketing services, determine how long you need that help. While ideally, you will have someone running your digital marketing on an ongoing basis, that may not fit into your short-term plans and/or budget.
For example, you may need help with a single event or promotion. Hiring an agency could be a good fit. Saving you the investment in hiring a new resource, you will be able to obtain the services of qualified marketing professionals.
However, be aware that some agencies aren’t willing and/or able to accept one-off digital marketing clients. That’s because it can take time for an agency to get to know the needs of a client, and often the payoff simply isn’t there for individual projects, events or campaigns.
2) Can You Afford a “Bad Hire?”
To the point made above, hiring someone internally can also be a large undertaking. As you probably know, finding the right person to fill a position on your staff can take longer than you’d like at times, and this is especially true for specialized roles such as digital marketing with an emphasis on investments or financial advising.
And once you do find the right person, getting them on board can also take a bit of time and money. But this can all be worth it if that person works out and stays with your team long enough to justify the initial cost of hiring them. However, if you make the wrong hiring choice or the person simply chooses not to stay, you could be out thousands of dollars and even worse, time that you can’t get back.
On the flip side, if you invest that time and money into partnering with a digital marketing agency, you greatly reduce that risk. That’s because you’re spreading the training and knowledge across a team of digital marketing professionals and not one employee.
3) What Marketing Tools Will You Need Access To?
Digital marketing success isn’t just dependent on the knowledge and experience of the digital marketing person/team you hire. The valuable data and analytics gathered through the process of digital marketing needs to be processed and synthesized in a way that turns it into easily understood and actionable steps to bring you, the RIA, more leads and ultimately, more AUM.
None of this can happen without the use of advanced digital marketing tools such as CRMs, automation platforms, and analytics services. These tools can be expensive, and simply not cost-effective for a small business to spend the money on. However, digital marketing firms with multiple clients often have access to these platforms as part of doing business in digital marketing.
Partnering with a firm would not only help you reap the benefits of having access to the platform, but also the knowledge of how to use it from experienced digital marketing professionals.
4) Do You Have One Specific Need or Many Needs for Digital Marketing Assistance?
This question boils down to this: do you want a generalist or a specialist. Both have their advantages, but the right answer is the one that works best for your needs. A generalist within the digital marketing space will have experience across multiple channels, graphics, analytics, and ad buying, among other things. However, they would likely not be considered an “expert” at any one of those things.
A digital marketing specialist has specific knowledge in one or maybe two specific areas, such as a graphic designer or paid search specialist. If you’re hiring someone for your in-house team, it makes sense to hire a generalist, as you’re going to need multiple marketing tasks completed by one person. However, if you partner with a digital marketing agency, you will gain access to a team of digital marketing specialists.
5) Do You Have the Bandwidth to Manage Someone In-House?
In the end, many business decisions are made because of time – or a lack thereof. Hiring someone in-house means adding one more person to your payroll, making room in your office for one more desk and of course the necessary equipment such as a computer and phone at a minimum.
Then there’s the matter of managing someone else. Do you have the time to hire, train, manage and everything else that goes along with a new hire? If you’re like many other RIAs, you became independent for a reason, and that didn’t include having to manage a large team of employees.
Partnering with a digital marketing agency can be a compromise that allows for both autonomy and gaining the benefits of utilizing professional digital marketing services.