In-House Marketing vs. Agency: Which Is Right for You?

Your marketing says a lot about your company, so it’s essential to execute your marketing plans in a strategic way. When developing these strategies, your company will have to decide whether to use an in-house marketing team or outsource to a marketing agency. 

There are pros and cons to both marketing options; in-house marketing allows for better control over your marketing strategy, but a marketing agency will give you access to a broader range of marketing talents. To help you make the best decisions for your company, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for both in-house marketing and marketing agencies. Using this information, you can make an informed decision and choose how to move forward with your marketing strategy.

What Is In-House Marketing?

In-house marketing is when you utilize the people within your company or hire new in-house employees for the specific purpose of running your marketing. It involves building an internal team to create, manage, and maintain your marketing strategy — and very little, if anything, is outsourced to another company. 

With in-house marketing, you can have more control over things like content creation, task management, payroll, etc. An in-house marketing team only markets its own brand and therefore has specialized knowledge, but talents in an internal marketing department aren’t quite as diverse. When your entire marketing team is within your company, it’s easy to control projects from start to finish. It’s also easier to maintain the quality of your marketing implementation, as well as rearrange priorities and take on tasks that need a quick turnaround time. 

What Is Agency Marketing?

Agency marketing involves outsourcing your marketing needs. A marketing agency takes on clients and can handle every aspect of their campaigns, including email automation, social media, blog posts, website content, etc. In this case, your own employees do very little by way of marketing. This way, you don’t have to worry about hiring employees to fill marketing roles and can instead have an external group handle all of it. 

With agency marketing, you get access to expertise you might not have otherwise. Agencies hire employees that are experts in their respective fields. While choosing to go with an agency for your marketing means that you might have to wait for the work to be done, you can rest assured they know what they’re doing — and you won’t need to find employees to cover your advertising.

What’s more, the diversity you’ll be able to find in the talent pool of a marketing agency is unparalleled. You will also get to access software and technology that is relevant to your needs but could be expensive for your company to acquire. This helps your marketing campaign get in front of your target audience more quickly and efficiently.

Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing

Choosing to do all your marketing in-house has pros and cons. It’s easier to keep everything organized and together when all of your marketing needs are kept in one place and within your company. But marketing requires full-time attention, which can be a big lift for your employees. It can sometimes be too much if you don’t have a large in-house team or if your team doesn’t have the expertise needed to succeed. 

Pro: Workflow Speed

In-house marketing means every team member is focused on your business and only your business. If your in-house team is on top of things, they can quickly get projects done. Since agencies take on multiple clients at once, the workflow speed can be affected.

Pro: Communication and Collaboration

Communication is vital to successful project management, and collaboration is crucial for teamwork. When everyone is a part of the same company, already uses the same tools, and has the same company knowledge, it can make for simpler marketing management. The team can work on project goals and expectations together with fewer bottlenecks.  

Pro: Data Security

Data security is easier to achieve when you don’t have to share it with a third party. With an in-house marketing team, you can limit the accessibility of your data to those who need it while making it easier for the appropriate individuals to access it when necessary.

Pro: Brand Ownership and Knowledge

Since an agency usually has multiple clients, they have to learn to brand in several different voices, and there may be a number of people working on your messaging at once. This can sometimes affect the cohesiveness of your voice. Having an in-house marketing team means you have complete control over the tone of your marketing assets and the way your brand is presented. In-house marketers will also have a more sound knowledge of your industry, products, and services while an agency will require time to learn about them.

Con: Limited Resources

On the other hand, keeping your marketing in-house limits your resources. If your company is smaller, you’ll only have a small marketing team, which means you have limited skill sets available to you. Big companies can have larger marketing teams, which can require breaking the team into smaller groups for easier management, slowing down communication. Hiring a marketing agency can prevent this issue and often cut costs as well.

