Blog originally posted May 9th, 2017 by Alex Butz

In-House Marketing or Outside Agency: What Is Best For Your Business?

Making decisions for your business can be stressful. It can be particularly stressful to market your business considering all of the options and opinions that are now circulating the field of marketing. Most times, budgets allocated to marketing efforts are strict and ROI is tracked very closely.

We have seen a huge shift in the past decade (especially since the rise of the internet and Google) into digital marketing. There are so many more options now for where to apply your marketing budget and where/how to build a marketing strategy (SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, etc). This increase has lead to a few different effects.  

Often one of the major decisions come down to whether your business should outsource your marketing efforts to an agency or hire the necessary resources in-house.

There is no clear cut answer to this question. Everything is contingent on your industry and ultimately your company’s goals.

However, that being said, we have seen success with both approaches. Take a look at a few of our examples below! Hopefully, our experience can help you determine what will be best for you and your brand.

Here are the common questions that we hear:

How do the costs compare?

The first thing that always comes to mind when comparing cost is overhead. For example:

  • How many people will you have to hire to build out your team internally?
  • How many desks and chairs?
  • How many computers?
  • How many employees will need benefits?
  • How long will it take to train the new hires?

Making the decision to outsource to an agency is to a degree a different level of investment (vs. hiring internally). Your investment will likely go towards time and materials. Additionally, an agency will only charge you for the work that has been done or is currently being done. Unlike when you hire internally, you won’t be responsible for paying for PTO, holidays, sick, leaves of absence, etc.

Agencies also have a team of people with various skill sets to meet your marketing needs whether it is branding, creative, traditional, or digital marketing. When you choose an agency, you are essentially hiring each of these skill sets. That being said, when you are determining the cost, it is important for you to compare “apples to apples” aka hiring one person who may be a “jack of all trades” is not comparable to an agency fit.

It is also crucial for you to determine the frequency of your marketing needs – how much bandwidth do you have internally? Often times, agencies can be a great addition to your internal team, aligning with current strategies and best practices, to provide added horsepower during times of flux.

How does talent compare?

The marketing field is very saturated. It is pretty easy to find intelligent and talented people in both an agency setting in addition to freelance and people looking for hire. More often than not, agencies have a reputation for being more modern, creative, and “lively”.  Whereas, corporate environments, even marketing departments, can get stagnant.

Keep in mind, if you are building a team internally, challenge them to be creative at every turn. It can be deflating to work on the same brand, logo, messaging, etc., again and again.

Agencies can offer a diverse client list to their employees, giving them new challenges every day, new problems to solve. These creative challenges are evident in much of their creative work and ability to tackle strategic issues.

Which option is more convenient?

By default, in-house marketing is going to be convenient as the entire marketing department is in the same building as the rest of the company. Which means getting questions answered, holding briefing meetings, presenting ideas and brainstorming, can all happen easily and efficiently.

However, video conferencing, file sharing, email and cell phones have also made it pretty easy to communicate with agencies as well. Just be sure to ask specific questions about turnaround times and rush orders during the agency vetting process.

If you choose to take the agency route, shop around. Find and select an agency you are confident you will be able to reach in the eleventh hour when you need them most and who puts your best interest at heart. Additionally, look for honest – people who tell you straight up what you can expect from their marketing efforts. No one needs someone who fluffs their leads and makes promises that they can’t keep.

Any other burning questions? Contact our team today. In the meantime, take our Agency Fit Quiz to iron out your marketing needs and get more clarity around your next steps.  

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