If you are a brewery who decides that they would rather hire someone in house for their marketing needs here are some dos, don'ts, and general observations (having lived those lives for a long time):
- Anticipate expenditures and liabilities outside of an annual salary. We're talking about health care, workers comp (Yes, even for desk kids. We take dangerous photos and like to play with electricity), cell phone coverage, equipment, paid vacation, and continued education. A qualified marketing professional should cost you $45K annually MINIMUM before additional expenditures.
- Don't hire fans. Don't hire fans, unless they are qualified to do the job regardless of their affinity for your brand. If they are qualified and enamored with your vision, hire the hell out them, but make sure you can confidently say both. Everyone "dabbles" in photoshop, has a photo, has a lot of followers on Instagram, and will work for you for nearly free because they just want to get a foot in the door. A good hire will have a legitamate skill set, they will fit your company culture, and they will asked to get paid accordingly because they know the value of their work.
- Marketing is a sensitive subject. As an owner you have specific ideas about your brand, the story you tell, the image you project. In turn, your in house Marketing hire has specific ideas about your brand, the story you tell, the image you project. When owners and marketing listen to each other and develop a trusting relationship (i.e. understanding that both want what's best for the brand above all) these in house hires can be the most rewarding. But Dear God, do they take constant work. Until you strike that beautiful worked for balance, feelings are often hurt, and productivity is often sidelined.
- You can fire a vendor. Breach of contract aside, a consulting relationship is one that can be negotiated up front and tends to be more honest and professional in regards to expectations and deliverables, and can be terminated more easily than an employee. While marketing success can be trickier to gauge then say, your hop quality and timely delivery of those hops, it is more similar to a vendor relationship than that of an inexperienced, but promising employee you have taken under your wing. The investment is different, and therefore the expectation is different.
- Be prepared to give your employees a work-life they can grow with, stay challenged by, and feel invested in. If you, as an owner, have dreams of one day having the time to do the marketing for your business or you have no intention or desire to grant a hefty payload of autonomy to your marketing employee hire a consulting company. It's a waste of everyone's time to hire what we call a "marketing admin." You will be exhausted and disappointed by micro-managing and your employee(s) may ultimately end up unfulfilled and resentful.