Should You Hire An In-House Marketing Team or A Marketing Agency?

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In this article, we’ll talk about if you should hire an in-house marketing team or a marketing agency. Having a marketing team on board is an integral part of your business strategy. But a question most have difficulty with is whether to hire an in-house marketing team or partner with a marketing agency. You’ll find tons of material online on in-house vs agency marketing. Making a decision, however, isn’t as daunting as it looks. Two factors you can consider as you make a decision are your business goals and how you see your business growing with its people in the years ahead.

In-house marketing is a team of skilled people who will become your employees. They can grow with your company through the years and their focus will be on helping your business grow. An in-house company doesn’t take on any other digital marketing job except yours. However, they have to be on your payroll.

A digital marketing agency, on the other hand, is an external team of professionals who serve your company the same way an in-house team would. The main differences are in their depth of expertise, level of skills, breadth of experience, and cost-effectiveness. Agencies, on the other hand, are not on your payroll. They’re separate companies with teams of creative marketing experts.

In-house marketing vs. agency marketing: Differences

Agency vs. in-house team

There is one very telling difference between agency marketing (external marketing) and in-house marketing (internal marketing). Whichever one you hire should depend on your needs. The difference between them is simple. One works full time, the other one works when you need their services. Now, they both may have the skill sets and marketing strategies to deliver a great result, but the convenience and control would be different.

With an internal marketing (in-house) team, you have total control over the activities of your staff. They work full time, which means that you can monitor their commitment work, strategies, and implementation. When you hire an agency, you don’t see what they do or how they work. They’re not your employees, they’re a separate brand, which means that you can’t get that employer-employee control over them. However, that doesn’t limit the quality of their work.

Another thing to note is that agencies often have an internal control system. You can see them as your employees that work in an external office. And just like any employee, you have every right to request results. They need to offer what they promised.

Benefits and drawbacks of hiring an agency vs. in-house marketing team

The in-house marketing vs agency debate has lingered for too long, and rightfully so, but the first step may not be counting the blessings of working with a digital marketing team. Let’s see the drawbacks and benefits associated with both methods.

Cost-effectiveness

In-house marketing: you will pay your in-house marketing team whether they’re currently working on a project or not. Another thing to consider is that building an in-house digital marketing team with experts as team members will generally be more expensive.

Digital marketing agency: digital marketing agencies are made up of experts in the different fields of online marketing, putting their heads together to help businesses grow. However, unlike the in-house marketing team, each expert is not directly on your payroll. You pay the agency a fair amount to work for you for a given time.

Finding talent

In-house marketing: every company is out, looking for the best, just as you are. To save you the cost of hiring experts, you can build an in-house marketing team of young marketers and help them grow to experts but the time it will take to do that should be considered.

Digital marketing agency: the good thing about digital marketing agencies is that the teams may work for two or three companies all year long. This means that the same team of experts can work for your company and a few others.

Marketing strategy

In-house marketing: the strategy an in-house team uses is carefully trimmed and tailored to your marketing needs. They create a strategy that will only work for you.

Digital marketing agency: hiring an agency may be daunting sometimes. Digital marketing agencies usually fall into the temptation of using the “one-size-fits-all” approach which doesn’t work. Well, that depends on which agency you’re working with.

Employee remunerations

In-house marketing: as time goes on, in-house teams will have to be promoted, given incentives, taken on vacations, and granted leaves. These are part of HR responsibilities that you must consider. If you’re going with this option, you also have to consider hiring a marketing manager.

Digital marketing agency: you pay for the service and that’s it. Once payment is made, you’re entitled to everything, including requesting specific data. You don’t have to deal with all the HR problems.

Vetting

In-house marketing: digital marketing services are too broad for one person to handle and that’s why building a team is important. However, knowing if that in-house team can do exactly what the resumé says is a challenge you have to face.

