Organizations see the value in marketing. That much is clear. But trying to determine whether it’s a better fit to hire a full-time marketing person versus an agency? That’s a bit more difficult, and for a good reason–it truly depends on the organization and its goals.

First, let’s break this down by dissecting a typical role for an in-house marketing professional.

In my experience, and in reviewing the job descriptions for different marketing positions on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and elsewhere, hiring managers create and upload marketing positions that generally include job requirements that include the following:

  • Implement a marketing strategy
  • Build and manage editorial content calendar to include landing pages, blog posts, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, infographics, etc.
  • Manage social media channels
  • Create photos and graphics
  • Manage organic (SEO) and paid search traffic
  • Email newsletter campaigns

This is usually just the tip of the iceberg, and companies want to find a magical unicorn/ninja/guru/strategist and expect them to do all of the jobs above in just 40 hours a week. Meanwhile, your marketing professional may feel like there’s a game of pong going on in their brain, going back-and-forth between all of these responsibilities.

This. is. Unsustainable.

What’s more, the caveat here is that if you find a marketing professional who is somehow able to overcome their mental game of pong as they’re trying to juggle all of the tasks listed above, most organizations cannot afford to adequately compensate such an individual to the worth of all of their knowledge. (But that’s a whole other topic altogether.)

Learning on the Job?

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” There are solid cases for broad knowledge, to be sure. But in the case of marketing, an ever-evolving industry that has to shift at a moment’s notice, general knowledge quickly becomes less effective. Would you rather have someone who has just a little bit of knowledge working on your Facebook ad campaigns when you’re working from a strict ads budget? Or would you have more peace of mind knowing that the person working on your campaigns has specific expertise in the subtle nuances of Business Manager and knows when to shift the strategy to create a more significant impact?

Here’s another point to consider. Some of the above bullet points were pulled explicitly from a job description that I applied for in 2017. The requirement for relevant experience was 3 to 5 years, with a notation that a Master’s degree was preferred. Just looking at the timeline alone, a Master’s degree typically takes two years to achieve.

You might need to find an actual unicorn to have someone on your team meet all of these requirements with just a handful of years of experience, even with a Master’s degree.

One Can Be the Loneliest Number

As a one-person marketing team, things can get lonely in addition to being more than a little overwhelming. You’re an island. After some time spent in the role, maybe you have the budget to hire sub-contractors and freelancers, which could help keep you afloat for longer.

As a solo marketer, you have to make your own creativity. But any good marketer knows that one of the best sources of creativity is other marketers. Without like-minded individuals to bounce creative ideas off of, the ideas can, well, stop. Sure, there are plenty of resources online, but nothing fuels creativity quite like having other people invested in the same goals for a client like you are. With the right folks at your side, you share a buoyed experience stemming from the desire to create the best experiences for your clients, and in turn, for their clients.

Marketers are Burned Out

Creating content, tracking marketing campaign results, running ads, updating social media accounts–all of this keeps marketers more than busy every single day.

Granted, everything above is part of a marketing manager’s job description. Still, these tasks often become overwhelming, especially given the constant pressure to go above and beyond client and company expectations. This can weigh marketers down, cause them to put in longer hours, accept more tasks than they can handle, and so on. When that happens, marketers become more prone to extreme stress, anxiety, and burnout, seriously affecting a marketer’s overall well-being.

Pre-Pandemic, marketers were stressed out, burned out, and wracked with crippling anxiety. Burnout is also high in other fast-paced and competitive fields like medical, healthcare, and hospitality, but the numbers are pretty staggering in digital marketing. Of course, the last two years have created massive shifts in the way people live and work and have also highlighted the unsustainable expectations placed on marketing teams in the past.

If you need evidence, consider this: 75% of workers have experienced burnout (Flexjobs), and 67% of all workers believe burnout has worsened throughout the Pandemic (Indeed).

Here’s another statistic to consider: a 2018 Gallup study (yes, this stat is almost four years old) found that 30% of millennials, a generation that will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, feel like they’re in a constant state of burnout at work, while 70% said they feel burnout at least some of the time, according to an older article from Hubspot.

Hire a Team, Not a Solo Marketer

The reality is, the world of marketing is a proverbial Marianas Trench full of quantitative and qualitative data, and it varies wildly depending on your company and industry. A strong marketing team will build on each person’s strengths and increase the likelihood of having an entire group of experts in their fields who can support your organization–and each other.

 

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