BY MATTHEW BIRCHARD

For the same money you’d pay an employee to manage your marketing you can hire an agency team to actually do the work.

Salary.com shows that an average Marketing Communications Manager in Portland, Oregon earns $85,606 in salary per year (as of July 2012).  But add in bonuses, taxes and the value of benefits and the total compensation jumps to $126,576.  Businesses have to evaluate the ROI on an employee who costs $10,000 per month – is payroll the best use of funds?

We’ve worked with clients over the years who have expected that their MarCom Manager would not only provide strategic direction and project coordination, but also be the one to actually do the job of a copywriter, web master, social media expert, event planner and even the graphic designer.  No one person can effectively fulfill these varied tasks, thus the MarCom Manager invariably outsources work to an agency or freelancers who have the skill sets needed while they themselves manage the work.  This approach is typical, but uses up a significant portion of the marketing budget, which at the very least should be equal to the MarCom Manager’s compensation.  So, how much bang for the buck does a business get that spends $250,000 on marketing in a year with half going to employing a manager?

And if your business’ overall marketing budget is even less, spending too much employing someone really doesn’t make sense.  How effective can anyone be if they don’t have budget available to execute projects with?  The manager who’s paycheck is greater than their budget is being set up for failure.

A more effective option is to not add an employee and outsource all of your business’ marketing activities to a full service agency.

A true partnership with an agency allows the business to rely upon the account manager from the agency like a member of the company team; they can provide both the strategic direction based upon business goals and project coordination that a MarCom Manager would fulfill while other members of the agency provide the varied creative services that would be outsourced anyway.

An agency retainer at $10,000 per month structured to include the level of managerial support you need plus creative services can go a long way compared to the value received from only having an employee then paying extra for creative services.  This reallocation of a MarCom Manager’s compensation better utilizes the overall budget, thus allowing for more marketing and enhancing ROI.

While this doesn’t apply to all businesses and situations, for many small to mid-size companies that have been bold enough to embrace it, we’ve been witness to the success that can come from such a partnership.