Hiring a Marketing Agency Vs. In House Marketing Team
Many business owners have a dilemma.
They need to do some marketing to grow their reach and attract new customers, but they are not sure of the best approach.
Does it make more sense to hire a marketing manager on your team to handle all the marketing? Or is it smarter to hire a marketing agency who can help you?
Both are excellent choices, but there are consequences attached to either decision.
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency vs. hiring an in-house marketing person.
Three Ways to Grow Your Business
When you want to grow your business, there are a few time-tested methods you can use to attract new customers:
- Word of mouth and referrals
- Advertising and marketing (e.g., PPC, SEO, content creation, social media)
- Direct sales (e.g., cold calls, cold emails, doorknocking)
The ideal situation for most businesses is that they get so many new customer referrals that they don’t need to spend money on advertising, marketing, or direct sales.
But when you are first starting in business, referrals can be hard to depend on.
That’s why most companies will look at hiring a marketing person in-house or outsourcing their marketing to an agency.
Let’s look at both options.
Why Hire A Digital Marketing Agency?
Hiring a digital marketing agency can feel like a big step. Often there is an initial meeting, a contract of some length, many discussions about the scope of work, and dealing with different people on the team. It’s a big decision and can take a lot of work to find the right agency.
And then there’s the cost. Working with an agency is typically more expensive than DIY marketing or hiring a single in-house person because the marketing agency is more experienced. But a digital agency will offer you a more comprehensive range of services and also turn out high-quality work. Here are the pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency:
You are getting access to a team of specialists. Marketing takes a multidisciplinary approach. You must use content marketing, inbound marketing, and shape your digital marketing strategy to your target audience. Working with an agency partner, you can tap into the knowledge and experience of PPC experts, SEO specialists, dedicated designers, content creators, and project managers to help keep you on track.
A New Perspective
Working with an agency team will give you a new view of your own business. Each small business owner knows their customers, but they are typically not a marketing expert. The experience of working with many different companies means that an agency can give you a different perspective. Each agency is structured differently, so those that focus on PPC, for example, will have a better view of how you can improve your paid advertisements.
Speed of Work
When it comes to successful marketing, time is of the essence. If you hire a digital agency, they have many hands to get through your projects. For example, if you are doing a website relaunch, then you might be able to turn it around in less than a month working with a dedicated team. Doing it all by yourself can take much longer. You would have to hire a graphic designer, a content writer, a web developer, and an SEO specialist individually.
Marketing agencies work to a high standard and will help your business to be consistent in your branding. It’s easy for a company to get lazy about what and when they send out new marketing collateral. Very often, taking care of customers is the bigger focus, and marketing takes a back seat. A marketing agency is focused solely on making sure your content, your ad campaigns, and your social media marketing are all sent out looking great, and on time.
Higher Costs (over the short term)
It might seem like you are spending a lot more per hour working with an agency. Depending on how much work you hand over to an agency, you can end up spending a bigger budget initially than you would with an in-house marketing professional. However, keep in mind you are hiring a whole team in the marketing agency. You are also laying the foundations of a long-term marketing strategy that will slowly reduce costs and also increase profitability.
Meetings & Questions
When working with a marketing agency, you will find that there are a lot of initial meetings and discussions. Everything needs your agreement and approval early on, and you can’t leave the big decisions to the agency. It might feel tedious at some times having to review a new web design, or content for the website, or approving ad campaigns, yet it’s an essential part of the process.
On the other side of the coin, working with an agency means that you won’t have daily in-house access to the team. Most agencies are dealing with multiple clients, so having immediate access may not always be possible.
Why Hire an In-House Marketing Team?
Depending on your business needs, it might seem more logical to hire a dedicate marketing person (or small team) in-house. You are adding more salary expenses to the business, but you are also completely in charge of how they run the marketing plan in your company.
If you find a knowledgable, experienced marketer, they can manage everything you need to grow lead generation and to attract new customers at a slower pace. Here are the pros and cons of hiring an in-house marketing department:
The person who works for your business has a much better understanding of your clients’ or customers’ needs. They are more familiar with your products and services and how you can promote them to the market. If you are a B2B company, this factor may be more important, as you have a specialized market that an outside agency may not have experience with.
Focused Only on Your Brand
Unlike an agency which deals with multiple companies, your in-house marketing person is only focused on you. Each marketing effort is custom to your needs. A dedicated marketing department spends all their time looking at what is working for you and making tweaks to the marketing goal and marketing process. Because of this single focus, your in-house marketing person is likely to come up with more ideas that are unique to your business. It’s like having a marketing consultant who only focuses on your marketing program.
Available 40 Hours a Week
Your dedicated in-house marketing team is available for your needs all week. There are no scheduled times, so you can brainstorm or revise plans any time you need to.
Access to the Entire Team for Content
When a person works in-house on your marketing, they can draw on the knowledge and ideas from your entire team. It’s incredible how much industry knowledge is stored in the heads of your team members. Your team can be a great source of content ideas, and maybe even new marketing initiatives to try out. An in-house marketing coordinator can use this knowledge and experience to your advantage.
Lack of Consistency
One of the challenges of having a single person working on your in-house marketing is that often it is a part-time role. They might already have another job to do, and handling the marketing needs is bundled into their job description. When this happens, consistency slips very quickly. It’s easy to miss a few weeks of posting new content, and not checking on ad campaign statistics. Without a committed team, a marketing campaign often becomes inconsistent in most businesses.
No Training Time
Most marketing agencies spend time updating their knowledge and skills often. This training can include attending marketing conferences, sharing new articles and resources online, and brainstorming among departments. When working in-house, a marketing person typically has less time to focus on improving their knowledge and skills. They also don’t have the advantage of learning from different marketing departments.
Lack of New Ideas
When an in-house marketing person is working solo to manage all marketing efforts, it can cause them to become stagnant. It’s hard to keep coming up with new and innovative ways to promote products and share content when you have nobody to brainstorm with. While the rest of the company can help, an in-house marketing person will have less new ideas than a creative marketing team in an agency will.
Full-time Salary Costs
Although, in the short term, it can feel like you are getting a better deal with a single in-house marketing employee, over the long run, it can become more expensive.
In the early days, you are paying a marketing company more money to get you set up, however, that will reduce to a maintenance amount over time. With an in-house marketing team, you continue to pay them a yearly salary, as well as benefits. And that amount will only increase over time.
What is Your Long Term Marketing Strategy?
Both hiring a marketing agency and hiring an in-house marketing team have benefits and drawbacks.
Neither is ‘right,’ and neither is ‘wrong’ for any business. The decision comes down to which marketing service you need, and what your marketing budget is.
What is most wise is to look at your long-term growth strategy and decide if you need a marketing firm that can partner with you for higher volume growth, or you are okay steadily growing with an in-house team.
Either can work, but what is most important is that you have a plan in place before you make your choice.