Picture it: Sales are booming, your business is growing, and it’s time to go to the next level.
For most businesses that get here, marketing is a must-have – not a “nice to have.”
Some smaller Central Florida businesses make progress based on their phenomenal reputation and a knack for getting referrals. Sooner or later, though, you’ll need a consistent and repeatable marketing strategy to consolidate those gains. It’s the key to busting out of the “feast or famine” cycle.
That’s especially relevant to service-based companies.
Your customers may go through a long research process before they choose you. You can’t leave that up to chance and the few platforms, like Yelp and Google Reviews, that pick up information about your brand. Instead, you’ve got to take control.
Professionalizing your marketing is the surefire way to do it.
But is now the time to go all in and hire a marketing director?
Or is there a better path based on your specific situation?
Let’s take a closer look.
Why a Marketing Director Matters
If you don’t know all the ins and outs of marketing, it might seem like a weird question. Why choose a marketing director instead of any other marketing employee? What difference does the director make in your strategy and how it gets accomplished?
Long story short, “marketing director” is just shorthand. It’s the most common title given to a member of your team who oversees all of your marketing strategy as a whole. For many companies, that means your digital marketing. However, lots of Central Florida firms have robust conventional marketing, too.
In any industry, your marketing director is the top-level chess master whose job is to see the big picture. He or she also takes charge of hiring the rest of your in-house marketing team. That takes one big, long-term project off your plate, while still leaving you confident about your expansion plans.
A marketing director isn’t necessarily involved in the daily execution of your marketing strategy. On the other hand, some take a “player-coach” mentality and serve as the top in-house authority in some areas of marketing execution, too. Whether this is relevant for you depends on exactly what you need.
Here’s what to know about the marketing director role:
1. You Should Have Strong Business Fundamentals Before You Look for One
Even though a marketing director isn’t a senior executive, this is often the top spot outside of operations that gets filled by a Central Florida business on the grow. In other words, you’re already delivering your products or services on all cylinders – now you want to tell more people about it.
If you don’t have healthy cash flow right now, launching your search for a marketing director will only work against you. When a new marketing director enters the picture, it means reinventing the wheel – they’ve got to build a team and spend a significant amount before finding what works well for you.
Likewise, you should avoid the search for a marketing director if your business isn’t robust and scalable. A wise marketing director will find quick wins that get more inquiries from the start. These inquiries can turn into business, and that business needs to be handled with all the tact and finesse you’re used to.
Otherwise, marketing can drain your brand equity as people end up having negative experiences.
2. You Should Have the Time Necessary to Get Full Value from Marketing
Central Florida isn’t exactly Hollywood when it comes to the top marketing talent.
You’re likely to get fewer candidates in response to your listing, and the average candidate might not have stellar credentials. But, truth be told, hiring a high-level strategic asset like a marketing director is never “easy.” It may take months, and you can expect to spend 10% to 30% of the role’s annual salary.
A good marketing director doesn’t happen overnight, but there’s another time factor to be aware of: Hiring your team. A director isn’t nearly as effective without a good team to direct. That adds a few more months into the equation, depending on precisely how much you want to staff up.
Once all is said and done, it’s up to the marketing director to develop the policies, procedures, and processes that apply to the marketing function. This is the secret to consistent results because true “scientific” marketing requires the team to constantly review and make use of its data.
All in all, it can take a year or more to onboard your new director, assemble your new team, and then design the best practices necessary to really flourish. If it’s time to bring in a director, be aware that it may actually mean slower and less consistent marketing gains during that ramp-up period.
3. You Should Be Sure You’ve Gone as Far as You Can Go with Freelancers
During the pandemic, thousands upon thousands of people took on the mantle of “freelance digital marketing consultant.” While many of them have the best of intentions, not all can point to a record bursting with results for businesses like yours. That said, freelancers can add value in some cases.
