Whether you’re a small start-up or an established business, you need marketing, and the good news is you have options. You could hire choose a marketing agency vs. an in-house marketing team, or vice versa, either choice would get the job done. But, which choice is better for your business? We’re going to break down the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision on what’s best for your business.
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Agency vs. In-House Marketing: What’s The Difference?
Welcome to Marketing and a Mic. We’re here each week to give you a variety of digital marketing tips, trends, and useful guides all to help your business get results. Today we are talking about if you should choose an agency vs. hiring an in-house marketing team. Let’s break down the differences between the two.
In-house marketing simply means that your marketing will be done by people who work exclusively for your company. This approach allows all the members of the team to be fully aligned with the company’s vision, brand, and goals and nothing else. They live and breathe the company’s identity, which helps to streamline efforts to build the brand.
Agency Marketing requires hiring an outside company to develop and manage your marketing efforts. These companies have the experience, knowledge, and expertise to plan and promote a business through an effective marketing strategy. Marketing agencies are designed to have the talent and resources to provide valuable services to their clients.
So, which is better for your business? Let’s break down what you gain and lose from each. Before we dive in, we do want to point out that some factors like your budget, resources and specific goals play a role in which method is best for you, short-term and in the long-term.
PROS OF IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM
In-house employees are paid to have a deep understanding of your business, your customers, and your products or services. They are relied on to be personally invested in your brand and how to best promote your company’s message, products, and services. The marketing team is focused exclusively on your company vs managing multiple projects.
An in-house team is exactly that. They are all centralized in one location at your fingertips. Communication is streamlined because the team is constantly working together, which makes for faster decision-making and more transparency. They can create their own timelines, tackle urgent matters or new projects, and change directions quickly.
An in-house team has the flexibility to rearrange tasks and priorities on their own terms. They also have more creative control over the design, timelines, and projects they put together. The team can expand or scale down projects based on the company’s needs and financial situation, without the pressure of contractual terms to an agency.
CONS OF AN IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM
To run an effective in-house marketing team, you will need to find the right people, which can be a tedious process. It’s rare to find an in-house marketer who is well-versed in all aspects of digital marketing, not to mention can handle the workload. Many businesses don’t understand how much goes into digital marketing and all the various pieces to it. A full marketing team requires all-hands-on-deck. You may have a graphic designer on your team, but they may lack writing and content creating skills. Website design, SEO, social media, content creation, paid media advertising, branding, and so on is a shortlist of digital marketing services. And they all require a certain skill level in order to be effective. Acquiring a successful marketing team requires recruiting, training, and most importantly, time.
The overall cost of an in-house team will depend on the company’s budget and individual needs. That being said, you’ll more than likely need a dedicated position for each variable to your marketing strategy. To attract and retain top marketing talent, you’ll need to pay a salary that’s on par with the level of quality you’re expecting. It can become quite costly to hire, train, and retain a full team of experts on a permanent basis. You’ll also need to factor in the costs to maintain the latest software tools and technologies to stay up to date on the current trends.
Digital Marketing is constantly evolving. Staying current with new technology, trends, and updates is a must. An in-house team may be at a disadvantage in their ability to maintain up-date technology and software systems if there isn’t the budget or resources to do so. You’ll also need to stay current on consumer habits, algorithms, and other insights to minimize any roadblocks in your marketing process.
PROS OF HIRING AN AGENCY
Because marketing agencies work with a wide variety of clients on an ongoing basis, they have more skilled experts on hand. With a versatile list of clients, agencies can better help newcomers experience more creative aspects that would be limited with an in-house team. Their staff is pre-packed with high-trained employees who have the right combination of creativity, resources, and knowledge. So, it’s your one-stop-shop of brainpower. They also stay on top of the latest technologies and best practices, which will keep you ahead of the competition.
Price and ROI
Although the cost will depend on your company’s needs, hiring an agency can be a much more affordable option. Most agencies have pre-set prices and often a flat monthly cost based on the services you need. They also have their own software, tools, tech support, eliminating those costs on your end. Oftentimes their monthly services cost considerably less compared to the ongoing salaries of an in-house team. When you hire an agency, you can guarantee you’ll save on employee hiring and training costs, annual salaries, software expenses, and benefit costs. Finally, agencies are results-driven. For the sake of the partnership and their reputation, it’s in their best interest that they keep you happy and save you money.
Tools and Technology
In-house marketing teams might often struggle to implement new software or stay up to date on SEO, social media, and other digital marketing trends. To stay competitive, a marketing agency must stay up to date on the latest marketing research and trends. They are always testing new marketing strategies, implementing new ideas, and keeping their practices fresh. They also have more exposure to new technologies and tactics, which enables them to develop more innovative content.
CONS OF A MARKETING AGENCY
Marketing agencies manage multiple clients, which means they aren’t living and breathing your brand only. Naturally, a full-time internal employee is much more closely aligned with the company’s inner workings, so it might take more time for an agency to build that relationship and understand your brand. Because they aren’t a part of the company day to day, there might be a learning curve in understanding the company culture and that could be perceived easier when you are in the office setting.
Companies that like full control of their marketing campaign might find it difficult working with a marketing agency. Agencies have their own process, so you’ll have less input on the timeline and deadlines of your marketing. While you do have a say-so in the direction of your marketing, you are trusting them with the creative control and strategy of your project. This means giving them the freedom to make strategic choices on your marketing and trusting the process
One of Many
Agencies handle multiple clients, which means you may feel like you have to wait your turn. Communication may be less than what you’re used to since you’ll most likely have to schedule a call or meeting each time you want to discuss your marketing project. However, a reputable, professional, and client-focused agency shouldn’t make you feel neglected.
Hire an agency vs. having an in-house marketing team; how will you decide what’s best for your company? It’s important to first look at your specific marketing needs, available resources, and skillsets of your existing team. If you decide to go with a marketing agency, look for one with a good reputation, an established client base, and the ability to demonstrate an ROI for your business.