Advertising Agency vs In-House Marketing

agency vs in house picture of fist bumping

Advertising Agency vs In-House Marketing Team

Which is right for your business?

Should you hire a marketing agency, or should your business build an in-house marketing team? There is a lot to consider before making this vital decision. We have laid out the pros and cons of both as well as things to consider before you decide what is right for your business.

Early success can be misleading.

Whether you are a new company with a great product or a company that has been around for a while. Marketing might not seem necessary. You built a solid group of people who love your product and can spread the news through their network.

But, the novelty of your product wears off and growth starts plateauing. Now, you start scrambling to put together a marketing campaign to just get you back to where you were.

Facebook graph

People find themselves here all too often when they start thinking about marketing too late.

The growth of their business, with a good product, occurs naturally at first. However, without a marketing plan in place during that initial time of growth, they are not able to determine the underlying reasons for that growth, their marketing falls short when it matters most.

When You Need to Focus on Marketing

Don’t wait until your business stops growing to start building a marketing team. Keep an eye out for these red flags so you can get into action before you have a major problem.

  • You don’t know who your actual target audience is. 

    You aren’t targeting anyone if you aren’t targeting a specific audience. Before you develop any form of long-term marketing strategy, you need an experienced professional to help you pull together customer information, test campaigns and to pinpoint your buyer personas.

  • You have a low social media engagement. 

This is a sign your customers need to feel more connected to your company and product, and how it will impact their lives.

  • Your blog traffic isn’t creating conversions and is low.

    This means your material isn’t engaging your target audience or even worse, it’s getting to the wrong audience. An expert in content marketing or SEO can help you find the right topics and phrases that will help turn your readers into customers.

  • You don’t have enough ideas lined up for marketing campaigns. 

    This means that you and your employees don’t have enough time or the experience to come up with multiple variations of the copy and design that can be A/B tested and optimized.

  • Your ads have a low click-through rate.

    Your ads-no matter where they are, might not be reaching the right audience, or they may have been poorly designed. Either way, you are wasting your money on ineffective ads.

When you are just starting out it is typical that your team will have to wear many different hats to cover all aspects of the business. This causes them to lose their ability to specialize when everyone becomes a jack of all trades.

You need a specialist because, at some point, marketing becomes so vital it requires full-time attention that cannot be divided up among the team with other responsibilities.

Often, one person isn’t enough to handle the complexities of developing and managing a successful marketing plan. A team of experts is necessary to dedicate enough time to all of your inbound and outbound marketing efforts: web design, ad placement and optimization, SEO and blog management, and of course social media management.

Therefore, the next question is: do you hire an agency or build an in-house team?

As with most decisions, it comes down to cost and convenience. Companies set a marketing budget and often times an in-house team seems too expensive and too complicated to manage properly, thus deeming an agency a temporary solution. Conventional thinking may seem logical, but it operates under the assumption an in-house team is automatically a better option.

Deciding between the two isn’t just a matter of cost, it’s a matter of fit.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which is the right option for you. Therefore, we have laid out both options with pros and cons to help you in your decision-making process.

Things to Consider Before Choosing an In-House Marketing Team

If you decide an in-house team is a right option for you, start small by selecting a few talented people and fill in your team as needed later. It is better to hire as needed than to hire too many, ultimately needing to let them go later on.

There are four crucial roles that any in-house marketing team needs:

  • Marketing Manager who is responsible for the broad picture of the whole marketing strategy. They put together the plan for achieving the long-term goals of the company, deciding on prioritization of channels, lead generation strategies and ways to maximize the spend.
  • Content Writer who writes all content such as email campaigns, website and most importantly, your company blog. Approximately 30% of B2B marketers feel they are up to par on this matter, so choose carefully when considering who to hire for your company.
  • SEO and Analytics Expert who makes sure you are getting the most out of your inbound efforts. If you do not have an expert in this field, you will have a blog that gets no traffic with a wasted killer marketing campaign.
  • Social Media Manager whose sole responsibility is to grow your online presence and to build a community around your brand.

