The Trade-Offs of Using an Outside Marketing Agency Versus In-House Talent
Any business is going to find itself working constantly to expand its reach and bring in new clients. When it comes to devising new marketing strategies and fine-tuning long-term advertising campaigns, a natural question is: who will do the work? Is this kind of marketing strategy best left to in-house talent, or is it a better decision to enlist the help of outside specialists?
The truth is that both choices have their own respective advantages and drawbacks. Whether a firm is engaging in B2B or B2C selling, they must understand what they are getting with either choice, if they are to make the most informed and strategically sound decision for the long-term success of their business.
Here are the trade-offs of using in-house talent versus an outside agency for your marketing strategy.
It’s worth pointing out that regardless of where your marketing team comes from, it’s essential that your firm have someone whose efforts are devoted solely to marketing and advertising. While a quality product is indispensible, it’s the responsibility of a dedicated marketing team to get the word out.
A marketing team needs to have at least three areas covered. These are:
–Marketing Strategy. This is the long-term vision for your firm, from basic questions like to whom you’re selling to more complex areas like lead generation strategies.
–Content and Social Media. Your in-bound marketing efforts require good copy, whether it’s for blog posts, emails, or tweets. It’s rarely cost-effective to bring someone on just for social media management (unless you’re a large firm), so this responsibility can typically be handled by the excellent copywriter who manages content writing.
–SEO and Analytics. Any firm that’s going to grow needs an expert to parse the behind-the-scenes details about your web presence. SEO analysts tell you the who, what, where, and why of your online visitors, and are indispensible for a firm’s online marketing efforts.
Your In-House Marketing Team
When many firms start-up, they begin with one or more individuals in-house working on their marketing efforts. For this reason, many firms consider an in-house marketing team to be the default.
There are some clear benefits to this approach. For one, your in-house marketing team is entirely devoted to the firm of which you are all a part. They are totally immersed in the company culture, so they ideally require a lot less on-boarding and maintenance. The channels of communication are more open, and the team is consequently more agile.
Here are some questions to ask to determine if your in-house marketing team is truly effective:
–In brief, are they worth the salaries? Are they consistently bringing in high-quality leads? Has the work of the team produced results that benefit your firm?
–How responsive is your team to the wider market and its trends? Are they managing to implement new technology and automation? Do they have relationships with industry influencers and stay connected to developments in your field?
–Is your in-house marketing team covering everything they should?
Hiring Outside Experts
While there are many benefits to having an in-house team, many firms elect to bring in marketing consultants. Whether they pay by an hourly rate or on a per-project basis, it's almost always cheaper to hire a consultant (even a pricey one) than it is bring on a new full-time employee. Of course, it all comes down to the value added, and an outside agency can have several advantages.
Many firms find that an outside agency can provide a fresh, new perspective, which can re-invigorate a firm’s marketing efforts and break out of stagnant groupthink. A good marketing firm spends all its time in the world of marketing and advertising, so they are much more likely to be plugged-in to new innovations, technology, and other developments in the industry. They are also likely to have a lot of access to prominent industry figures and exposure at conferences.
Here are some questions to guide your efforts to select an outside agency:
–How much work will go into bringing them up to speed with your firm? Do they have a record that demonstrates great communication and turnaround time?
–How much attention will your firm receive? Are you confident that they can produce the results you want?
–How much can an agency provide? Are they so limited that you’ll have to hire another agency to augment their efforts?
Ultimately, many firms find that they don’t choose one or the other, but a combination of both. You also have the option to retain a smaller marketing staff, and also work with an outside agency. If you already have a great in-house marketer, they could still get insider knowledge from a consultant that will give your marketing efforts a better ROI for years to come.
The composition of your marketing staff, and how your efforts are carried out, has an enormous impact on the long-term prospects for your firm. At Demodia, we understand how to create a winning digital marketing strategy as well as how best to carry it out. If your firm has any questions about how best to implement a marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to us!