As a small and rising business, you can round out any in-house marketing capabilities using freelancers. It’s not always easy to find top quality remote talent, and you should always have an exit plan – but it’s helpful to see what various marketing techniques can do before you jump in with both feet.
By the time you invite a marketing director into your ranks, you’re ready to take all those tactics and weave them into a strategy that will move your business forward. A little bit of experience with what works and what doesn’t can make it easier to evaluate candidates and get on the same page.
That said, some Central Florida businesses choose to skip freelancers altogether.
You might be in a situation where you already have a handful of marketing professionals within your organization, and now you’re ready for someone to take the helm. Before you take the plunge, make sure none of your existing employees is ready to take on the responsibility of a directorship.
Not Quite Convinced? Consider the Winning Alternative to Hiring a Marketing Director
Hiring a marketing director can be the right move for a rising Central Florida company, but there are alternatives. Many entrepreneurs discover that when they lay out the pros and cons of hiring for this role, they discover it can’t offer the results they want on a timeline that makes sense for them.
That’s when it’s time to consider a Central Florida marketing agency.
The service of an established, reputable marketing agency in Central Florida is the antidote to the “hurry up and wait” problems of hiring in-house. With the right agency at your side, you can start to accrue real competitive advantages and bottom line benefits from the very start.
Consider the possibilities:
1. A Marketing Agency Is More Cost-Effective than Hiring a Marketing Director
If you want more bang for your buck – and you want it sooner rather than later – a marketing agency is the hands-down winner. Our research shows that, while the average marketing director salary in Central Florida is nearly $8,000 per month, you can benefit from an entire agency for around $3,000 per month.
For that single fee, you get value no one employee can provide:
- An entire team of marketing professionals and all their skills and experience
- A full stack of marketing technology – all the latest software at no extra cost
- Effective project management, communication, and data-driven reporting
- The right to expect cutting-edge service without paying for all the training
2. A Marketing Agency Means Transparency – You Know What You’re Getting
An agency is also more efficient in another sense: Agency teams must prove their value monthly or be let go. While it takes about three months for a well-designed digital marketing plan to gain traction, agency pros understand what it takes to connect the dots and show you the value they’re providing.
On the other hand, it’s natural to want to give your in-house employees the benefit of the doubt. There are times when things don’t go smoothly despite everyone’s best intentions. But that can quickly turn to months and months of lackluster results. How do you know precisely when to let go?
An agency means not having to worry about it. Each month, your outsourced team will present you with all the latest information on how your marketing assets are performing. Based on data from real website users, including those who became your customers, they’ll recommend any revisions to your strategy.
Over time, these small, data-based course corrections boost your momentum. A 2%-3% gain in your marketing impact every month adds up to a major bottom-line difference. That translates to real, long-lasting competitive advantages that rivals can’t match simply by spending more money.
3. A Marketing Agency Means Just Not Having to Worry About It
Odds are pretty good that whatever industry you’re in, you didn’t join it to become a marketing expert.
Most Central Florida business owners have one or two things they’re exceptionally good at. And though they may be interested in lifelong learning, a lot of them prefer to stay focused on their area of genius.
With a marketing agency, you can be as involved (or not) as you wish.
Yes, many businesses earn a lot of goodwill when leaders are involved and future customers can meet your team right from your website. But we get it: All this marketing stuff isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, the best thing to do is leave it to someone who leaps out of bed every day raring to think about analytics.
No matter how “into” marketing you are, you should rest assured you can always call, email, or even visit with questions. That’s one of the things we do differently at New York Ave – many of our longest customer relationships started over a cup of coffee at our office right here in DeLand, Florida.
There’s no need to be too formal with your marketing team. After all, it’s a relationship of trust.
That trust starts with dialogue – with marketers eager and ready to learn about you and your needs.
You know what kind of results you want from your marketing. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be building toward that future one blog, one video, one customer at a time. Call New York Ave today to discuss your needs – we look forward to meeting you soon.