Con: Limited Suggestions

When your entire marketing team is internal and plans are only circulated through the company, it can sometimes be challenging to see the forest for the trees. Your ideas and strategies are created in an echo chamber, and suggestions can be limited. An outside perspective can help with this issue. A marketing agency will share suggestions and raise reservations about your plans, which can make your projects more successful.

Con: Lack of External Support

A marketing agency can bring in years of experience while an in-house team has only as much expertise as your employees have. Having an agency on your side brings in more expertise and unique contributions that can optimize your marketing efforts.

Pros and Cons of Agency Marketing

There are plenty of perks to outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency. Doing so frees up your employees to work on other tasks and projects and gives you access to industry professionals and specialists you wouldn’t have otherwise. You can use their expertise to further your company’s marketing goals. In this age of technology, you can outsource your marketing needs to the best in the business, no matter where they are.

Pro: Fresh Ideas

When your marketing plans have only been reviewed by your in-house team, it’s easy to miss gaps in your strategy. Ideas can get stale when they’ve been suggested and reviewed repeatedly. Hiring a marketing agency allows you to collaborate with marketing experts who know your industry inside and out and can bring in new ideas and fresh eyes.

Pro: Deep Industry Knowledge

Marketing agencies hire people who are experts in their fields, and that expertise can be hard to match with an internal marketing team. Your company benefits from this deep industry knowledge when you hire agencies with successful track records. An agency also has a broader range of skill sets because they hire people specifically for SEO, social media management, content writing, paid advertising, and more.

Pro: Flexibility

A marketing agency can provide you with knowledge and support in specialized topics, meaning your team doesn’t have to scramble to learn niche information that an agency already knows. In turn, your team can concentrate on the tasks that fall within their area of expertise. This means your own team doesn’t need to worry about it and can focus more on productive tasks and provide greater flexibility. 

Pro: Creativity

Agencies have also cultivated and carefully curated creative tools over years of experience. Whatever task you throw at them, they have someone suited to take it on. The way an agency is set up makes it easier for employees to be creative and explore different options to best succeed at a task.

Con: Slower Communication

As we’ve mentioned, marketing agencies often serve several clients at once, and they have to prioritize their work to keep on top of everything. Because of this, communication can sometimes be slow. Prompt communication is more accessible when your team is in-house, mainly because many agencies use phone or email to communicate with their clients. Phone calls can be inconvenient when they happen regularly, and email can be a slower form of communication.

Collaboration can also be slower with a marketing agency if no processes exist. The back-and-forth communication can slow the process down, affecting your bottom line if you’re not careful.

Con: More Details

For an agency to provide you with the content you want, they need you to clearly communicate your goals. This often means getting a detailed brief to them for each task you need them to do. Creating a brief can be time-consuming and tedious without a system in place. An in-house marketing team would probably need fewer details because they already know the company’s necessary goals and tasks.

Con: Less Data-Driven

Because you want to keep your data safe, the data access you can give an agency is sometimes limited, meaning an agency may have to make decisions with limited information. Making a blind decision can affect your marketing efficiency and lower conversion rates.

What Is Hybrid Marketing?

If your company has a reasonable marketing budget but only has limited resources for an internal marketing team, then a hybrid marketing model might be a good option for you. This model uses a combination of in-house and agency marketing to reach your goals. If you do it correctly, hybrid marketing can be as effective as the exclusive use of in-house or agency marketing. 

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Marketing

With a hybrid marketing model, you have an in-house marketing team to handle the tasks that need to be done quickly and an agency to provide their expertise and experience in long-term goals. For a hybrid model to work best, you must ensure clear roles and expectations for your in-house team and the agency. Both sides of the coin complement each other to create an effective marketing strategy. 

Pro: Safer Data

If you choose to use a hybrid marketing strategy, you can make data-driven decisions without giving private information to a third party. This means that your data is safer and can still be used to make decisions that will benefit your business and clients.

