Whether you run a start-up or a growth company, you are probably looking to ramp up your brand awareness and market reach. But budget is an issue; so, rather than hire a CMO-level person, you are thinking about hiring a more junior marketing associate/public relations professional. Someone who can do it all – create marketing content, do your social media, secure trade media coverage, identify speaking opportunities and handle your Constant Contact outreach to customers and targets.

Sounds good, right?

Yes, but maybe not that easy to pull off. Do the junior people you have interviewed have the right skill set you need? Or are you preparing to provide them with needed on-the-job experience?

That’s the point…do you go with that junior person and take a chance or do you hire an experienced PR agency that, in providing a whole account team, can do it all?

In order to decide which option will work best for your company, here are some factors to consider:

Experience: What are you trying to accomplish with your hire? Is it arms and legs, or is it strategy? How important is content development? Is industry knowledge critical? Are you looking for hands-on marketing support or project management? A single candidate may have experience in some of those areas but not all. A PR agency that specializes in your sector works with a variety of clients on a day-to-day basis and can apply their knowledge and experience gained there for your benefit. (But still make sure they can check all of your boxes!)

Value: Let’s face it – given the high cost of healthcare and other employee benefits, as well as the fees involved in hiring an employee and making sure it’s the right fit, this is not a risk-free investment on your part. An agency does not come with those expenses. There are no up-front costs, and reputable agencies will work on a flat-fee monthly retainer, plus third party expenses (e.g. press release distribution, website design, brochures, etc.) that are discussed upfront with you.

Relationship: A situation can change at a company and an employee may either leave or no longer be needed after a year or two years, or maybe the relationship just did not work out. A company may need to provide compensation for letting that employee go. When hiring an agency, if the relationship does not work, or if after a year your goals are reached, there is no further payment required. It is a clean break.

Partnering: One of the best reasons to hire an agency is the opportunity to create a partner in carrying out your marketing program. Your agency team can provide a range of services from a senior strategist’s counsel to back-office support to media relations professionals handling your firm’s relationships with journalists and being a press spokesperson for your firm. An agency team handles all of these responsibilities and more, and there is always someone you can reach out to when there is a last minute announcement or an idea you want to pursue.

Every company’s situation is different, of course, and it is important to weigh your options to decide which will give you the best value…and results.