Do You Use a Marketing Agency?

The Debate Regarding In-House and Out-Sourced Marketing

Pepsi vs. Coke. Chevy vs. Ford. In-house marketing vs. hiring a marketing agency? The rivalry endures as relentlessly as the cola and car wars. There’s debate regarding whether businesses benefit more from hiring a marketing agency to leverage expertise or using in-house talent to ensure full control over their marketing efforts… which should the business owner choose?

Each approach offers benefits. When agencies are brought in, it is to fill a gap or assist the in-house marketing team when they want guidance on a campaign, or if the team is simply too swamped to develop fresh ideas. Agencies have the resources to think big and develop concepts and the right technology to execute on them. When businesses choose to go down the in-house road, marketers often have better access to decision-makers. Many who work in an in-house marketing department say they spend less time trying to reach the right people, and more time actually building relationships with the right ones…thus getting things done internally. These aspects are examples, so let’s explore the various pros and cons to both in-house marketing and external marketing agencies.

In-House Marketing Pros

  • In-House Marketing Teams Understand Their Clients the Best: A “historical knowledge” of both past ideas and client preferences is a valuable asset to a company. Intimate knowledge of the client provides marketing department workers the ability to tie-in to the “happenings” effortlessly. This proves extremely beneficial during brainstorming sessions and when incubating successful strategies.
  • In-House Marketing Teams Have Better Understanding of Their Goals/Sales Objectives: The head of an internal marketing department should have a strong understanding of the company’s marketing goals and objectives, to guide in developing marketing strategies that align with the company’s goals.
  • In-House Marketing Teams Have Control Over Marketing Technology Choices: When marketing is kept in-house, there is a certain level of control. This includes which technologies to implement, such as the marketing automation solution that provides the features you need.

In-House Marketing Cons

  • In-House Marketing Teams Don’t Always Boast the Available Resources: Today’s aggressively evolving marketing landscape requires many brains. An individual who is a genius at writing copy may not be an expert in design, development, analytics or strategy. In other words, one person can’t do it all.
  • In-House Marketing Teams Often Lack the Time to Keep on Top of Marketing Landscape: Choosing and interpreting analytics could prove difficult within an in-house marketing department. Changing trends in marketing technologies is generally not a focus for internal teams. Marketing changes at a breakneck pace, and in-house teams by their nature are more focused on the business and industry they serve. This can result in lack of exposure to other ideas outside of their company or industry. Additionally, they can find themselves lagging on marketing trends and technologies.

Marketing Agency Pros

  • Marketing Agencies are Dedicated to Delivering on Time: Marketing involves a great deal of time, from planning and implantation to tracking and reporting, and agencies definitely do this best. Agencies boast proven processes for increased efficiency. They often get the work done faster than an in-house team.
  • Marketing Agencies Have Access to a Wide Range of Skilled Professional Marketers: Perhaps the biggest reason to consider hiring a marketing agency is for their wealth of knowledge and expertise. Stocked with professional marketing talent, you can be sure they boast the resources to fill your marketing needs.
  • Marketing Agencies are Up-to-Speed on the Best Available Marketing Technology: The marketing departments of smaller businesses often lack automation, or they have a mixed assortment of incompatible marketing technologies. Additionally, marketing departments are often low on the IT department priority list, resulting in a lack of support and guidance. Agencies can provide tools for campaign management, email automation, dynamic content and website personalization, lead scoring and much more.

Marketing Agency Cons

  • Marketing Agencies Don’t Always Have Depth in Subject Matter: It takes time for an agency to learn and understand a business, especially if it doesn’t boast any experience in that industry or niche. An in-house team, lives, breathes and deals with the company’s services and products regularly. This in-depth knowledge is a definite advantage when effectively applied to marketing initiatives.
  • Marketing Agencies Can Find it Difficult to Coordinate and Address Changing Business Goals and Targets: There is risk of a disconnect between what you hope to accomplish with marketing goals and what an agency actually delivers. For a marketing plan to succeed, there must be a clear objective of what you’re trying to accomplish. Effective communication between both parties is essential, as alignment issues could result in a different and unsuitable approach.

Even taking into consideration all the pros and cons, there are a plethora of other factors at play.  The size of the company, available resources and costs, marketing automation implantation and expertise are a few examples. Getting information on the pros and cons is the first step when deciding what’s best for your business needs.