The Hidden Costs of Hiring In-House Marketing Staff

Law firms, like most prudent businesses, are rightfully concerned with the numbers, especially the ROI on any given investment. Increasing staff, in particular, is often a fraught point of discussion. Can your existing staff take on more responsibilities? Can you get by a little longer without hiring someone?

These hesitations are understandable. Hiring someone new, especially when it’s a high-paying position, is a significant investment. Once law firms hit a certain size, many of them dive into the hiring process for staff who are specifically dedicated to marketing. It’s a natural outgrowth of many previous decisions about scaling up that involved in-house hires for other positions.

Unfortunately, many law firms don’t consider if their investment in a new staff member could be put to better use with a higher ROI somewhere else.

The True Cost of Hiring an In-House Marketing Asset

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average salary of a marketing manager is over $127,000. Even taking the numbers from Glassdoor (which suggests the average marketing manager’s salary in the U.S. is over $87,000) — hiring someone new is a significant investment.

But it’s not just an investment in the person’s salary, payroll taxes, benefits, etc. There’s the time investment of everyone who is involved in the hiring, interview, and training processes. Office real estate will be taken up by this individual and the space required to perform their duties. Equipment like a high-end computer, smartphone, and more are essential to a marketing professional. Tools like specialized software, subscriptions to services, organizational memberships, and more are indispensable to effective marketers. The list goes on.

When you add up these costs, hiring an in-house marketing asset is no doubt a weighty investment. Many law firms are tempted to find a cheaper alternative, like hiring a freelancer, but cost is only one of many factors to consider as you seek to improve your law firm’s marketing strategy.

The Inherent Limitations of Marketing Staff Members

Whether you’re considering an in-house or freelance marketing professional, along with the question of cost should ultimately come the question, “How much can one person truly do?”

Will your marketing manager or director be able to fully realize all the facets of an effective marketing strategy? Can they build and troubleshoot a website, plan and write quality content, manage multiple social media profiles, implement a paid advertising campaign, accomplish email marketing initiatives, create design assets from scratch, and more? Can they also deliver ongoing, timely reports on the effectiveness and ROI of all these different strategies?

The answer to these questions is undoubtedly “no,” which means added costs to cover the gaps in their skillset or to make up for shortages in their workload capacity ― often requiring even more staff members or freelancers. Without the resources to supplement that person’s efforts, you will suffer from a wasted investment in poorly executed and ineffective work.

Maximize Your ROI by Partnering with a Digital Marketing Agency

When considering all the resources required to bring on and support an in-house marketing professional, it’s worth investigating whether or not that investment could go to better use and yield a higher ROI by partnering with an experienced marketing agency with a proven track record of success. Obviously, at LaFleur, we have an inherent bias toward the agency partnership model, but the principles underlying the benefits of working with a marketing firm are straightforward:

  • Comprehensive Marketing Services: A full-service marketing agency will not only have staff with more diverse skillsets, but also more qualified staff for specific marketing functions. They will have content marketing specialists who can create engaging, relevant, and optimized content for your website, blog, email, and more. They will have social media specialists who know which sites will benefit your law firm the most and who can optimize your profiles and keep you in the forefront of your audience’s mind. They will have paid advertising experts who can create and manage effective, results-driven advertising campaigns for your law firm. In short, an agency will have specialized and certified marketing professionals who are experts in each area of your marketing strategy that they are implementing.
  • Experience in the Legal Industry: At an agency like LaFleur, one of our specialties is marketing specifically for law firms. We oversee marketing strategies for attorneys and law firms across the United States, from Florida to Alaska. This means we have volumes of data about what works (and what doesn’t) for law firms similar to yours and in similar geographic regions. While best-practices and ethics guide all of our marketing efforts, we also use data-driven innovation specific to the legal industry in order to supercharge your marketing efforts and give you an advantage over your competitors.
  • Familiarity with Your Firm: While an in-house marketing professional will certainly have a close familiarity with your firm, its business goals, its brand guidelines, and more, at LaFleur, you will have individual team members dedicated specifically to your firm’s success. We have a thorough onboarding process to help your team at LaFleur become acquainted with every aspect of your firm from your ideal client to your brand’s color palette. And as our partnership grows, we document all of your feedback so you don’t experience the exasperation of having to constantly re-align your marketing efforts with your business goals and standards.
  • Higher ROI: The gold standard by which to compare any investment to another, of course, is its concrete returns for your business. If you had to choose between investing the same amount into the efforts of one generalist versus a team of dedicated specialists, no advanced calculations are required: you’ll get a higher ROI from that team of experts every time. At LaFleur, we care about the numbers just as much as you do: we want to see your law firm succeed, and we want to show you how the investment you make each month is making a positive impact on your bottom line.

In-House Marketing and Agency Partnerships Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

At LaFleur, we’ve had the joy of working with many small firms who could only make a modest investment in the early days of our partnership (and who definitely couldn’t afford their own dedicated in-house marketing professional). As they have experienced successes as a result of our joint efforts, they have scaled up. Like those law firms, once your organization hits a certain size, it may make a lot of sense to bring an in-house marketing manager or director into the fold.

In cases where a law firm hires or already has a marketing leader in place, partnering with an agency can provide exactly the support he or she needs to give your marketing efforts a boost over your competition. Their intimacy with your firm combined with the expert assistance of dedicated marketing professionals is the perfect mix for success — at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire your own in-house team.

LaFleur: Making Law Firm Marketing a Positive Sum Game

If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of working with an agency, know that with LaFleur, we only require 30 days of notice for a change in your agreement, so we can quickly and easily adapt to your changing needs, even if that means parting ways. We also make sure you get (and keep) everything you paid for by providing our clients with any and all deliverables upon request at any time. No tricks, no games — just outstanding, results-driven marketing for your law firm.

So if you’re in the process of trying to recruit an in-house marketing professional — or if your existing marketing point person needs an injection of fresh expertise to effectively market your law firm — take the guesswork out of the equation and call LaFleur at (888) 222-1512 or fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll get back to you right away.

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Chip Lafleur

Chip is an entrepreneur, organizational leader, and marketing expert who combines experience in web development, marketing tactics, strategy, and team leadership with a strong ability to harness talent and hone complex concepts into concrete deliverables.