Deciding whether to hire in-house marketing employees or work with an agency is a tough, weighted decision for most businesses. How do you find the right people to create and deliver successful campaigns that directly influence your company’s revenue or ROI?
Before you recruit any marketing team (whether internal or external), know that there’s a lot to consider. Are you just looking for someone to handle general marketing collateral? Or are you searching for a tech-savvy individual who can leverage the newest software, trends and strategies? What kind of marketing campaigns do you want to run, and on what channels?
To help you make the right move, we’ve summed up the biggest pros and cons of hiring an agency versus in-house marketing.
In-House Marketing Vs. Agency Marketing
First, let’s cover the basics. What’s the difference between in-house marketing and agency marketing?
In-house marketing employees work directly and exclusively for your company. They live and breathe your products, services, mission and culture. Marketing agencies, on the other hand, are outsourced third parties that you can hire to manage your marketing. They’ll handle all marketing services, strategy and execution so your employees can focus on other areas of the business.
Keep in mind that digital marketing encompasses a wide range of services, including email marketing, social media, content, paid advertising, web development and more. If you’re considering hiring in-house, you’ll need to recruit the right mix of individuals who can support your company’s specific needs. And, as your business grows or services expand, you might need to hire additional people to cover more ground.
When you work with a marketing agency, you’re hiring a team of seasoned specialists who can deliver a variety of services based on what you need. Marketing agencies also offer consulting services and provide strategic recommendations from an outsider perspective.
3 Benefits of In-House Marketing
Thinking about hiring an in-house marketing team? You’ll find that there are some significant benefits of keeping your marketing team internal.
1. Employees are fully dedicated
An in-house marketing team has your undivided attention. Internal employees are 100% committed to working on marketing for your brand all day, every day. Additionally, in-house teams will be more knowledgeable about your products or services and the competitive landscape of your industry.
Agency employees have to split their focus across multiple clients, producing assets or building strategies as needed. They may not have the same in-depth understanding of your industry or competition compared to internal employees.
2. Communication and collaboration is easier
Working with an in-house marketing team can be much more efficient. Your employees are physically present and readily available to take on new tasks without delay. If there’s a change of plans, marketing employees can quickly prioritize urgent action items without undergoing back-and-forth communication or approval.
An internal marketing team generally has more bandwidth to get bigger projects underway. With agencies, there’s a chance you’ll be playing a lot of email-tag or phone-tag throughout the approval process.
3. More control, transparency and ownership
Naturally, your business has more control and ownership over the work of in-house marketing teams.
An internal marketing team might be more capable of building out long-term strategic marketing plans, given their familiarity with internal operations. They’ll have more knowledge and influence over the direction of campaigns, especially from an insider perspective.
3 Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Agency
Why hire a digital marketing agency? If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve and keep competitors on their toes, outsourcing your marketing may be the way to go.
1. Acquire more expertise without additional costs
When you sign with an agency, you typically pay a fixed monthly cost. Some agencies charge a monthly retainer, while others charge per hour or per project. You won’t have to pay for full-time salaries, benefits or training.
If kickoff and setup are quick, the agency starts work immediately. Agencies also do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to learning about your business and the industry.
Agencies are specialists in marketing. When you hire an agency, you gain access to an entire team of expert writers, SEO specialists, PPC specialists, designers and more. Think about how much you’d have to pay to cover those knowledge areas on your internal team. A single marketing manager’s salary can range from $44,000 to $97,000 per year.
2. Scale up faster and increase productivity
By outsourcing marketing, you free up time to focus on other goals. You won’t have to worry about optimizing your website, sending emails or creating collateral, which many business owners forget about or push down their list as other initiatives take priority.
In-house employees can easily get overwhelmed as marketing projects pile up. Avoid the possibility of employee burnout by outsourcing your digital marketing to an expert group. In turn, you’ll improve efficiency and boost productivity internally.
3. Stay on top of the latest trends and technology
You won’t need to worry about learning curves when you hire a digital marketing agency.
Agencies often bake in time to experiment and leverage the best tools for their clients. For most agencies, acquiring certifications or attending conferences is part of the job. You’ll never have to stress about implementing the latest best practices in your marketing – your agency will do it for you.
If you hire in-house staff, you’ll need to account for the costs of training software, tools, courses or certifications in your budget. Your internal marketing team will have to spend time learning or educating, which robs time away from the actual marketing execution.
Build or Buy?
So, what’s the answer to this million-dollar question? Should you build an internal marketing team or pay for external support?
Internal marketing teams are best for businesses that aren’t really looking to scale up marketing or be as proactive with new trends. If you’re only focusing on one area of marketing, such as paid ads or content, you can survive by hiring one or two internal specialists. Just remember, you might encounter challenges if you want to expand your team in the future.
Agencies are ideal for brands that have aggressive growth goals but don’t have the time or resources to spend on marketing. If you don’t have dedicated marketing experience at your disposal, you’re probably better off outsourcing marketing to experts. And if you have a limited budget, many agencies do offer flexible plans and packages.
Ultimately, you should carefully audit the current state of your marketing and take a deep dive into your marketing goals for the future. Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to choose solely between in-house marketing or agency marketing – you can have both.
If your budget and bandwidth allow, consider hiring a marketing manager or small team who can partner with a reputable agency to ensure your brand covers all the bases.