The Marketing Director is one of the most misunderstood positions in your small business. Misconceptions about this job often lead to burnout, crappy results, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in wasted money.

Drew & Michael break down the myths and misconceptions about what a marketing director does, when you actually need one, and how to turn them into a lead-generation powerhouse.

Marketing Director Job Description

According to,  a marketing director is someone who “oversees a company’s promotion and advertising efforts to drive sales and build brand awareness. Their responsibilities include developing an overall marketing plan, approving campaigns, and measuring the return on investment of various marketing methods., another job posting platform website, also defines a marketing director as someone who “is responsible for providing direction, guidance, and leadership to a marketing department. They typically manage marketing of a business, organization, particular product or group of products.”

With all of the tasks and responsibilities involved in marketing, a marketing team is more valuable now than ever before. A marketing director is one piece of an entire team working together to accomplish a goal and execute a plan. Therefore, people can get confused about the role of a marketing director. Let’s take a closer look at what a marketing director is not.

What a Marketing Director Is Not…

For one, the marketing director is not the producer.  The producer of a company, in a manner of speaking, is typically the CEO of the company. They are the person running the company or organization. They are making sure that the business is doing what it does best: turning a profit. However, the CEO is focused on the operations of the business itself. A marketing director cannot nor should they be the person doing this. Both of these roles are simply too much for one person to fill. Consequently, the marketing director is also not the talent.  The director is not the one creating the content and running the website.

The Truth About Marketing Directors

When hiring a marketing director, you must keep in mind that they simply can’t do it all.

The average starting salary for a marketing director is about $71000 in the greater Charlotte, NC area.  In fact, as Drew points out, the salary for marketing directors are not going up, but down. This is because a lot of things within the marketing space are being commoditized. 

Marketing directors must divvy out responsibilities and connect with so many different roles. Because of this and a misunderstanding of their role, they run a very high risk of burnout.  Many of them, like Michael, leave an agency to start their own. With all of that said, the real question is…

Should I Hire a Full-Time Marketing Director?

Well, it depends. It is important for a business owner to keep in mind the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated employee to be your marketing director.

The Pros:  An in-house marketing director will have inside knowledge of your vision and your business.  They will be on site so and can make moves on a dime for your business.  If you have hired the right person, they will have a good knowledge of metrics and how your marketing pays off.  

The challenges:  The salary. Your business will have to grow and be growing at a substantial enough rate that you can financially justify having this position. The total salary package of a marketing director will include benefits, pay, insurance, and taxes. You will also need to provide the right equipment which can get pricey.  And even still, you will have to outsource talent.  If you don’t do that, you will have to hire an entire marketing team.  This will make your salaries blow up fast.

The other danger is that you risk the danger of your marketing director becoming someone who has an insulated mindset.  Anytime you are not getting outside ideas, it can be difficult to gain a fresh, creative perspective. Even marketing agencies can struggle to do their own marketing. 

Another challenge for a business owner is that you need to empower your marketing director to make marketing decisions that drive business.  You cannot hold your marketing director captive.  You are hiring them to do a job. Don’t keep them from doing it.  By hiring a marketing director, you will have to give up some control.

In light of all of that, you may need to consider hiring a marketing agency instead.

Or Should I Hire a Marketing Agency?

Once your company has grown, you really may need to have a full team of people. However, you want a bigger team for a smaller price tag than hiring them in-house. There are a few factors to consider if you find that you are in this position.  

The Pros:  You get a variety of ideas.  In fact, the marketing agency you hire may even use your product or at least know of it. They can have the eyes of a consumer.  You get fresh voices in the mix.  You also get some atypical strategies that can be utilized that can really get attention.  When you have an outside agency, they aren’t tied to the day-to-day operations of your business. They can solely focus on the aspect of the business that they are experts in: marketing. 

The challenges:  The onboarding process can take time. The agency needs to feel like an extension of your company.  This will not happen in a day. It will require a lot of patience on your part as the agency learns about you, your organization, and the company’s values, and determine the best course of action given your unique situation.

Or Should I Hire Both?

What? Is hiring a marketing director and an agency beneficial? If you have a marketing director who has a great plan but does not have the manpower to execute it, this could be a great time to hire an agency. By having a marketing director that understands your company, they can work with an agency and get a lot accomplished. In fact, this can make your marketing process streamlined. Your marketing director has already done much of the leg work an agency would do. The marketing agency can then be freed up to proceed with the plan without having to do time-consuming background work. The marketing director can truly be the marketing agency’s best friend.

If you don’t have a marketing director, a marketing agency can come in and act as that for you.  

Marketing Agency Tips From the Experts

1. Have a designated person who is the specific point of contact.

Drew and Michael point out that you should always have a specific point of contact that will work with the company and the agency that you have hired.  Your agency needs to know who your go-to person is. By not having a point of contact, the marketing agency could tack on fees due to the lack of organization and extra leg work that they have to put into the process. In fact, some agencies will even terminate their contract with you because of the loss of time and revenue it may take to do their job.

In order to ensure this doesn’t happen, the point of contact simply needs to be someone that is consistent and knows the operation of your business. This person needs to be empowered to make approvals and decisions by the CEO.

2. Set a Realistic Marketing Budget

As a small business, you should be planning to spend 7-8% of your gross revenues, not your net profits, that you WANT to make this year on marketing.  This is an investment. Therefore, it is an investment before it will pay off.  You must be forward-thinking with your business or your marketing agency could be wasting their time.

3. Hire Well

At the end of the day, make sure you have hired the best people who have your interests at heart.  Make sure that they are empowered to do their jobs and that they’re ready to go and promote your business. Nothing can be more frustrating than developing a plan and having the rug swept out from under you by an unsupportive CEO.

Action Tip: Do the math and find out how much it would cost to hire your “dream” marketing team.

 Think about all of the people that you would have on your marketing team and do some research.  Compare some numbers and see if it’s more feasible to hire a marketing director or a marketing agency, or both.  

If you don’t want to do all of that, simply reach out to Drew at Escape Plan Marketing to chat with him about a free discovery plan.

Next time…

Drew and Michael discuss the biggest mistake that CEOs make in marketing their companies.

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