Imagine this: Your sales have stagnated. The number of people walking into your venue each day has gone from slow growth to no growth at all. You know something is not clicking.
Although you may not be ‘in trouble,’ quite yet you can feel it; trouble is brewing, and it’s because your marketing efforts are lacking.
As a restaurant owner, coffee shop owner or other venue owner, you pour your blood, sweat and tears into managing and growing your business. You are the captain of the ship, and you’re the shipbuilder, too. Without proper marketing, your ideal customer base won’t know your ship exists.
One thing is clear: you can’t do it all by yourself, and you need outside help.
Now, you have a decision to make. To boost your marketing efforts, are you going to outsource your marketing efforts to an agency, or are you going to hire an in-house marketer or team of marketers?
As we work through the pros and cons of both options, we will mostly leave out cost analysis. The reason for that is that cost varies greatly for both in-house options and outsourcing options.
Outsourcing is often less expensive than bringing in one or more in-house employees, but that isn’t always the case. So, today, we’re going to look at in-house hiring versus outsourcing when it comes to finding the marketing assistance you need for your venue.
Why Should You Outsource?
As the owner of a small- to medium-sized business, you are a superhero. But even superheroes have to ask for help sometimes.
So, if you think you’ve somehow ‘failed’ because you’re reading this guide – you absolutely haven’t. This is totally normal, particularly in hospitality.
You probably already ask for help sometimes. For your contracts, you hire a lawyer. For your taxes, you hire an accountant. The same principle goes for your marketing. Taking on all of the burden of running a business by yourself will eventually wear you down so much that you’ll burn out.
Hiring an agency to do your marketing is a great business decision because you are purchasing the services of a whole team of experts. By hiring one single in-house marketer, you’ll be looking for a needle in a haystack; almost no one has a deep understanding of all of the different disciplines of marketing. Plus, you’ll save on salaries, time and training if you go the agency route.
The agency team is ready to go right when you need them.
If your ambitions exceed your capabilities and you don’t feel confident that bringing on only one or two marketing specialists is going to solve your business problems, the agency route might be right for you.
Agencies offer a variety of services, from basic social media management to a full rebranding and retargeting effort for your business. Do some research and ask around for a few different quotes to discover which agency will best fit your needs at your price point.
What are the benefits and pitfalls of an in-house marketer or team?
An in-house marketer or team will develop a deep understanding of your restaurant, your offerings, and your client base and audience. Your restaurant will be your team’s only ‘client’, unlike an ad agency that may serve a dozen restaurants at once depending on the size.
This marketer will eat, sleep, and breathe your brand. That really counts for something.
According to Learn.org, restaurant marketing professionals may work with your existing team to help develop and test new menu items and offerings in addition to performing typical marketing duties.
Those marketing responsibilities may include:
- creating materials for ad campaigns;
- running social media;
- collecting and analyzing data from focus groups, surveys, and customer comment platforms; and
- creating content for your website.
To build out a full in-house team, you will need to fill the following roles:
- Content writer
- Web developer
- Social media specialist
- Paid advertising specialist
- SEO specialist
- Photo and video specialist/graphic designer
The challenges of hiring in-house
You might be able to find a social media specialist who is also a terrific writer or a web developer with great graphic design or photography skills, and you also might be able to find someone who can do a little bit of everything.
Again, someone with that breadth of talent is very hard to find and might come at quite a cost. Hiring only one person also means they will be the only marketer in the village and will likely be stretched too thin.
Other pitfalls to be aware of include spending money on the right tools but not using them. Paying for an expensive SEO tool is only useful if someone who knows how to use it is actually employing it.
Also, keep this in mind: lots of people can write, but not everyone is a writer. All of your outgoing communications should be written by someone who really knows their stuff, from email marketing newsletters to social media posts to web content and more. They are all skills in their own right.
How do you find the right person or team members?
When hiring an in-house marketing team member, you’ll want to look for a few key skill sets.
First and foremost, you’ll want to look for great communication skills (both written and interpersonal). Social media know-how is also key, especially if you’re hiring a team of one. Creativity, collaborative skills and willingness to take initiative are also important qualities.
With a one-person team, you need to find someone who is adaptable and a fast learner. They will need to stay on top of industry trends and make decisions quickly. Someone who has years of experience in marketing within the restaurant industry is a major plus.
Having trouble finding the right person? Try using a job ad campaign to target the right kinds of candidates. You can set up campaigns like this on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor.
We hope you found these insights useful as you decide whether to hire an in-house person or team or to go the agency route. No matter which option you choose, you will be making an essential investment in the growth of your business.