When rating the briefs in-house agency heads get from their marketing teams, over half say they’re about as inspiring as a decaf espresso — with 54% giving them a meagre four out of 10 or less in terms of quality. It’s like expecting a barista to create a masterpiece from mouldy beans; never going to happen! When brewing your brand’s success, choosing between in-house marketing vs agency can feel like deciding between a home coffee machine and a local coffee shop. On one side, you have the allure of crafting your own cuppa tailored to your taste. On the other, the convenience and expertise of a barista who knows just how to extract that perfect shot.
This dilemma is no small beans. It’s about finding the right blend of expertise, management, and cost — a concoction that can make or break your business’s growth. Let’s grind through the details and pour over the facts to help you decide how to best get that robust marketing brew your brand deserves.
In-House Marketing vs Agency
When faced with choosing between in-house marketing vs agency, several key factors come into play. It’s just about the dollar cost; there’s far more to it. Expanding on each of these points can provide a clearer understanding of which option might be best suited for your business:
Cost-Effectiveness: Agencies often offer a more economical solution, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. You avoid the fixed costs of salaries, benefits, and training associated with full-time employees, paying instead for specific services as needed.
Diverse Expertise: Agencies bring a collective pool of experience and specialised skills from working with various clients and industries. This diversity fosters creative and innovative solutions that might be beyond the scope of an in-house team.
Scalability: Depending on your marketing needs, an agency can easily scale its services up or down. This flexibility is ideal for businesses that experience seasonal fluctuations or are in a growth phase.
Innovation: Exposure to different markets and challenges allows agencies to stay at the forefront of marketing trends and technologies, which they can apply to your strategies.
Less Management Overhead: Working with an agency reduces the managerial burden on your team. Agencies manage their own staff, freeing you to focus on core business operations.
Technology Access: A good marketing agency will have access to advanced tools and technologies, providing you with state-of-the-art resources without the full investment costs. (Which can add up quickly!)
Focus on Core Business: Outsourcing marketing frees up your internal resources, allowing you to concentrate on what your business does best without the distraction of managing a marketing team.
In-House Marketing Team
Brand Familiarity: An in-house team develops a deep understanding of your brand’s nuances, enabling them to create highly tailored marketing strategies that align closely with your company’s vision and culture.
Control: Having your marketing team on-site allows for greater oversight and immediate input on marketing initiatives. This control can be crucial for companies with highly specialised or niche markets.
Collaboration: Being part of the same organisation, in-house teams can collaborate more closely with other departments, fostering a more integrated approach to marketing strategies.
Dedicated Attention: An in-house team is wholly focused on your brand, potentially leading to a more consistent and sustained marketing effort.
Cultural Fit: Employees who share your company’s values and culture can create marketing campaigns that are more authentic and resonate with your brand ethos.
Speed: In-house teams can respond quickly to immediate marketing needs or changes in strategy, providing agility in fast-paced market environments.
Internal Advocacy: Team members who are fully immersed in your company can more effectively champion your brand internally and align marketing efforts with overall business objectives.
The decision between an in-house team and an agency should be guided by your specific business needs, goals, and resources. Each option has unique strengths and limitations. The right choice will depend on your company’s particular circumstances and what you hope to achieve with your marketing efforts.
What Do the Numbers Say?
All we’ve done up until now is try to answer the question, “How long is a piece of string?” For the definitive answer to this question of in-house marketing vs agency, you need to do your own sums.
Let’s assume for a minute that you are creating a bare-bones marketing team. This consists of an SEO specialist, a PPC specialist, a content writer, and a Marketing Manager. (Social media and analytics would be great if you can afford them.) In your particular business, what will it cost each month for this team?
- Salaries, holidays and sick leave
- Benefits, lunches, and team events
- Office space
- Recruitment costs (factoring in employee turnover)
Staff aside, let’s talk about software. In order to stay on top of your marketing efforts and track them accurately, you’ll need to get involved with the right software.
- Ahrefs is a great tool with some incredibly useful capabilities. The Lite package starts at $99 per month.
- SEMrush is another excellent package which starts at $129.95 per month.
Do you have those figures? Great!
If you’re only considering the financial benefits of each option, then this is a great place to start.
The rest of the equation will involve answering some soul-searching questions such as:
- What happens when a key staff member leaves?
- Does my team have the time and resources to upskill themselves continually?
- How quickly can they pivot and learn new strategies as they become available?
- Does my team cover all the necessary marketing areas that matter to the business?
- Do they have the knowledge to offer a viable ROI?
- Are they able to accurately track and measure the performance of your campaigns?
Do you have a solid and dedicated team and the budget to offer continuous training? Then you’re off to a great start.
Leveraging Agency Expertise and Industry Knowledge
Many organisations are drawn to the relative simplicity of using an agency. Just as you’d hire professionals to do your books, paint your offices, or recruit new staff, the right marketing agency takes the weight off your shoulders.
Your costs are set with no unpleasant surprises at the end of the month. Seasoned professionals set up your campaigns; they start and stop when they’re supposed to. Your content is engaging, written according to best SEO practices and loaded timeously. And, of course, everything is carefully tracked and measured.
Agencies typically house a melting pot of talent with specialists in SEO, content writing, PPC, analytics and more. These people have honed their skills over time across various industries. This diversity in experience can be a game-changer for your marketing strategy as the team collaborates and feeds off each other.
Finding Your Marketing Soulmate
When you’re in a relationship with a marketing agency, it’s not just about skill sets and deliverables. Rather, it’s about finding a partner that gets you. This agency will become an extension of your brand, morphing into whatever shape you need. They will be fully invested in the future of your business. It’s not a fling; it’s a commitment to mutual growth and understanding.
How to Tell if an Agency is “The One”
So, how do you swipe right on the perfect agency? Look for these signs:
- They listen more than they talk, understanding your business inside out.
- Their portfolio is love at first sight, resonating with what you envision for your brand.
- Transparency is their middle name; they’re clear about costs, processes, and expectations.
- They have a track record of long-term relationships, not just quick flings.
When you find an agency that ticks all these boxes, hold onto them like they’re the last slice of pizza.
Brewing Brand Success
As you stand at the crossroads of in-house marketing and hiring an agency, consider the cost implications. Think about management demands and the depth of marketing knowledge each path offers. Remember, choosing an agency is like choosing a business partner — compatibility, trust, and shared visions are crucial.
If you’re still on the fence, take some time to digest the wealth of information provided by WebFX on this topic.
In the end, whether you brew your own coffee or let the barista work their magic, the goal is the same: to savour the success that a well-crafted marketing strategy brings. We invite you to chat with our team for more information, and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.