I recently received a call from a lawyer with whom I used to work. His new firm was debating hiring an "in-house" person to handle their marketing, PR and business development or contracting with a local PR/marketing firm to help them get more attention in their marketplace. He wanted my advise on which would be better for their small office.
In my opinion it is always best to have a person in-house to oversee these important functions. Even if you continue to utilize the services of outside consultants, you should have at least one person inside whose full-time focus is to promote and protect the image of the firm. This means in each market where you have an office, not just at headquarters. If not, it is too easy to just let it slide. (I am not saying outsourcing certain functions is a bad idea...in many cases it is a GREAT idea. However, it should not be "either/or"....you should find the consultants who enhance the skills of the inhouse marketing professionals).
But a qualified marketing and PR executive will cost money. In most cities their salaries will easily top six figures. Many firms make the mistake of hiring a very junior level person or outsourcing these functions because it will reduce the overhead expense by around fifty percent.
But I ask you, which is a better investment? $100,000 that produces measurable results, or $50,000 that just makes you feel better because you saved money? Too often professionals think that outside consultants know some magic formula that will make their phone ring off the hook. I believe that the only way to gain more business is for you and your co-workers to invest the time to personally build relationships with your clients, prospects and other VIP's in your industry. Having someone on the inside can help keep you focused. There are no shortcuts.
If you have a need for marketing, PR, sales, advertising, etc.... then spend the time and money required to do it right.
In the end, this firm hired a marketing guy to handle the firm's image related activities. He will use outside help.... as one person, no matter how good, is not an whole department (that is a topic for a whole other post!!!). I am positive this firm will be very happy with their decision.
Have A Great Day.