As a growing fintech, one big question is when and what kinds of marketing skills should you hire and what skills should you outsource?
Knowing what skills to have in house versus what you can outsource can be tricky to navigate in the early stages of a company’s growth. You may not yet know what tactics are likely to be most successful for you. Also, what’s required now might be quite different to what’s required in the future. For example, a strong social campaign might be a cost effective way to get your awareness campaign going, but as your business gains momentum a focus on content and PR to drive deeper understanding might become the priority.
This is where a quality marketing or communications agency can step in to provide a range of skill sets and advise you on what’s likely to be most effective.
Fintechs often have complex ideas to get across, so it is crucial to find an agency partner with deep skills and experience in your sector. In doing so, they will be able to ramp up quickly and require less hand holding post-onboarding.
For example, if you’re looking for media coverage, an agency will have established contacts with publications in your industry which is essential in getting your message out there quickly.
Specialist or Generalist?
It can be tempting to recruit a highly-experienced marketer as your first marketing hire. But it’s important to make sure you have someone who is also willing to execute. Effective communication skills and a knack for managing upwards and liaising between agency partners and management/product/sales is another critical attribute.
Equally, hiring someone who specializes in a particular area comes with pros and cons as you may not yet know which of the marketing disciplines or tactics are going to work best for you. It also means that someone, most likely you as the business owner, will need to set and steer the overall marketing strategy.
Finding a solid marketing generalist or growth marketer is often a good place to start as you figure out what your overall strategy and tactics need to be. Their reason for being is to identify marketing channels, solutions and tactics that will drive customer acquisition, build the brand and increase revenue. A key part of this is constantly testing and experimenting to find out which tactics are having the most impact over time.
Generalists or growth marketers will also brief and manage agencies and freelancers to make sure their output is aligned with the overall marketing strategy. Consider someone with a bit less industry experience, but with significant potential and passion for your business. Your agency partners can also often fill any skill or domain expertise gaps.
If the required investment poses challenges, there are plenty of talented generalist consultants and advisers with industry experience who you can outsource to on a part-time, or interim, basis. Often, they have come out of senior marketing roles and are eager to share their knowledge with a range of growing companies. You can contract them to work for you a few days or hours a week to help you develop and evolve your marketing strategy as well as mentor and guide juniors and specialists.
Over time you will, inevitably, need to bring strategic marketing skills in-house. But if resources allow, it’s wise to balance that with access to outside marketing counsel. Marketing can be complex and it can be easy to just keep executing the same strategies and tactics over and over without applying a critical, objective eye to their ongoing effectiveness. An agnostic, 3rd party is often a great complement.
How will I know when I’m ready?
Engaging an agency or outsourcing will often get you where you want to go quickly in the beginning. But it’s important to be ready to get the most out of the commitment.
PR and marketing agencies can help you formulate and execute your media, advertising strategy or content strategy, but it’s not “set and forget.” For relationships to really succeed, any agency must work hard and fast at the beginning to get familiar with the client they are going to support. However, it’s equally important that the client provides their agency account team access to the necessary product knowledge. It’s also important for the client to spend time with the account team to ensure proper understanding of their product or service. This is a big investment you are making. Therefore, as you would with any new hire, it’s worth investing time and effort so the relationship will succeed in the long term.
As you wrestle with what makes the most sense for your company and what to outsource to agencies or freelancers, start by asking yourself what you are trying to achieve with your marketing strategy.
Having conversations with a variety of outside partners and potential in-source solutions will put you in a position to determine if you should build in-house, engage outside help, or explore a hybrid approach.
Feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to talk to you about where you are on your marketing and communications journey.