Digital marketing agency: with an agency, results are everywhere. Unlike an in-house team where you are limited to what the resumé says, you can search the internet for reviews about an agency’s work. The agency is a brand and like any other brand, they have people talking about them online, on social media, or their website. They have worked with several clients, who drop comments about their work.

Expertise

Whether you’re working with an in-house team or a marketing agency, there are certain marketing activities you expect from your team, marketing goals you want to achieve, and skill sets you want to see. The digital marketing services your business needs may vary from what another company eyes. But whatever it is, below are some of the important services a digital marketing team should offer:

  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Social media marketing
  • SEM (search engine marketing)
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Copywriting
  • Digital Marketing graphic design and package design
  • And many more

Talking about expertise, see how we helped this non-profit making organization reach its goals by bringing it to the limelight and helping them get found.

Teamwork

In-house marketing: in-house marketing teams may have a harder time bonding and coming up with results. The beginning stages where team members have to understand one another while working together can be avoided with an agency.

Digital marketing agency: the agency already has an expert team that has worked together for years. They get on the job and produce results immediately.

Tools

This is one of the biggest advantages when talking about digital marketing agency vs. in-house marketing. Working with a digital marketing agency, you don’t have to pay for some of the tools and resources like the SEO keyword research tools, email marketing tools, and other amazing tools that help your marketing strategies. The agency has all the required tools and will put them to work for you.

Communication

An in-house marketing team may have this advantage over an agency. However, it still depends on the external marketing team you hire. Before hiring one, ensure to take note of their communication skill. Do they respond to emails promptly? Do they explain to you what you need to know? Do they carry you along? Do they fill you in on the marketing activities? If you consider all these before you hire an agency, communication will hardly be a problem.

Having considered the above, the debate of in-house vs. agency marketing can be solved depending on what stage your company is at the moment. If your company is

The pros & cons of hiring a digital marketing agency

We’ll be talking about the marketing agency’s pros and cons in light of expertise, skills, and cost-effectiveness so the comparison will be on equal ground.

  • Expertise – a marketing agency’s expertise goes deep as it comes from the experience of working with various clients across industries. This gives them an edge as experience and insight aren’t something you can get from training or certifications. A disadvantage this implies is that they work with a range of clients as well, the time allocated to you may be limited and accessibility won’t be as quick as working with an internal team.
  • Skills – when it comes to skill sets, agencies and in-house teams have many things alike. Both of them can have broad industry experience and knowledge. For example, if what’s essential for the moment is a website design and if later on, you want to dive into eCommerce, the marketing agency may already have both skills. The challenge here is in choosing the agency with the skills your business needs so you don’t jump from one to another.
  • Cost-effectiveness – you only pay for what you need. If what your business needs are SEO and social media marketing, that’s what you pay for. You have no business with the other services they offer. In-house teams don’t work like that. You have to go through the rigors. Hire an SEO expert, hire a website developer, hire a social media manager and you have to pay all of them individually.

The Role Of Marketing Agencies In The Success Of Your Business

Marketing agencies are your dedicated partners whose main goal is to help you achieve marketing success. Additionally, a business growth consultant can be a great extension to your team to provide checks and balances. The role they play as dedicated partners will be shown through their leadership, innovation, and quality of service through each marketing campaign. It’s also a role supported by quality relationships and quality solutions. Below are some of the roles a marketing agency will play in the success of your business.

1. Data analysis

Everything in the online world currently is analyzed. What are your clients and potential clients doing right now? How are they responding you your advertising campaign? Is your advertising campaign worth the cost or do you need to change your strategy? What is the chance that in the next few months, your business will make more sales? These are questions that data analysis seeks to answer and, as mentioned earlier, the agency has the resources to provide you with these.

2. Creative marketing strategy

Anyone can come up with a business strategy but to come with one that is creative enough to carry all your customers along requires experience and high-level techniques. For example, a creative marketing strategy might be helping older adults navigate your website with ease. This may not look like such a big deal but it helps you maintain the older audience. See how our video production strategy increased this website’s visitors by 145% and still counting.

