I spend a lot of my evenings out at events meeting new people, learning new things, and just trying to keep up with the whirlwind that is the Greater Boston community.
One place I can always trust with my time is Workbar. Ok, technically, two places since there’s Workbar Boston and now Workbar Cambridge. The point is that the events they host often offer a nice change of pace, are sometimes radically different from the standard fare, and always provide useful information on topics that matter to me and the customers I work with every day.
Last week was no exception, as Workbar came together with Springpad and Grasshopper to host a Master Slam arguing the merits of PR and Marketing agencies with pride, Workbar passes, and a year of Harpoon beer on the line. The question of hiring a professional agency versus keeping marketing in house comes up in a lot of conversations I have, particularly with small businesses and early stage companies. Here are two reasons to consider each option.
– -TWO REASONS FOR HIRING A PR AGENCY- –
You hire business developers for their expert ability to develop business, and software developers for their expert ability to develop software. It makes sense, then, that when you look to improve and expand marketing, you hire experts for that role. That expertise is one good reason to consider hiring a PR agency over handling it in house. PR and Marketing agencies spend all day, every day focused on doing just that: PR and marketing. Dedicated focus gives them a leg up on getting the job done and, in turn, keeps your internal team focused on doing what they do best.
You’re getting a whole team
When you hire a PR agency, you’re hiring an entire team rather than a single individual. Because of this, you get the added benefit of a range of resources and connections that have been built up through multiple careers. There’s also a wider breadth of experience across an entire agency, which means that if you decide to try something new, or branch out in a new direction, you don’t necessarily have to source a new expert or start developing new levels of connection in an unfamiliar territory.
– -TWO REASONS FOR KEEPING PR/MARKETING IN HOUSE- –
Modern tools close the gap
While agencies may have the upper hand in experience, the playing field is fairly level when it comes to useful tools that can deployed for a strong campaign. From google alerts to integrated social media dashboards to implementable email campaigns, there are countless tools available to anyone with the desire to increase reach and visibility. Social platforms have created access to people at unprecedented levels, and there is more accessible information available on the internet than ever before. Plainly put, expanded tools create a level playing field in the race to reach audience.
You can do it on your own
Agencies may have more experience crafting messages, but nothing trumps authenticity today. Building a personal relationship with community and customer base is one of the most important things a company can do, whether that community and customer base is online or around the corner. The foundation of a compelling story exists within every organization. It’s just a matter of having the proper framework and support to share it. Make the most of the incredible access available, get direct feedback from people who care about what you do, and enlist your network to help spread the word.
Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to hire an agency comes down to what’s right for each individual company. It’s entirely feasible for any size organization to handle its own PR and marketing. More than that, every company has the ability to run effective campaigns without any outside help thanks to the tools that are widely available. The main question to ask when evaluating whether or not you should engage a third party is “what am I aiming to accomplish?” Once you set goals, it becomes much easier to understand the work it takes to accomplish those goals, and then determine if doing that work yourself is the best use of time and internal resources.
Jason, for the team at Kendall Press