One point of confusion we often encounter from clients who have decided to use contract staffing is the level of experience and quality needed to take on to effectively fulfill their needs. And there’s no universal answer; each situation will require a unique approach depending on the work that needs to be done and the nature of the business itself.
Doing the Marketing Staffing Math
At the end of the day, businesses are concerned first and foremost with getting the best ROI out of their contractors. After all, that’s why they turned to marketing staffing in the first place.
Less-experienced talent might come at a lower hourly rate, but comes with other “hidden” costs.
Staffing can be an incredibly effective way to manage your man-power costs while getting the work you need done taken care of on time. But how do you know if you are making the most of your investment when you bring in contract marketing staff? Is it better to bring in one expert or a couple of mid-level productivity machines? Do you need an army of junior marketers or just a handful of experienced veterans?
Exceptional marketing talent doesn’t come cheap. And though it’s worth every penny when used properly, businesses have good reason to avoid hiring well above their need.
Less-experienced talent might come at a lower hourly rate, but comes with other “hidden” costs and risks—increased onboarding and management needs, higher potential for problems, etc.
So how do you find the “Goldilocks” level of talent that’s “just right” for you?
Here are a few questions we ask to help clients determine the level of talent that would best fit their needs:
What Is Riding on This Job?
What are the stakes if the contractor talent fails to complete their job as you expected? If it’s a critical pillar of your expensive new campaign that’s supposed to drive most of your sales this year, that’s probably too much responsibility to put on anyone other than the most veteran marketing contractors.
On the other hand, if the work you expect them to take care of isn’t particularly time-sensitive and is less vital for your company’s sustained success, it’s probably a good candidate for the junior marketing staffing talent to tackle.
What Is Your Capacity to Onboard and Train New Talent?
No matter how experienced they are, all new marketing contractors will need some amount of introduction to your projects, company structure, industry, etc. But a senior marketing staffing contractor has done it all before and will require much less time and resources to get rolling.
If your organization has a thorough onboarding process plus the HR and management capacity to spare, it’s much safer to consider less-experienced marketers who will need more time and attention to get going. But if you need someone who will be able to step in and start being productive with minimal support and prompting, then you’ll need a more veteran marketer.
How Many People Do You REALLY Need Working on This?
The kneejerk reaction of many hiring managers when they have a sudden or seemingly overwhelming staffing need is to hire as many contractors as they have budget for and get started immediately. But more filled seats doesn’t always equal more productivity.
In many cases, an individual that has the exact skills you need and experience executing similar projects will complete their tasks far more efficiently than several marketers encountering something for the first time. This is especially important when you take into account that a more senior individual is more likely to get work done right the first time, will require less oversight and need less supervision.
More filled seats doesn’t always equal more productivity.
Sometimes the opposite is true. If the work is fairly basic and simply requires a lot of capacity to keep up with the needed volume, then several moderately experienced contractors will probably be a better solution than one highly qualified expert.
How Regular is the Work?
Is this a routine project you’ve done many times before with lots of precedent to build upon? Or are you breaking new ground on an innovative initiative?
If the projects you need done are in line with your normal marketing activities, there will probably be enough internal experience and examples to guide more junior roles along. But if you expect your staffing talent to be largely self-sufficient in working on something entirely new or technically intensive, you’ll want someone with the seniority to handle the responsibility.
When in Doubt, Err on the Side of Caution
If you’re not quite sure exactly what kind of experience your marketing need calls for, aim for the high end of your range. It’s better to have a little extra marketing firepower than not quite enough. You can use that experience to calibrate for future jobs that might be similar and be more strategic about your selection.