What are the differences between using a Marketing Agency and building your own In-house Marketing Team?
When it comes to marketing your business, there are two very different ways to organise your marketing resources. Each offers different benefits and challenges.
If you are currently musing over whether to invest in your own team or hire a marketing agency, this post is for you.
What is the difference between In-house vs. Agency Marketing?
The Pros of In-house Marketing
The advantages of developing your own in-house marketing team are numerous and include:
Access: It’s far easier to access your in-house marketing team as they are located in your office. In comparison, agencies aren’t always located so closely and you need to schedule time to talk because of their multiple client approach. If your business chooses to outsource its marketing, you’ll need a responsive agency and dedicated point of contact and agreed service level agreements.
Focus: In-house marketing teams naturally focus 100% on your business whereas agencies work on multiple clients. Agency teams can learn your brand and dedicate time to its marketing strategy, but they also have other clients and their own marketing needs to consider too. Depending on your company and its requirements, you may prefer having a team all to yourself.
Brand exclusivity: With one internal marketing team working exclusively and deeply on your marketing, they will know your brand, its customers, its competitors in more detail than a team operating as a light touch as and when needed. This informs all their marketing decisions and materials. Agencies can get to know your company’s value, tone, and overall brand, that process takes time.
Control: When you outsource your marketing and hire a marketing agency, you share the responsibilities of your marketing strategy. In some cases, businesses prefer to have complete control over their marketing, which can make working with an agency difficult. Agencies will want to have an input to help produce the very best work. If you like having that level of control, it’s best to build an in-house team.
The Cons of taking an In-house Marketing Approach
Capability: The abilities of your team, company, and marketing budget is a major drawback of in-house marketing.
If you focus on building your marketing department, your geographical location probably limits you. Although more roles are now part or full time remote, many aren’t. Although agencies face the same problem, it’s not your problem to solve.
Recruitment: Creating an internal marketing department takes time. The average time to hire for a marketing position can be upwards of 50 days.
Why? It starts with developing the job specification and advertising the role, working through the applications, scheduling and running interviews and making offers. This doesn’t include notice periods – most new hires will be working elsewhere and may need work a notice period of a month or more, which will inflate the time it takes to get them in role.
Employee costs: Maintaining an in-house marketing team isn’t the cheapest investment. Marketing managers can cost anywhere between £30,000 – 50,000 a year and more senior hires appreciably more. Also factor in taxes, insurance, healthcare, retirement plans, equipment, software, training and other expenses.
For SMEs, an in-house marketing team is a tremendous investment. That’s why the cost of maintaining these teams is one of the most significant drawbacks of internal marketing — it’s a massive commitment.
While a marketing agency isn’t free, they’re often much more cost-effective than in-house marketing because all their hiring challenges fall to them.
Employee turnover: When you have in-house staff, you inevitably have employee turnover. That becomes a negative in the in-house vs. agency marketing debate, though, because the loss of team members can slow and hurt your marketing efforts. It can also put pressure on remaining staff, which can result in poor performance and even higher turnover rates.
With an agency, you don’t have to worry about your activity slowing down. Changes of contact can be frequent to keep the account fresh and to cover any staffing issues they may have.
Software costs: As well as hiring your own people, you’ll have hardware and software costs. The whole software market has changed now with a glut of essential marketing technologies now available on monthly subscription. Depending on what you need, factor in access to website hosting, SEO tools, content marketing, social media, email, CRM and much more.
While you may still invest in tools like these when partnering with a marketing agency, you can often count on your agency to have a toolset. You therefore, don’t have to think about additional costs because the agency covers it already.
Scalability: It can be harder for in-house marketing teams to scale than agency teams.
That’s because agencies have access to a larger number of team members with various skill sets. If your business wants to do something specific, like a PPC campaign, you call your agency and they get it done. That’s not the case with in-house marketing. Someone would pick it up as an additional task and have to learn it.
With in-house marketing, you have limited team members and limited resources. If you want to scale your efforts, you need to either decrease work elsewhere or hire another team member, which takes time.