3. Digital optimization

Realizing that advertising to seniors and advertising to teenagers will need different strategies. Companies usually make the mistake of copying and pasting the same ads everywhere and for everyone. Advertising on social media will look different from doing it with a billboard on the highway or your website. Agencies have to decide which advertising tactic is best for your campaign.

Aside from that, SEO is another aspect of digital optimization. Your content and website need to be discovered. SEO helps to position you just where your potential clients can find you.

4. Complement internal resources

Looking past the pros and cons of having marketing or in-house agencies, you will find that workflow and results can improve greatly when you have an agency complement the resources of your internal team. Agencies are mostly filled with industry experts who can guide your internal team in the right direction.

5. Content repositioning

As a business or brand, you should know by now that advertising has gone beyond assuming what your customers want to see. Your sales copy can be sweet to read but not really hit the consumer’s pain point. Advertising to newly married couples should definitely sound different from advertising to retired couples. Repositioning your content to fit the desires of the readers will greatly improve your sales.

Things to keep in mind before hiring a marketing agency

The important things to keep in mind as you make an informed decision are your business goals, business needs, and your financial capability to outsource marketing. Aside from these, you should also consider what phase your brand currently is at. Are you still in the brand awareness stage? Is the agency offering to help with that? Who are the leading competitors in your industry? Which companies do you think you can outdo?

You should also consider the cost of hiring agencies and try to measure that up with the current position of your brand. Is the agency currently working with too many companies? Do they communicate easily with you? Do they have positive reviews about them online? Are they a known brand? What does their portfolio show about them? Which companies have they worked with and what results did they create?

Ignoring all these questions can cost you so much in the long run. You don’t want to hire an agency that only focuses on SEO when you know that social media marketing is the ideal step to take.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that we have answered. You might just have your doubts cleared by simply reading through.

1. Are marketing agencies worth it?

When you consider the low cost of hiring a marketing agency versus working with an in-house team, you will realize how worth it it is. Looking past the relatively low cost of working with agencies, an agency is worth every penny because they’re more dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. They need you to drop good reviews about them and so have to do everything in their power.

2. What are the three types of agencies

The three types of agencies you will need for your company are PR, creative, and digital marketing agencies.

3. What services does a marketing agency provide?

  • Media Planning.
  • Product Packaging.
  • Search Marketing.
  • Branding and Design.
  • Web Development.
  • Event Marketing.
  • Social Media.
  • Influencer Marketing.

Note that not all these services may be needed for your business’s success. The agency will determine what stage your business is currently in and the best service and strategy to take you to where you want to be.

4. Should I hire a marketing agency?

Again, it depends on what you want to achieve and what you think your business needs right now. However, no matter what your reason for looking for a marketing team is, an agency will fulfill it without needing to even meet you in person.

5. How much will it cost to hire a marketing agency?

Agencies are competing for clients in the industry, making prices competitive. The prices will vary but you can expect them to be reasonable. An online marketing agency will often charge you based on the services you need and the size of your business. Below is a breakdown of the prices by service:

SEO: $500 to $20,000 per month

Email marketing: $500 to $10,000 per month

Social media marketing: $250 to $10,000 monthly

Web design and development: $2,500 to $100,000 per site.

Conclusion

Agency vs. in-house marketing

At the end of the day, we believe it’s all about what’s essential to you. Which route will help you achieve your goals most effectively? Which one is most aligned with your vision for your business?

After all, both have their advantages whose benefits you’ll enjoy as you work along with them. We hope this article sheds a little light on hiring an in-house marketing team or a marketing agency so you can make the best choice for your business. We’re just a call away.

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Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia is the owner of Milia Marketing, an award winning Digital Marketing solutions firm located in Cleveland, OH. Milia Marketing sheds light on sales and marketing challenges by creating solutions that drive qualified traffic and leads to clients’ businesses using data-driven marketing strategies.

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