Hire an expert vendor to build a dedicated team that converts to in-house employees. Exactly like a dedicated team, but at some point in time the hiring company takes over management of the team and brings them on as regular employees. This transfer can also be optional, in which case the company can choose to transfer the team by paying a buy-out fee, or end the relationship. Selecting a vendor with expertise in low cost locales can result in significant cost savings.
For companies that are committed to advanced analytics in their marketing team, this offers the benefits of a dedicated team with a contractual guarantee that they can onboard that particular set of talent. The contract firm has a high level of domain expertise in hiring data scientists and related roles. You have a chance to try out a team and evaluate results before making the decision whether to continue the relationship or not, if you use a buy-out option.
If you have an upfront agreement to take on the team after a certain period, you’re making a relatively large commitment. If you choose to make the team transfer optional, the overall cost will be higher because the contracting firm assumes the risk that you will decline the transfer option.
When your marketing organization is just beginning to explore the business uses for big data and advanced marketing analytics, the best advice is to start slow and learn before committing to a complete transformation of your marketing practices.
There’s a common misperception that engaging top-level talent is too expensive. But you should be able to use one or more of the models above to reduce risk and improve your long-term success, no matter what your budget. You could hire a highly experienced data scientist for a few hours a week to help you define the goals of a bigger project, for example. Once you understand what you want, then you can move on to hiring an individual or team to execute that project.
And if you’re in the US, don’t overlook the potential cost savings of hiring overseas talent. My company has employed extremely talented engineers, data scientists and analysts from Eastern Europe at a fraction of the cost of North American employees with similar experience and skill sets. This report from HackerRank backs that up: 7 of the top 20 countries for programmer talent are in Eastern Europe.
Whichever way you decide to go in your marketing analytics journey, please feel free to contact me if you’re searching for talent or have questions about data science hiring trends and best practices.