Build an in-house team or hire an agency? That is the question i'm sure every business owner asks themselves.
It’s a difficult question to answer without having first-hand experience in both worlds. Ideally, you want a solution that leverages outside expertise, fast-tracks implementation, builds your brand equity, and doesn’t waste money.
Who is this for?
This guide is for business owners and marketing decision-makers who want to improve their digital marketing efforts, but are uncertain which direction will provide the greatest benefit to their organization.
Maybe you have a small marketing team and have lost a key person recently. Maybe you’ve been working with an agency or freelancers for a while and are wondering if it’s time to bring things in-house.
Each scenario offers pros and cons. My recommendation, as you’ll see, is a hybrid of the two, offering you the advantages of each, but without many of the disadvantages. Here’s how.
Advantages to hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
Working with a capable agency gives you access to deep expertise across a wide array of marketing functions. Often times, your in-house marketer gets too busy with day-to-day activities, or distractions, and does not have the time to build up the necessary expertise that allows him or her to deep dive into a topic.
Agency structures allow for a single person to specialize in a particular marketing function, such as social media management across multiple clients. Then, they are able to apply that expertise across multiple businesses and see patterns and industry trends which can be used to improve the results of each one.
Experienced marketing agencies will also bring a completely different perspective to your business. When you live and breathe your business day-in and day-out, you can develop large blindspots in your strategy. Having an outside expert that works with multiple businesses will help you leverage best practices and stay ahead of the curve.
Advantages of building a team in-house.
Building a marketing team in-house will ensure that the people you hire are the right fit for your company’s culture. In my experience, most marketing people are also very friendly and tend to make the work atmosphere more fun (as long as that’s ok!).
Are you in a specialized niche? It will be advantageous to hire someone in-house who knows the industry inside and out. They will likely need to leverage outside marketing resources, but their experience and insight may be very valuable beyond what a typical agency can offer.
Hiring a marketing team in-house will increase communication between marketing and the sales, buying, and customer service teams. However, this needs to be a very deliberate effort.
Is hiring in-house cheaper than hiring an Agency?
At first glance, hiring a marketing agency may seem like the more expensive option. The dollar-per-hour cost is definitely higher. However, when you factor in the cost of enterprise software, office space, recruitment, hiring, on-boarding, training, benefits, bonuses, vacations, and mentoring, things start to stack up differently.
Take Away Points
In conclusion, whether you hire an agency or build a team in-house, tie the decision back to your organization’s complexity, culture, experience, and goals. My suggestion is to choose a hybrid of the two so that you get the benefits of each. Plus, if you want to have a killer in-house marketing team, then you’ll need someone to train them and keep them motivated.
The problem with the ‘old’ agency model was, and still is, the protection of knowledge. Agencies have been known to keep their expertise hidden in a ‘black box’ so that they can keep billing their clients for things they barely understand.
We believe that by educating our clients and creating easy-to-understand dashboards, they can become stronger, make better decisions, and we can grow their business better together.