If You’ve Already Employed A Family Member To Do Your Digital Marketing, Don’t Read This. It’ll Break Your Heart

Once you realise that a significant part of your business growth relies on getting more traffic, leads and customers to your website, you have to make a decision about who is going to do the digital marketing to make it happen!
Obviously, it’s a decision you need to get right. This blog post will help you decide if a family member is the right choice for your Fire & Security business

Employing A Family Member To Do Digital Marketing

You’re sensible enough to realise that you wear enough hats already so you cannot do it yourself but you do have a relative who has “done marketing” at college or Uni. It seems like a match made in heaven.  However, there can be a lot of ‘buts’ involved with employing a member of the family…

Digital marketing skills

It can be extremely hard to find one person who possesses all the skills required to create and manage a complete digital strategy  – even the most recent Marketing degree graduate doesn’t know everything!

A family member with a Marketing degree from 5 or 10 years ago will really struggle – just think of the changes to Facebook and Google in that time period. You will find that there are a lot of tasks which may need to be outsourced to agencies or freelancers to get the results you desire..

Is it more cost-effective to employ a family member?

Spending a large chunk of your marketing budget on an unskilled family member just because they need a job is not going to give you the best return. They may not be cut out for the role. While a fully qualified relative may not want to work for a lower wage than s/he is used to. And HMRC will come down very hard on any attempted tax evasion – such as the use of cash payments!

Will employing a family member for digital marketing be more productive?

In theory, because it is a family concern, you hope you will get extra commitment. But marketing is a continually changing landscape, does your family member have the passion for the role or the time to keep up to date? Does your budget allow for that learning?

Whilst they are learning, they are not marketing your business!

And what other family responsibilities might interfere with their performance? Do you want someone who is only part-time and trying to squeeze everything in? Or who has other family commitments that may trump your demands on their time?

What are the risks of a family member as marketing manager?

Family businesses have a very particular set of potential problems around internal dynamics and relationships with other employees:

  • internal dynamics – sibling rivalry, parent-child issues
  • relationships with other employees – a member of staff may find it difficult to complain to the boss about his son or daughter

A quick fix for your marketing can turn into a business nightmare or a long term problem with your relations.

Real world examples of family members as marketers

With a marketing degree

In the Fire & Security industry and Manufacturing we have seen examples of sons and daughters with marketing degrees taking control of the family business’s online presence. The results were not always pretty – much to the chagrin of the non-family members who were running the company but had no say over this particular appointment! 

Busy websites that were hard for Google to find and difficult for any human visitors to navigate. They showed off the technical expertise of the company but did not reflect the pains and problems of the target audience.  Very little traffic and even fewer leads means not many customers.

Without any marketing skills

Alex Polizzi’s The Fixer and The Hotel Inspector have numerous episodes where family members have been employed as marketers with varying degrees of success.


Hiring A Current Employee Digital Marketing

One episode had the son and daughter of the owners attending a sales meeting arranged by Alex. They were responsible for Sales and Marketing but they  completely failed to grasp the marketing message of the company they had grown up with and were unable to sell any of their products during the meeting.

Alex’s advice was that they should go to work for another company in the industry at a more junior level to gain the required skills and experience before returning to the business.

Looking for the right marketer to grow your business?

Are you ready to smash your business growth goals with the help of experienced digital marketers? Click here

Still thinking about all the options? Read the pros and cons of hiring an employee or outsourcing to a freelancer or agency by clicking the image below.

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