As a business owner, you may have, at some point, weighed the pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency, either to augment your in-house team or as an alternative to in-house hiring. Since there are lots of arguments for and against on either side, we’ve put them all together for you in a single post so you can decide for yourself.
Agency vs. In-House Marketing Team: The Eternal Debate
No matter how big or how small your company is, marketing is essential. For most organizations, it makes sense to have someone on staff who has a good command of your branding and what the next few months are going to look like in terms of campaigns, content creation, and campaign deployment.
The problem is, your ability to self-manage your marketing is limited to the talent you have at your disposal. Even if your in-house team is adequate for most of what you need, there will be times when you’ll need to reach beyond what they can offer to realize your goals.
Assessing Your Internal Marketing Team
To get the best value out of your internal marketing team, you need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. That way, you won’t be handing them projects beyond their capabilities and wasting time and effort in the process.
Truthfully, internal marketing teams can be highly effective and advantageous from many standpoints. But if your company is in a growth phase, you might need more specialized skills to help you scale up. When you have this kind of opportunity, it doesn’t make sense to limit your potential. This is where an agency can help, as you’ll have access to a broad range of skill sets and experience to augment the good work you’re already doing in-house.
The Case For Internal Marketing Teams
Having an in-house marketing team (or person, as the case may be) has many advantages. First and foremost, since they’re employees, they have an in-depth understanding of your brand, your mission, vision, and the general trajectory of your immediate and long-term goals.
They are also in your office. If you need to check in on a project, view their work, monitor progress, or answer questions, they’re right there. They’re not juggling other clients. They are aligned and integrated with your culture, and they’re fully invested in the company’s success.
For day-to-day marketing tasks, like managing your social channels, posting blogs, and keeping your website updated, your internal team is likely the best choice. Since they’re in-house, brainstorming ideas and getting content approval is accelerated, so it’s easy to maintain a consistent flow.
The Case for Hiring an Outside Marketing Agency
Even if your internal marketing team is doing a pretty good job of maintaining the status quo, there are always a few caveats.
Even if you have a good internal team, you might need to hire an outside agency if the services you require fall short of in-house capabilities. If you assign work to your internal team that is beyond their abilities, it will take you longer to achieve results. You might have to settle for an end product that isn’t all it could be.
Agencies, on the other hand, offer a broad range of capabilities that align with industry best practices, so you are assured of access to the latest skills, techniques, and philosophies.
Newer, bigger, or more critical projects take away from daily marketing functions. This means that other projects might have to be put on hold until the more immediate task is done and deployed.
Hiring an outside agency to handle more complex and immediate tasks means that your internal team can carry on with their daily work. Your critical projects are managed by marketing professionals who can work under pressure, will meet your deadlines, and not get sidetracked by day-to-day operations.
Not everybody in the office is going to get along. If there is cultural upheaval between your sales and marketing teams, for example, you won’t ever see the best results from either.
When you work with an agency, the focus is on the task at hand, and there is no need to manage personalities. You always have a single point of contact, minimizing conflict and ensuring that your communication and instructions are understood.
Expenses: In-House vs. Agency
Your in-house marketing team are your employees, so it represents a payroll expense.
Regardless of their skill level, graphic artists and marketing professionals do not come cheap. If you hire a seasoned marketing and design professional (or two), you’ll pay top dollar. Hire someone just out of school, you’ll pay less, but you won’t have access to top-level skills and experience.
Ultimately, you will need to weigh this expense against your needs. Ask yourself whether you have enough work to keep this person (or people) busy and whether the ROI is cost-effective.
Software and Tools
Marketing software and platforms are also not free or inexpensive. You will need to purchase and maintain licenses for an Adobe Creative Cloud account, HubSpot, or whatever platform you choose. You’ll need to ensure they’re always up-to-date and up to industry standards. Maintaining adequate server storage, security, and keeping apps updated often requires oversight from IT, which is another consideration.
While agencies are not cheap by any stretch, they eliminate most of these issues, which could end up saving you a lot of time and money in the long run. Plus, if your needs are occasional, you can hire an agency on a project-by-project basis, which makes it easier to budget for. The result is guaranteed. You’ll never have to settle for a sub-standard result, and you can get on with what you do best without worrying about losing productivity.
More Value-Added Arguments for the Agency
In the end, your decision to hire an agency or stick with your in-house team is an individual one. It would be irresponsible to make blanket statements about what companies need to do because every organization is different.
However, there are a couple more things to consider that you might not have thought about. For example, your internal team takes vacations, has sick days, parental leave, and gets holiday pay. There are also benefits to consider, bonuses, and the occasional bump in salary. Agencies aren’t subject to these complications, as projects are taken on with set deadlines and milestones, and will be delivered as expected. No surprises, no holiday pay, no waiting for people to get better.
And finally, in the “last but not least” category, you won’t have to allocate real estate in your office to accommodate an agency. If you are a small company with a lot of remote staff, this is money in the bank. You won’t have to purchase workstations or devices, equipment, specialized software, maintain extra office space, or assign parking. It’s fewer people to manage, and you’ll be able to realize the ultimate goal: a measurable return on your investment.
If you’re currently weighing the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency, we’d love to show you how we can help.
Reach out today, and let’s talk about how our team can boost your results and improve your marketing ROI.
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