Every modern business runs into the same question as they establish themselves: is it time to sharpen our marketing strategy? The choice between establishing an internal marketing team, hiring a freelancer, and working with a marketing agency is a crucial one.
Go too small, and your results may not end up where you’d like them to be over time. Invest too much relative to the size of your business, and your marketing budget could quickly outpace the growth resulting from it.
This is especially key for senior living establishments. There are no one-size-fits-all strategies for a regional, family-oriented space like this.
With all this in mind, let’s break down the differences in these major marketing categories, both positives and negatives for each, to help senior living executives make the best marketing decisions possible.
Hiring a Freelance Marketer: Benefits and Disadvantages
Independent contractors are often a great choice for a smaller, growing business. You get a singular, individualized strategic rollout, rather than one designed by committee.
Crucially, with a bit of luck, finding the right freelancer has major benefits for senior living, as you can search for contractors who have deep experience in the field. Instead of applying generalized marketing practices, the perfect contractor — if they’re available — would have highly specific skills that could put their profit-driving results well above the cost of their services.
The major problem with freelancers is the bottleneck of their potential output. Generally, they intend to work alone. They might be perfect for managing a one- or two-pronged marketing strategy, but relying on their smaller potential output could quickly turn problematic as your senior living business grows.
Additionally, they have issues scaling. Hiring additional freelancers as your business outpaces them is rarely a functional proposition compared to hiring an established team. Because contractors essentially manage themselves, serving the needs of the client directly, it can be an unwieldy proposition to expect them to work in unison with a fleet of additional freelancers.
The Potential and the Pitfalls of Building an Internal Marketing Team
If freelancing doesn’t seem like the right fit due to the current size of your business, or your plan for rapid growth, another choice is to build your own marketing team in-house.
This allows executives to have a more direct role in developing a team, scaling it up as necessary, and establishing a core group that sharpens their skills working with just that particular business.
In many ways, it’s a natural fit for the senior living space in particular. Experience marketing for coffee chains or eCommerce websites does not necessarily instantly and smoothly translate to this space.
The issues with building an internal marketing team are largely in the major overhead costs associated with permanent hires. It’s much harder to scale down on the fly the way you can with freelancers. Many experienced marketers expect relatively high compensation, as so many in the field juggle multiple clients and take in high total billings.
Because of these factors, it takes an extremely careful hand to build an internal team without spending more than these hires end up being responsible for bringing in.
The Pros and Cons of Hiring an External Marketing Agency
Independent marketing agencies are essentially a combination of the benefits of freelancers and internal teams.
While they generally require higher baseline costs to get started than freelancers, their services tend to run much lower to start than hiring on permanent staff.
And, unlike individual freelancers or internal marketers, they absolutely can scale up and down at will with very little risk. They’ll put people on or take them off a client’s case exactly as often as called for.
The problems of using an agency come from their jack-of-all-trades approach. Most agencies are specialists in marketing writ large, focusing more on presenting themselves as masters of various marketing media (social media, content marketing, email marketing, etc.) rather than serving any specialized market niche.
How 408 Marketing is a Hybrid of All Three
As the previous breakdown shows, there are great cases for and against using freelancers, hiring permanent staff, or contracting an agency for your marketing needs.
So how do you achieve a balance between all three?
408 Marketing was founded to address this exact concern, specifically for senior living businesses. Here’s how we do it:
408 Marketing is committed to providing the exact services required by each individual client.
While our experienced marketing teams are multifaceted in their skills, we know that the highly regional nature of doing business in providing senior living and assisted living spaces means not all our clients require an all-encompassing behemoth of marketing on their behalf.
We understand why senior living owners and executives so often opt for specialized freelancers, even when their business outpaces what those freelancers are capable of. That intimate knowledge of this complex, hands-on business is incredibly valuable, and we seek to provide that to each of our clients.
The collaborative nature of a top-flight internal marketing team adds up to faster results — it’s that simple.
While 408 Marketing is invested in building our expertise on serving senior living clients, we provide the level of fast coordination between experienced marketers and clients in need that is often only found in a dedicated, non-specialized marketing agency.
Internal teams have a sole focus on the needs of their employer. 408 Marketing provides that same level of focus, and service to the client, due to our decade of experience working in the same field.
When you serve exactly one market niche, you can provide a level of collaboration to clients that normally only comes from internal hires.
Dependability and Communication
The best agencies approach each job with surgical precision, working quickly without sacrificing an inch of quality. Their primary directive is always to serve the client efficiently, to continue building their reputation on the positive end rather than intentionally racking up billing by eating up unnecessary time.
That fire that drives generalized ad agencies is very much a part of what drives 408 Marketing. We organize our teams around a strong principle of communication so that the results always come in a timely fashion with as few hiccups as possible. It’s the quality of communication that defines agency work, filtered through a team that stays entirely within the realm of senior living work.
Are you an executive or owner of a senior living business that is looking to establish or upgrade their marketing? Don’t let the potential for major growth supported by an experienced team in this exact market space pass you by. Schedule a consultation or contact us directly to learn more today.