At some point in every business’s life, it must make the tough choice between an in-house marketing team or an outside marketing agency. Navigating this difficult decision can be tricky, so we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to make it a little easier for you.
In-house marketing agency
Increased transparency/trust/control of brand
An internal marketing team eats, sleeps, and breathes your brand. They are the biggest experts when it comes to your brand and its voice. With an internal marketing team, you have complete control over how your brand is perceived, and it’s being handled by those who know it best.
A great marketing agency can reach this point as well, but it will take considerable communication to get there.
Higher focus and faster execution
An in-house marketing team has one client: You! This means that high-profile tasks are pushed to top of the agenda quickly. Communication moves quicker and project changes can be made at a moment’s notice if necessary.
When you have an internal marketing team, answers pertaining to your campaign are usually just a desk away. Depending on the agency you decide to go with, communication may be cumbersome. While you occasionally meet in person, most of your communication will take place via email or virtual meetings.
With a dedicated team on-site, collaboration is also a breeze. It can be difficult to truly work through a problem or hammer out an idea over a phone call or through email. If you are in prolonged contact with your creative team, ideas and collaboration flow much more smoothly. That’s not to say that communication and collaboration are impossible with an outside agency; you just have to find the right ones. With a skilled account manager, communicating and collaborating with an outside agency should feel no different than working with a marketing team of your own.
Potential issues with an in-house marketing team
Missing support from experts with more experience across multiple industries
A successful marketing agency that has been in business for years and has worked with countless clients across multiple industries. Agencies have a wide range of experience to draw from; they know what works and what doesn’t. They have the experience to avoid the pitfalls and missteps an in-house team might make.
High startup costs
To begin, you will need to hire and train your internal marketing team. For a smaller company of around 25-50 employees, that’s three marketing team members on average.
On top of the costs of employing your team, you also need to account for marketing software and hardware expenses. Marketing professionals often employ, from the outside looking in, an endless list of software that comes with a hefty price tag. Between SEO tools, graphic design software, and freelance services, that money starts to add up — and it doesn’t stop. If your business has enough capital to hire a small marketing team, don’t forget to leave room for the other hefty expenses that come with it.
External marketing agency
Fresh ideas, outside perspectives
An independent agency has worked with dozens, if not hundreds, of clients across various industries. This wide range of knowledge is unbeatable when it comes to developing fresh ideas for your business. Many in-house teams can get stuck in a creative rut when dealing with the same brand day in and day out. Having an outside team that has worked on all sorts of other projects brings in an outside perspective that could prove invaluable in marketing your business.
Deep knowledge of the industry
It’s rare that a marketing team for a small business possesses all the skills required to truly compete in today’s ever-changing marketing environment. Team members are often “jacks of all trades,” meaning they may have an intermediate understanding of all best practices, but few are experts in any one thing.
A competent marketing agency, on the other hand, has experts dedicated to each specific field of marketing services your business may need. They will follow the best practices of their respective fields and guide your campaign to success through the expertise granted through years of experience.
No startup/maintenance costs
The hefty startup and maintenance costs of an in-house marketing team are completely negated if your business decides to go the agency route. Marketing agencies already possess the staff, training, software, and hardware required to perform the many complicated tasks asked of them.
More time to commit to actual revenue-generating activities that are in your wheelhouse
With a dedicated team handling your marketing, you’ll have more time to focus on the aspects of your business that you actually know. With an outside agency, you’ll spend less time micromanaging aspects of your marketing plan that might be out of the scope of your (or your new internal marketing team’s) knowledge.
Slower communication/collaboration (sometimes)
A marketing agency won’t be in your office 24/7, obviously. They may not even be in your town! Some aspects of planning and communication may take longer with an agency compared to an in-house marketing team. Collaboration may prove more difficult too, as close proximity tends to make collaborative efforts go more smoothly.
Which should I go with?
So, now that you know the pros and cons of an in-house marketing team and an outside agency, which should your business choose? It’s a tough decision to make that unfortunately lacks an easy answer. At the end of the day, it really depends on where your business is at and what you believe will benefit it the most.
If you decide a digital marketing agency is the best choice for your business, our experts here at Beanstalk would love to have a conversation about how our services could bring you great results. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!