When To Build An In-House Team And When To Hire A Marketing Agency
Marketing for businesses is as essential to their success as daily brushing is to good dental health. Marketing is what gets your brand in front of potential customers and clients – from big multinational enterprises to sole traders, all businesses need to do marketing to some extent. Marketing can be done by people within the business or by an external marketing agency, and many businesses change between the two during their evolution as a brand.
Here, we will take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of these two options and what you can do to get the best results from both.
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When to Build an In-House Marketing Team
Many businesses, especially those over a certain size, find it beneficial to have an in-house marketing team. There are numerous benefits to having an in-house team to handle your marketing needs, including:
Brand control and alignment
Having a dedicated team that is part of your businesses means that you can have direct control over marketing campaigns and can monitor them on a personal level. Agencies may not be able to offer this level of immediate communication.
In-house employees will have a deeper understanding of the ‘why’ of the business, as well as the products and services offered. They will also have better knowledge of the short and long term aims of the business, the specific needs of the customers, and more.
Having a full-time, in-house team for your marketing activities means that they are more invested personally in the success of said activities, and that of the company in general. This ties into the earlier point about that deeper understanding that comes with brand stewardship, i.e. accountability for the long-term wellbeing of the brand.
As the business grows, an in-house team can be scaled up appropriately. As new challenges arise, a growing marketing team can maintain its effectiveness and remain in alignment with the goals of the business. This also goes both ways, however, and cutting back marketing efforts may mean having to scale back on staff.
Businesses can save money on tactical elements with an in-house marketing team. You can avoid markups on services and fees for supplier time but these are of course replaced with salaries. You can also potentially save expenses on travel and other project-based costs.
The financial risks can be greater however. A change of direction with an agency can be easy to pivot whereas a change of direction with an internal team may involve redundancies and restructures that can be very expensive and time consuming
Ultimately, if you are conducting small scale, tactical marketing, you may be better in house. If conducting larger scale, strategic marketing, an agency is likely to provide you with useful savings and efficiencies.
Campaign flexibility and responsiveness
Having an in-house marketing team gives businesses the ability to adapt quickly to changes in the market. With direct access to customer feedback channels, in-house teams can quickly adjust campaigns or strategies based on real customer sentiments and concerns.
In moments of PR crises or when a business’s reputation is at stake, swift and aligned responses are crucial. An in-house team will already be acquainted with the brand’s values, stakeholders, and communication channels, which allows for a rapid and coordinated reaction.
When to Hire a Marketing Agency
A marketing agency is an ideal choice for many businesses, especially when they are in their earlier phases of development or even those who have been established for a while already. An agency also brings a lot of specialised knowledge and skills to the table that may not be covered by an in-house marketing team.
Marketing expertise and specialisation
Marketing agencies have the benefit of having extensive experiences and expertise in the field. There are lots of agencies who specialise in your particular industry, so they can tailor their campaigns and strategies to suit the needs of the business. Hiring an agency can save time overall, as they will be more equipped with marketing data and analysis from existing clients.
Any marketing agency worth its salt will take the time to stay updated with current industry trends and best practices. They also have access to specialised tools and resources that can help your business to get better results, along with the knowledge required to use them effectively.
Budget considerations and cost efficiency
Hiring a whole marketing team can be expensive, from initial recruitment costs to training and salaries. Most agencies operate on a fixed contract which helps to keep costs low. Agencies can offer flexibility in pricing, often giving several options or packages that you can choose from to suit the needs and budget of the business.
Access to a range of specialised skills
Using an agency can give you access to a whole team that has a diverse range of skills, from copywriting and PPC campaigns to graphic design and videography. Very few businesses need these roles to be fulfilled by full-time or even long term part-time team members. There’s no need to go through the hassle of hiring and managing your marketing dream team when an agency already has everything you need.
You can concentrate on the business
Many business owners find they have to become a jack-of-all-trades, juggling many roles at once to keep the business running. Using an agency to fulfil marketing needs can take a substantial amount of work off your plate. Even if the business has several employees, it doesn’t mean they will have the time or skills required to execute an effective marketing strategy.
Agencies are results-oriented
The relationship between a marketing agency and a business is one that is driven by results. If the agency doesn’t deliver what it promises, then you can end the contract and find one who will. This brings a certain level of urgency and focus to their work. Of course, this should be true of in-house employees, but switching agencies is a lot cleaner and less rigmarole than firing and hiring your own staff.
Project complexity and scalability
Agencies can offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to scaling up marketing activities as the business grows. This frees you up from having to hire more employees. If the needs of the business change over time, which is very likely, the agency will be able to easily shift focus onto what’s important using their existing talent pool. Likewise, if marketing needs to be scaled back, this is something that an agency will be able to handle more easily than an in-house team.
Outsourcing marketing activities to an agency can give your business a much-needed outsider perspective on any current campaigns. They will be able to look at the business’s offering from the customer’s point of view more easily and can offer fresh, creative ideas.
At my agency, SK, we work with mid to large sized clients across the world to deliver fast, cost efficient strategies that deliver results. After decades of working with agencies that didn’t add enough value or flexibility I’m trying to change that. If you’re looking for a new marketing agency that works hard for you I’d love to chat to you.
Should You Take The Agency Or In-house Route For Marketing?
Still can’t decide whether to hire an in-house team or use an agency for your business’s marketing needs? Here are some things to consider:
Are you based somewhere that has top-level talent? If not, this can make it hard to attract the right people to form an in-house marketing team that suits your needs. Companies based in larger cities may find it easier to find the right people for an in-house team. If not, using an agency might be your best bet.
If your business is in a niche industry, you might find it hard for an agency to really understand your specific needs. This means it may be a good idea to build an in-house team for your marketing needs.
It is possible that the best solution is to use a combination of an in-house marketing team and a marketing agency. This offers the best of both worlds, and both teams can work together to maximise their efficacy. In-house teams bring their in-depth knowledge of the business and the industry, while agencies offer an outsider perspective and specialised marketing skills.