The right marketing strategy can grow your business leaps and bounds, but it can be difficult to decide how to get the right strategy. All businesses struggle at some point with the in-house marketing vs agency debate. There’s only so much time and budget to go around, so where is it best to spend? And why?
Handing the marketing torch off to another business can be tough, and it’s not right for everyone. Here’s how you can solve your own in-house marketing vs agency dilemma.
4 Questions To Ask To Choose Between In-House Marketing Vs Agency
1. What Skills Do I Have?
One of the biggest factors weighing on the in-house marketing vs agency debate is what skills are required. Marketing requires a range of expertise to be successful, and any holes will create holes in your campaign. Take an inventory of your teams’ skills or decide who you would have to add to make a successful in-house marketing team. How much knowledge and experience would each new person need? Would it be feasible to hire them?
Does your team have the following skills?
- Marketing strategy
- Content strategy
- Digital advertising management
- Graphic design
- HTML, CSS and web design
- SEO and keyword analysis
- Social media management
Remember that the depth of experience makes a difference. A large social following doesn’t qualify a staff person to organize a Facebook advertising strategy. A college marketing class doesn’t translate the experience required of a marketing strategist. Your team should have real-world marketing experience and demonstrative success, or you should choose an agency that has it.
2. What Is My Budget?
Budgeting is usually the decisive factor in the in-house marketing vs agency debate. A detailed budget evaluation can show what you can really afford and where your money is best spent. If you want to hire an in-house team, how many people could you bring on board? Consider the costs of salary as well as healthcare, taxes, retirement and other benefits.
Consider seasonality and year-to-year shifts in your business as well. Do you want to be able to grow or shrink your marketing budget from year to year or month to month, or would you prefer a constant budget? The right agency can give you flexibility with your budget, while your in-house staff is a fixed expense.
3. What Resources Do I Have?
In the in-house marketing vs agency debate, consider what equipment, furniture, space, hardware and software you would need to support an in-house team. Do you already have these resources available? If so, you might benefit from an in-house team. If it would require substantial investment, your budget is better spent with an agency that already has this foundation.
Do you have the following?
- Fiber internet
- Office space
- Responsive computers and smartphones
- Microsoft suite or comparable tools
- Sales and marketing automation software
- Reporting software
- SEO analysis software
- Web management framework
- Graphic design software
- Cloud storage
- Cyber security software
- Stock photo subscription and/or high-quality camera
4. How Much Control Do I Need?
When choosing between in-house marketing vs agency, many businesses are reluctant to surrender control. Your marketing messages show your business to the world and reach your customers, so it’s imperative that they are accurate, effective, and correct.
It is easy to communicate with an in-house team and hold them accountable. It’s also easy to maintain continuity between different departments. However, in-house teams are also susceptible to groupthink and recycled ideas. An in-house team is less likely to refuse an idea from senior management, even if they know it won’t be successful.
Since they’re only accountable to the results of the campaign, an outside agency will recognize and veto bad ideas, and present a solution that will close more sales. With a comfortable level of communication, you can also maintain control over your campaign messaging and deliverables. You maintain the power to accept or reject an idea without the need to manage each task.
Consider all these factors carefully when deciding between in-house marketing vs agency. If you can’t reach one conclusion, you might benefit from keeping some tasks in-house and outsourcing others to an agency. This can help you fill in noticeable gaps in your marketing strategy without the need to restructure your current team.