To outsource, or not to outsource? That is the question. It’s a decision every growing business faces as it determines how to handle its marketing efforts. They’re two very different solutions, each with unique factors that could significantly impact your firm’s performance.
This article explores the differences between in-house marketing and agencies, advantages and disadvantages of each, and whether a combination of both could be the solution your business needs.
Importance of Marketing
First things first: marketing is the process of maintaining relationships with customers. Simply put, marketing is essential for company growth.
In fact, businesses that use marketing in conjunction with their sales teams see 36% higher rates of customer retention. A mix of digital, traditional, and PR marketing can build your brand, differentiate you from competitors and optimize your sales.
Digital marketing consists of various strategies that are conducted online. This includes SEO, PPC, email campaigns, social media, video advertisements, and content marketing.
Digital marketing makes it easier for companies to connect and interact with their customers, and to track campaign performance as well. With nearly half the world’s population online, it’s imperative that companies include digital marketing as a part of their strategy.
Traditional marketing is the oldest form and dates back to before the Internet existed. It is a very broad category, and includes print advertisements, billboards, television commercials, direct mail, and telemarketing.
Even with the rise of the digital age, traditional marketing is still an effective way to reach customers and shouldn’t be ignored.
Public relations, or PR, is the strategic practice of managing information that impacts your company or brand’s public image. This is achieved through a mix of digital and traditional marketing, press releases, news appearances, events, and more.
Since people are more likely to remain loyal to a brand they trust, maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is an absolute necessity.
An in-house model consists of a team that works within your own firm. Small businesses usually only hire a few marketing specialists, while a larger firm might employ an entire department.
In-house marketing is growing in popularity. 78% of the Association of National Advertisers’ members used an in-house model in 2018, compared to 42% in 2008.
An in-house marketing team can help you grow your business from the inside out. Check out the advantages of an in-house team, as well as some of the drawbacks:
1. Cost Efficiency
Outsourcing to a marketing agency can get costly if your business runs on a tight budget. If you’ve got access to the right manpower, in-house marketing can be the cheaper option. Plus, if your firm handles all marketing operations on its own, you’ll have more control over where every penny is being spent.
2. Ability to Act Faster
An in-house marketing team is ready for instant action at the drop of a hat. They’re at your disposal whenever you need an impromptu brainstorming session, meeting, or progress report.
3. Company Familiarity
Since they already work for you, an in-house marketing team is better acquainted with your firm’s vision and culture. They also won’t need any extra briefing on your industry, competitors, or company history.
1. Hidden Costs
Operating an in-house team is usually cheaper in the end. But, the cost of hiring full-time employees has hidden costs. These include salary, benefits, training, office space, and more. Subscriptions to the latest marketing tools and software will also cost you extra.
2. Time and Effort
Hiring the right people is a time-consuming process of reviewing resumes and interviewing. There are many specialists you’ll need to hire: copywriters, media buyers, analysts… the list goes on. Building a perfect team takes work if you want all your bases covered.
3. Creative Stagnation
In a non-changing environment, a small in-house team may be strapped for creative ideas. This can be a major speedbump, and leadership may look to outsourcing or hiring new talent as a solution.
A marketing agency is a third party organization that companies can pay to execute their marketing.
If they’re full-service, agencies hire professionals who specialize in every area of marketing so that they can accommodate any company’s needs. However, some agencies specialize in one vertical of marketing, such as digital, paid search, influencer marketing, etc.
Payment models for marketing services are determined by the agency, and multiple clients are usually taken on at once.
An agency partner can provide expertise in many different verticals of marketing. Check out the benefits of using a marketing agency and some of the potential disadvantages.
Don’t have the time or resources to construct your own team? No need to worry about that when you’re working with an agency. They provide an already established team that’ll cater to your company’s every need.
2. Better Resources
Agencies use top-notch tools and technology that’ll keep your business on the cutting edge. They also have access to a whole network of resources and industry insights that you don’t have. This is all reflected in the price.
3. Fresh Perspective
An agency might not be very familiar with your firm’s day-to-day culture. But, as an outsider they can point out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that you might not have considered.
Outsourcing to an agency can be costly. It all depends on the agency’s payment model and the goals you want your campaign to accomplish. Remember that this payment includes access to highly skilled specialists and expensive software.
2. Less Control
When you outsource to an agency, in some cases, you’re handing over control of your creative messaging. Depending on your agreement with the agency, you may have restricted rights to the content they produce.
3. Less Accessibility
You won’t be your agency’s only client; their time and energy is also spent on other businesses. So, they can’t always be at your beck and call the way an in-house team can be.
In-House & Agency Combo
Yes, your business can thrive using both an in-house team and agency partner. Here are the pros and cons of using both teams simultaneously:
1. Well-Balanced Approach
Using your own team as well as an agency allows you to reap the benefits of both. An in-house team can ensure your company voice is well-represented, while an agency provides fresh ideas and strategies.
2. Supplementing Your Team
Outsourcing individual positions is a great way to round out an incomplete team. For example, instead of hiring a full-time copywriter or graphic designer, you can outsource for such positions as needed.
1. More to Manage
Doubling the teams can mean double the teams to manage, and it could get tricky to keep track of them both. This requires careful and strategic planning.
2. Compromised Communication
Your in-house team and outsourced specialists must cooperate as one unit to run a cohesive marketing campaign. If they work in separate locations, lack of communication can make this difficult.
In-House Vs. Agency Vs. Combo: You Be the Judge
So, what’s your best bet: keeping marketing in-house, outsourcing to an agency, or a combination of both? Hopefully by now, you’ve realized that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
Use the pros and cons of each option to evaluate your company’s needs and find a solution that works best for you.