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Don’t Go Chasing Unicorns

November 17, 2021

By Heather Isch, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS magazine

Job listings are plentiful these days. As an employer, you wade through potential hires, typically looking for someone who can excel at a specific position’s core requirements and successfully dabble in related areas.

When it comes to in-house marketing positions, you probably envision your ideal candidate overseeing strategic planning, updating your website, writing and regularly distributing blog posts, concepting and designing collateral materials, developing and implementing digital campaigns and providing analytics and insights on all utilized tactics.

In addition, your ideal in-house hire would also be responsible for juggling social media posts, coordinating print campaigns, supplying trade show materials, planning special events and so much more. But, realistically, juggling all of these tasks will be challenging, if not impossible.

This do-it-all, in-house marketing hire is as elusive as a unicorn. And chasing after that magical creature is likely to be as futile as going on a hunting expedition in search of Bigfoot.

Entrusting your marketing needs to a team of experts—also known as outsourcing to a marketing agency—is a far better use of your time and resources.

Outsourcing Efficiencies

Many organizations hire a marketing candidate to work internally, afterward assessing which of the laundry list of marketing tasks that employee can handle. This approach is often counterintuitive. Working with an outside agency before you hire can help you craft the ideal job description and qualifications that will assist you in selecting the best in-house candidate and expedite the training and integration process.

Businesses also gain significant financial benefits by outsourcing their needs to marketing professionals who live and breathe marketing strategy and sales activation. Marketing expenses move from fixed to variable since the agency offers on-demand access to experts. This is where outsourcing becomes particularly attractive and cost effective!

Partnering with an agency for some or all of your marketing needs allows your company to work with experts in specific areas such as social media, media buying, web development, etc. without paying for expertise 52 weeks a year. Your organization only pays for the expertise when it’s needed, allowing for faster execution and a higher return on your marketing investment.

An additional bonus of working with an agency is that the agency itself is responsible for keeping its experts up to date on the latest and greatest marketing tactics, tools and pitfalls. You only pay when the agency leverages that knowledge on your behalf, rather than paying for an internal marketing professional who may not be an expert in all areas of marcom.

Optimizing Budgets

Not convinced that the team approach of an agency can out-deliver a unicorn-like internal hire? Consider these sample scenarios:

Capturing Culture: Being a part of an organization is key to understanding and authentically communicating its culture, brand, offerings and services. With regular in-person or remote meetings between internal staff and agency partners, true-to-life messaging can be developed.

At the beginning of an outsourced relationship and even before undertaking major projects with an established agency partner, thoughtfully crafted questions and exercises can be utilized to give an office outsider an insider’s perspective.

Achieving Results: Envision your organization’s marketing needs once more. Do you envision a stressed-out unicorn attempting to juggle an infinite number of large and small tasks or a team of experts moving in sync to execute your vision and help to achieve your marketing goals? Stick with the team approach and you’ll be able to save or reallocate resources, gain access to a broader range of skill sets and achieve better results overall.


Heather Isch is the President & Owner/CEO of LKF Marketing. She purchased the agency in 2015 after working for the Kalamazoo-based business for 19 years. She and her 18-person team deliver relationship-driven intelligent marketing solutions to clients in a wide range of industries from education and arts organizations to manufacturers and municipalities.

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