Because you will have to pay each person, your budget will put constraints on your ability to hire the necessary team.

The Benefits of an In-House Marketing Team

An in-house marketing team will have the advantage of knowing your company inside and out.

  • Product Expertise 

    An in-house team can learn in-depth with the departments within your company to help them build a campaign that fits your underlying business initiatives. If you have a complex product with frequent intrinsic questions from your customers, they are able to answer those questions with a vast knowledge of the product.

  • Access to the Company’s Culture 

    readers love to learn about the culture of a company including giving back initiatives and work environment. Consumers look for the authenticity of a company they plan to invest in. Agencies, while initially limited to this information, take the time to get to really know the culture. On the other hand, an in-house team doesn’t have to learn about it, they experience it.

  • Alignment Across All Marketing Efforts 

    To increase brand awareness and create a genuine connection with your target audience, you need to align all of your efforts.

What to Consider Before Choosing an Agency

A common misconception is that when hiring an agency, it is an all or nothing approach. You either hire an external marketing team or you don’t.

But with most agencies, they offer campaigns suitable for your needs.

marketing company creative thinking

To get the most out of your marketing agency, you need to decide which marketing efforts you’re going to hire an agency for and what you can handle in-house.

Below are the different types of agencies you can choose from:

  • Digital marketing agency which specializes in outbound marketing such as results driven, measurable marketing and a focus on lead generation, conversions and maximizing ROI. They will work closely with you to determine your target audience and buyer personas.

  • Content marketing agency which specializes in inbound marketing. While some digital marketing agencies also cover this field, it is important to make sure this is a priority when deciding who to hire.
  • The advertising agency which specializes in brand exposure. They find placement on billboards, radio, TV, websites and social media. They measure the ROI based on each campaign and adjust accordingly.
  • PR agency whose primary focus is to get the word out about your company or product. Typically, they have a lot of connections and build a story for your brand.
  • A design agency that focuses mainly on web design, content management, and building mobile apps.

Whether you are a start-up company or an older company with no one specializing in these fields for marketing, a digital marketing agency is a great place to begin.

If your team already has some marketing members but you need help in specific areas, reach out to a company that specializes in the areas you are lacking to build a more solid campaign for your company.

full service marketing company

Benefits of Using a Marketing Agency

Now that you know a little about the types of marketing agencies out there, here are some distinct advantages to hiring a marketing agency.

  • Marketing Expertise Marketing agencies work with clients across many different fields and platforms, therefore, they bring a high level of expertise. Due to their exposure to many different campaigns, unlike an in-house team, they are able to suggest things in-house teams may not have exposure to. Hiring an in-house team can be complex, tech jobs have the highest turnover rate across all industries, so do not expect to get the best and keep best. By going with an agency, you have access to a multitude of experienced marketers that specialize in the key areas, and fortunately, as long as you pay them, they aren’t going anywhere. Hiring an agency can give you an opportunity to learn about what to expect from highly-qualified marketers.
  • External Perspective In-house teams that work on the same product all day, every day find it difficult to take a step back to view the whole picture and to see the best and worst aspects of their company and product. With a constant focus on the product, they often lose sight of the customers perspective. A marketing agency can give professional insight to improve your marketing strategy.
  • Low-Cost Agencies will cost you significantly less than hiring an in-house team. Typically, you are billed hourly or be put on a retainer. Hourly rates on average will cost you somewhere between $100 to $200 and a monthly retainer will cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000. Looking at the average numbers below, it can cost almost 10x more to build an in-house team in comparison to an agency.

marketing company comparison

Making Your Decision

When it comes to choosing the best option for you don’t make your decision on cost alone. Investing in marketing is investing in growth. It is the engine that will power your company or product to places you never thought possible.

Carefully compare the pros and cons of each decision to what your company is looking for.

Taylor L.
Blue Water Marketing
Stuart, FL

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Taylor Lynch

Taylor Lynch

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