Before You Hire an Ad Agency

AdvertisingSo maybe you’re a start up with limited funds, or maybe you’re one of the growing number of larger companies with no internal marketing department and a limited marketing budget. Whatever the reason, when you suddenly need a new brochure for the upcoming trade show, a website makeover, or you’re launching a new product and need to update all of your marketing collateral and send out a press release too – who do you call?

The most well-known option is a marketing agency. A full service agency might have anywhere from 3-30 people on staff and can provide the full range of marketing services from branding to concepting right down to putting the finished product in your hands. Of course, all that overhead has to be recaptured somewhere. That is why agencies command a hefty fee for services, and many will only take on clients with an extended monthly retainer contract.

Now let’s say you just don’t have that much need, or you have a one-time project that will require a lot of heavy lifting and not much after that. Or you don’t want to contribute toward the rent on those fancy downtown offices. There are options out there that can give you just what you need for a lower cost AND with more personalized attention. You can hire freelancers to take care of every aspect of your project from start to finish.

I know what you’re thinking but…

Some common misconceptions abound about freelancers:

It is easier to just hire an agency because they will provide all the services and manage the project with one point of contact.

If you want one-stop service from a freelancer, ask. I personally have a network of freelance marketing and branding strategists, designers, photographers, public relations specialists, social marketing consultants and even a packaging designer and printer that I can coordinate for a completely turnkey project. Most freelancers do.

The agency will have better, more experienced talent.

A lot of agencies keep the core staff to just project managers and outsource all the creative to freelancers. I work for several agencies in this capacity. The only difference between hiring me or the agency is that they tack on a 50-100% premium on my regular hourly fee when they send you the bill.

An agency will be more professional, and more accessible:

Freelancers are running their own one-person business. That means they are heavily invested in their relationship with you and highly motivated to give you the best possible results. Even if you would be a small fish for an agency, you are probably a big fish for your freelancer. My biggest clients are around 300 people. My smallest are around 3. All of them are equally important to the success of my business so I make sure they all get great service and attention.

Have you had any experience hiring freelancers in your business? Or do you currently use a marketing agency?