Choosing between In-House and Agency Marketing

When looking into business expansion, there is one question most CEOs and business owners face: Hire a marketing agency or rely on your in-house team?

No right or wrong answer here. To factor in different business variables and future goals to find out which fits the bill. 

First, let us define the terms thoroughly.

What is In-House Marketing?

In-house marketing pertains to the group of people your company employs to boost your business. The team comprises the following vital roles — Advertising Manager, Social Media Supervisor, Paid Ads experts, Copywriter, SEO and Analytics Expert, Website Programmer, and a CRO-focused developer. Now, other teams have more people, but hiring individuals to fill in these primary roles hits the ground running. Companies rely on this core group to devote their time and expertise in creating sophisticated and effective marketing strategies. Unfortunately, putting these experts on a retainer is expensive.

What is an Agency?

An agency consists of different experts that you hire for a specific project. There are one-size-fits-all agencies that offer various services. In contrast, others cater to a particular field, such as Public Relations, content marketing, design management, digital marketing, and so on. The advantage is you have all these professionals at your disposal whenever necessary.

A collaboration between agencies and in-house teams is a regular occurrence. But if you are looking into comparing both resources to figure out with whom you can benefit the most, we will delve into details about how these two compare:

SkillSet 

This refers to the different capabilities of an individual or an institution to carry out a task successfully. 

In-House

This team reports solely to the company, meaning they are your employees, and their bread and butter is your brand. Your In-House team knows the brand inside out. Therefore, you not only get dedication from them, but they are also expected to put your brand message at the forefront in everything they do for the company.

Additionally, you get to determine which skill sets your company will benefit from. And if your HR department is good at their job, your chosen In-House team members should fulfill each of these skills effectively.

To be honest, it is difficult to find a single marketing professional that can tick all the boxes on your list. And if you do, the workload is much too heavy for one person to carry. For this reason, your In-House marketing team should consist of selected professionals that embody the deftness your business requires.

Agency

Agency will need some time to absorb your brand or organizational values and message. Unless, of course, you have had the opportunity to work with them in the past. This fact applies to all agencies, even ones that are big in the industry.

Researching and listening to pitches intently are necessary to bag the right agency that can execute the marketing plan well without deviating from the expected timeline. And since it is hard to find a marketing agency that deals with everything you might need in your project, you might have to look for various boutique companies to address your needs. It’s the same as the hiring process for your company. It will take time to find the right fit. Unfortunately, you don’t get to keep the people you hire. They are only with you for the duration of a project.

What’s interesting is that you have access to a wide variety of people that have advanced skills. The individuals and their talents tend to be more diverse.

Which is more ideal?

Take a look at your company standing. Can your company afford to employ different people with various skills? If so, no doubt, then an in-house advertising and marketing group will be most advantageous for your business. If you don’t really need a team to take under your wing (for instance, you only need one part of your marketing taken care of), you could hire a sole individual that can handle this particular element that needs work. Most companies, however, need a complete advertising strategy. Of course, not everyone has the capacity to support an entire team, which is why advertising and marketing agencies exist in the first place.

Creativity

This pertains to the ability to show inventiveness and create something new.

In-House

Marketers are creative and they love variety. However, the downside of inventive minds are they are easily susceptible to boredom. An in-house team that only works for you might get stuck in a rut from time to time. The upside is that they know how to find a workaround in handling certain situations involving your competitors.

Agency

An agency has different personnel that can bring fresh ideas to the table day in, day out. This speaks to their experience of handling different projects and catering to different industries. In fact, they know how to tickle different target markets’ fancy. Some of them are guilty of recycling ideas and just updating and tweaking them according to the client’s needs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, if the modifications are good enough to render the strategy unique. 

Unfortunately, if they also work for the competitors, it negates this advantage and creates a conflict of interest.

Which is more ideal?

To be candid, it depends on the situation and your needs. When your in-house advertising marketing team is in a slump or need something original that none of your team members can provide, consulting with an agency will be a big help.

Adaptability

This alludes to the quality of being able to cope with changes efficiently.

In-House

To make a business successful, you need to keep up with the never-ending changes in your industry. Relating updates is more direct and straightforward when working with an internal team. Quick exchanges can be done in a snap of the fingers. The best part is that your team will attend to your concerns at the drop of a hat. It is also a lot easier to track down progress,  even when pressed for time. Your marketers and advertisers will easily adjust their schedule to fit yours.

Agency

An agency is notorious for slow response time. After all, you are not their only client. You have to wait your turn, especially if your concern is not that urgent. Your company also needs to connect with a person from the agency, who won’t always be able to respond right away.

Which is more ideal?

Internal groups win this one if your project requires persistent interaction or is fast-paced. For such a quick service, you need a team that is available at your beck and call.

Expense

This determines the amount of money you need to shell out in order to avail service or claim a product.

In-House

Your internal marketing and advertising team can set your business back a sum. However, it is totally worth it, especially when they deliver. To give you an idea of how much expense you are looking at, a marketing manager has an annual income of $62,560 on average. You should put this into consideration when thinking about employing a manager or a couple of marketing specialists. 

Each campaign also comes at a price, depending on your marketing requirements. This is on top of your marketing team’s salaries. Aside from their monthly wages, your company also shoulders the office equipment and necessary programs, workspace rent, and benefits. 

Additionally, hiring different team members can take some time. Along with it, you also need to provide training for each one. However, having a single member can just be as costly. The hiring process tends to be longer to ensure that the individual can carry out what is expected.

Agency

Agencies offer various fixed rates available for each service. The company is also in charge of apps, technology, equipment, and of course, training. It is no surprise that theirs are far superior than what your company can shell out.

Which is more ideal?

Again, this will be contingent on your business. An agency seems like a huge expense on the onset, but it is actually a cheaper alternative to having an internal team. Factor in your company’s goals to determine which set of skills you can bank on before choosing which to go for.

To Sum Up

Try to answer this question — would you rather buy a new home or rent a house? Be realistic and don’t just go for preferences. It is a loaded question that forces you to think about your goals, your resources, and how it will affect your life now. Follow the same line of thought when deciding which one is better for your business — an in-house team or an agency.

As you can see, there is no single answer because it varies from business to business. However, do not forget that the combination of both might just be what the doctor ordered.

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