Pro: Expertise Without Hiring

You’ll also have access to available experts through an agency, but you don’t have to convince them to join your own company to get their expertise. When internal and external perspectives are taken into account, you will be able to get more points of view and brainstorm more effectively.

Pro: Software Access

Many agencies have effective but expensive software. Hybrid marketing allows you to utilize this software without finding it or paying for it yourself. The agency side of your marketing team can use that software to find out how to elevate your business, and the in-house side can put those ideas into effect.

Con: Crossover

As with any business choice, you must set clear expectations with your in-house team and the agency. If you don’t have specific jobs for everyone involved, you might find that more than one person is doing the same job. In that case, you’ll be paying for the same work multiple times. 

Con: Expenses

Hybrid marketing tends to cost more. You have to pay both your in-house marketing team and the agency you’re using. Your in-house team could work on client-facing tasks while the agency works on your online presence. Before you choose hybrid marketing, you need to be sure that you have the budget for it. 

Developing a Marketing Model

Regardless of the marketing model you decide to implement, some factors are necessary for all of them. You need to have clear processes in place, increase transparency, and enforce clear communication. To develop an effective marketing model, you also must establish good contact, ask for regular feedback, use the right tools, and implement effective collaboration techniques.

Set Up Processes

Having transparent processes in place ensures everyone involved is on the same page. Set up a workflow structure that outlines how tasks are assigned, finished, delivered, reviewed, edited, and approved. Consider the timeframe to complete projects and who should assign tasks and check them when they’re finished. 

Transparency

Your employees are likely to be more productive when transparency is high. Transparency increases trust and improves relationships within your organization and between employees. Keep relevant information in an easily accessible place where all collaborators can find it and track how tasks are being completed. It would also serve you well to have regular meetings and even group activities to help your teams connect on a personal level.

Communication and Contact

Standard communication isn’t enough with projects like this — you need to encourage direct and effective correspondence. It can be helpful to set up a communication plan to make it easier for your team to converse with each other. Direct contact provides guidance, corrections, and other communications that should be private. Effective communication with clients is also essential, as it sets everyone up for success.

Be consistent and transparent in conversations with your contacts. This goes along with the communication mentioned earlier. Whether you’re working in-house or with an agency, the better your contact, the better you can build a strong relationship. You don’t want any gaps in communication because important tasks can start to slip through those gaps.

Regular Feedback

Regular feedback is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your marketing model. You should be asking for input from both your internal and external marketing experts. Everyone wants to feel like their opinions are appreciated, so be sure to consider all the feedback you receive.

The Right Tools

Integrate effective communication software tools to keep in touch with everyone involved in your marketing strategy. Many options are available that allow for intercommunication while also storing pertinent files. Using the valuable features of the right tools helps your team converse in real-time. 

Many teams find that communication software such as Slack, Google Chats, Discord, and the like are helpful tools. Emails allow for a lot of information to be shared, but it’s not always as immediate as the aforementioned options. Google Drive also provides a space for everyone on your team to share and access information and pertinent files.

Collaboration Techniques

You should also encourage creativity and innovation when you’re looking for solid collaboration between team members. Employees shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time finding pertinent information and tracking down task details. Open communication, clear expectations, and specific goals set your team up for success.

What Avalaunch Media® Can Do For You

Avalaunch Media® is a leader in the digital marketing industry. We work with a wide variety of client types and help them succeed in their marketing strategies. Our company has been around for over a decade, and we have the knowledge and talent to help your brand grow. Our proven strategies can help you grow your business in today’s digital marketing space. 

The Avalaunch team will walk you through every step of taking your company to the next level. We learn your business’s needs and desired outcomes inside and out and develop a framework that will take your business from start to finish. Collectively, we are passionate about marketing and providing tangible results for all of our clients, and we focus on sustainable and long-term success in marketing. 

When your company decides to use a marketing agency for your marketing needs, get the best of the best with Avalaunch Media®. Check out our website to learn more and see how we can launch your company! If you have any questions about our services, feel free to reach out. 

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