In our COVID-insecure world, everything is different—including the employee landscape. Roughly 25% more workers than previously estimated will need to switch their occupation. Employee shortages are also popping up across the food industry, from restaurants to manufacturing lines and warehousing.
However, in spite of these shortages, the U.S. economy is predicted to increase by approx. 7% in 2021. This would mark the fastest calendar-year growth since 1984, according to Forbes. Some CPG companies grew through 2020 despite the pandemic, often due to increased e-commerce sales.
And of course, what comes with growth is the need for greater expertise, more boots on the ground, and a better way of doing business. Whether growth is planned or a “silver lining” surprise, taking full advantage of an increase in sales or market expansion requires a strong marketing strategy and quality execution.
Unfortunately, not every company has an in-house team to support such progress. The best way to support your company’s growth could be to tap into an experienced fractional marketing team or fractional marketing director from a marketing agency that lives and breathes your world, that specializes in good food. We’ve been supporting good food companies in this way since well before the pandemic, and with staffing issues often a concern these days, fractional marketing help could be exactly what your company needs now.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for food marketing experts or food marketing support, whether you have an internal team or not:
Assess Your Needs & Goals
Social media, PR, campaigns, events, building sell sheets or point of sale materials – these are just a few important marketing elements that every business should consider.
Before you hire a fractional marketing team to take care of part or all of your marketing, write a list of your specific needs and goals. Be as detailed as possible. Think about reputation building through traditional media or influencers, content development, and improving your SEO. Think about your bandwidth and team dynamics. Even if you don’t have a real idea of what marketing is or how an agency can work with your team, asking yourself these questions will help you (and us!) figure out what you need.
How It Works
A fractional marketing team can handle as much or little as you need. They can take on all of the planning and execution for your business from top to bottom, or execute specific campaigns or events on a project basis. They can even provide top-level support to your existing team.
For the latter, hiring a fractional marketing director would be the ideal choice. They would come in on a more permanent weekly or monthly basis acting as your entire marketing team, or managing your entry- to mid-level internal team. This would include setting the best KPI’s for your brand, approving tactics, reviewing sales documents or designs for campaigns, attending important meetings, and/or overseeing the overall execution of progress.
A full-time in-house marketing person or team requires salary and benefits, plus other “hidden costs” like office space and supplies. Salaries for mid-level marketing professionals average between $60,000 – $90,000 per year ($5,000–$7,500/mo.). This number climbs even higher for VP or Director-level salaries.
Agency costs vary wildly, but hours can be tailored to fit within your budget. Expect to come prepared with your budget for that agency’s retainer, then negotiate a contract based on a mutually agreed-upon plan.
Most marketing plans require various skill sets – often, an entire team and someone to lead them. Challenges arise when your marketing needs change and your in-house employees’ skill sets are limited.
Agencies usually offer multiple experts and specialists in different fields with extremely diverse skill sets. They can easily adapt to changing needs, and create highly integrated marketing plans. You get more “bang for your buck” because you pay for an entire team of professionals with diverse skills and experience.
In-house marketers are more likely to fall into a creativity rut or become bored because of the repetitive nature of their job, which can lead to high turnover rates. Marketing professionals at agencies find that by working with other like-minded people, their creativity is continually inspired and buoyed with new ideas. An agency’s diverse client base also leads to different experiences that translate into an agency’s ability to approach each project with a unique and fresh perspective.
Values & Culture
Whether you hire in-house employees or contract with an agency, you want to make sure their values align with your company’s values, mission, and culture. You can ensure this during the hiring and training process with employees. If you choose to go with an agency, you similarly need to interview them to ensure they’re a good fit.
Resources & Network
Companies are often limited in the tools they can afford for their marketing department, and in-house employees usually have a smaller network since they work for one company in one industry. Agencies are more likely to invest in resources or software that they can offer to multiple clients and they have a vast network of contacts in various industries and fields—especially the media.
It’s vital to stay on top of the best practices and most successful tactics in marketing, but these can change in the blink of an eye. A good agency makes it a priority to have the competitive edge. Agency professionals have access to educational courses and other resources so they can learn the newest trends and be industry leaders in their field.
During this uncertain and often challenging time, hiring a fractional marketing team or director through an agency can give you the flexibility and expertise you need. It’s a move that will help you find a solution fast, and maximize your business potential.
Give us a call to talk through your needs and your options. We pride ourselves on developing solutions specific to each company’s unique needs, and there’s no “sales pitch”.