More than ever before, brands are prioritizing digital content to attract customers. The best brands know this digital content needs to be hyper-personalized, relevant, and eye-catching.
The digital channels you use really matter, too. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 92% of marketers leverage more than one channel—and 81% leverage more than three.
Delivering high-quality content through the right channels requires modern-day skill sets and specialized expertise that—put bluntly—many businesses just don’t have. To fill in these gaps where in-house expertise is lacking, brands are turning to specialized digital agencies.
And for good reason! Hiring a specialized marketing firm helps expedite the digital evolution of your brand and capitalize on opportunities where competitors are falling fall short. But here’s the catch: with smart brands all prioritizing digital content, demand for digital talent has gone parabolic—making it difficult to attract, hire, and retain top marketing talent.
As a busy business owner, marketing director, or main marketing decision-maker, you have more than enough on your plate already. With this guide, you’ll learn how to build a marketing team, identify the ideal team structure, and hire the right agency for your brand.
As a key decision-maker for your brand, your main challenges likely include (but are certainly not limited to) monitoring competitors, determining and securing a marketing budget, managing your current team, and hiring new staff to help reach your brand’s full potential.
Maybe it’s your first time in this role. Or, maybe you’re a seasoned professional and you’ve done it before. No matter your experience, the marketing industry changes at a breakneck pace, which doesn’t make your job any easier. Sometimes—indeed, oftentimes—you could probably use a little help keeping your head above water. After all, you’re here.
You probably feel like you have three different jobs. Usually, that’s because you do:
For all of these roles, you need to find a way to build, trust, and motivate your team.
That’s reason enough to lean on a digital agency—not only to fill in gaps in expertise that allow you to implement better marketing strategy but also to take pressure off your current staff who is already spread razor-thin.
And let’s be honest, you know that hiring a full-time, in-house position can be:
Hiring an outside marketing provider helps with these pain points, but comes with its own pitfalls. If you’ve never hired an agency, you are likely wondering where to start.
If you have, then you have lessons you’ve learned but you also recognize that you have other potential blind spots. But not to worry, that’s why we created this hiring guide.
Since late 2015, Credo has matched over 6,500 brands with specialized digital marketing agencies who have helped their brand scale and reach higher levels of success.
After all, the main role of an executive is to level up one’s brand. And what’s one of the key strategies to growing a brand? Hiring the right people, with the right skills, at the right time.
But our team, especially John—our founder—knows all too well that the hiring process is much more difficult than it might first appear. In fact, it can be downright brutal!
As a previous lead marketer for two Zillow Group brands, John built and led teams himself. And he’s the first to admit that he made his own fair share of mistakes along the way.
After over a decade in marketing, he has:
All of his experiences eventually lead to the birth of Credo. Since then, we’ve matched just about every type of vertical and industry out there with industry-leading digital providers.
Some brands have a dedicated marketing director—or VP of marketing or other executive-level decision makers—with full engineering and design teams on staff. Others have leaner teams and the founder is going to be the person managing the agency relationship.
If you want to skip ahead, this is discussed in more detail down below in the section titled “Building an internal team to support your Initiatives.”
Some companies look at an agency as an addendum to their existing marketing organization, while others look to an agency to be their marketing department.
Neither is right nor wrong. What you need and when you need it depends heavily on your brand, your personal experience and skill set, and the team you have in place already (or the lack thereof). You just need guidance on how to put tie this whole strategy together.
Download our free guide to hiring the right digital marketing firm for your business, including questions to ask, things to watch for, and more.
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In this guide, we will examine four central areas to help you determine if an agency or an in-house hire is the right marketing direction for your business.
First, we will explain how to identify if you need a marketing agency to work alongside you and your current marketing team.
Second, we will cover typical marketing team structures, business dynamics, and how to build an internal team to support working alongside an agency.
Third, how to identify the best agencies and the questions you need to ask before hiring a marketing partner. Importantly, also what a “test project” is and why they rarely work out.
Finally, how and why to take stock of the marketing firm you are currently working with to reaffirm whether or not that team is actually getting you results that move the needle.
This page last updated on March 10, 2023 by John Doherty
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