In House Vs Agency - Which marketing route is best for your business?

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1 min read

When you’re looking to upscale your marketing efforts, you might consider expanding (or if you’ve been doing it all yourself until this point, starting!) your in-house marketing team by making some new hires. 

But how do you know whether to recruit in-house marketers or hire a marketing agency? Both routes to boosting the marketing for your B2B business are viable, and offer value in different ways. 

What’s most critical is making the best choice for your business.

In this blog, we’ll consider the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency over recruiting an in-house marketing team. And it is worth mentioning now; it’s certainly not one-or-the-other. 

As a digital marketing agency, some of the clients we work with have an in-house team and some don’t, but in both cases we are able to produce fantastic results. 

 

What is an in-house marketing team? 

First of all, let’s look at what an in-house marketing team might look like. 

Members of an in-house marketing department are people who were hired to work exclusively for your brand and business. They will be brand advocates, and report directly to the Marketing Director or Business Director. 

As modern digital marketing encompasses so much, a successful in-house marketing department will need to either be a large team of experts, or a small team with a multitude of skills.

 

How to build an in-house marketing department

To build your in-house marketing team, you will firstly need a Marketing Manager. The in-house Marketing Manager will work with high-level directors on the marketing strategy, and lead the implementation of the marketing plan. 

Some businesses get by with just this one role in their Marketing department, but bigger businesses have more heads on the team. For example, other members of an in-house marketing team would include graphic designers, social media managers, and SEO and Paid Advertising managers to implement and manage the marketing plan. 

 

What are the benefits of an in-house marketing team?

The benefits of keeping your marketing in-house include:

Full brand immersion

By recruiting and growing an in-house marketing team, every moment of your team’s time is spent dedicated to your business. It’s no secret that digital marketing agencies work with more than one company at any given time. 

Agencies get exposure to a wide range of businesses, and this develops skill and experience, but if you prefer your marketing team to have a sole focus, then in-house marketing is a better fit for you. 

 

100% control 

By keeping your marketing in-house, you have full control over the marketing team, and how they build and implement your marketing plan. If you have a clear idea of how you want to use digital marketing to grow your business, then building an in-house team to deliver could be the solution for you. 

If you’re not sure where to start with your B2B marketing, reaching out to a digital marketing agency might be the better choice for you, as you will gain access to their expertise and consultancy to guide, or even create, your business’ marketing plan. 

 

Last minute projects 

An in-house marketing team might suit your business better depending on your industry. Sometimes, the nature of your industry means you need to be instantly reacting to the latest developments. If immediacy is critical to your business, then an agency might not work for you, or perhaps you’d be more suited to a hybrid model. 

Digital marketing agencies will plan your marketing campaigns in advance, and will need some notice if there are going to be significant changes, so the work can be scheduled and organised within the team and fit around other commitments. 

 

What does a digital marketing agency do?

Now let’s consider what a digital marketing agency might do differently from your in-house marketing team. 

A digital marketing agency is a team of experts who work together every day to build and deliver successful marketing strategies for businesses just like yours. When you hire a digital marketing agency, it is like you are outsourcing your entire marketing department to one external company. 

 

What are the benefits of a digital marketing agency?

They’re experts in everything 

The brilliance of a digital marketing agency is like the beauty of a bulk-buy bargain. You get several different experts for the price of one. 

When you hire a marketing team in-house, you need to pay individual salaries to each expert on your team. The average salary for an experienced marketing manager alone is £34,254. That can get very expensive! With a digital marketing agency, in one payment you can access every skill you need to build and deliver excellent marketing strategies, plus the software used to implement them. 

Also, a digital marketing agency's remit often expands wider than what you’d find in an average business marketing team, and includes those critical technical roles such as SEO and website development. 

 

They’ve done it all before 

When you hire an experienced digital marketing agency, you don’t need to worry about your investment. It’s a sure thing. It’s literally their business to win your business business!

Hiring a digital marketing agency takes away the hassle of interviewing, hiring, and training each individual on your in-house marketing team. The only thing you’ll need to do is engage with them so they can get to know your business as well as you do. Then once the marketing plan is in place, you can focus on your day job while the agency’s work generates warm leads for you and your sales team. 

 

They grow with you 

Unlike with an in-house marketing team, you won't have to repeat recruitment rounds when your business booms, which is hopefully what will happen when you start implementing some winning marketing strategies! Agile, flexible digital marketing agencies already have the capacity and resources to reflect and adjust strategies to accommodate your business growth. 

On the other hand, for whatever reason you may need to, it’s easier to scale down a project or retainer with a digital marketing agency when you need to, as opposed to reducing your in-house marketing team.  

 

What if I already have an internal marketing team? Can I have both? 

There is a third option. You may already have a small marketing team, or even just one person in your business in charge of marketing. Digital marketing agencies can work together with existing internal marketing teams to share the marketing workload. 

In this way of working, your in-house marketing manager may be in charge of developing the high-level marketing strategy, but you need to outsource certain skills to implement it. Or, vice versa, perhaps you need expert help in building a winning marketing plan, but your in-house marketing assistant can implement and monitor the pre-designed campaigns. 

The main thing business owners need to consider when deciding how to build their marketing team is what is the best choice for the business, and which route will help you achieve their goals. 

If you are looking to engage with a digital marketing agency, you must consider the following:

  • Do they have experience in your industry? Look at their case studies and previous clients to see if you think they will be a good fit for your business. 
  • Do they have access to the skills you need? Not all agencies will have website development or branding strategists. 
  • Do they seem like nice people? In the same way you would want to make sure the team you hire in-house will be a good fit for your business, bear in mind that you will be working with the agency on a regular basis! 

If you are looking to build an in-house marketing team, the three takeaways to remember are:

  • Looking at your marketing plan (if you’ve got one), what skills are you going to need to hire to make sure it can be fulfilled? For example: have you got paid advertising campaigns included in the marketing plan? Hire people with the right skills!
  • Are the right processes in place? With hiring the right people and providing them with training, it can take a long time before you start to see results. What can you do to ensure a smooth, strong start to these roles?
  • It’s not all or nothing. Go back to your business goals and marketing plan, refine what you might need to outsource and what you want to keep in-house, then consider whether a hybrid model would be a better fit for your company. 

 

At FINALLY, we work with businesses as their sole marketing outsource as well as support businesses who have an internal team. If you would like to find out more about how digital marketing could help your business grow, take a look at our services on offer. 

For more digital marketing insights, connect with me on LinkedIn 

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