Digital Marketing: The Pros and Cons of In-house vs. Agency


As someone involved in your business’s marketing efforts, you know that digital marketing – in some capacity –  is essential to reaching your target audiences. And while digital marketing is both innovative and progressive when compared to traditional tactics, that also means it’s ever-evolving.

So, how do you not only keep up with its dynamic nature, but also manage to do so successfully in order to achieve your goals? It takes a village, really. Sure, that saying usually relates to raising children. But for some of us, marketing is our baby. And to help pave that path of success, many businesses take one of two routes: using in-house resources or hiring an outside agency.

Let’s talk about a few pros and cons of each:

  1. Level of expertise
    • In-house resource(s): Everything under the digital marketing umbrella is far too complex for a team of several people to handle, let alone one person. With that said, typically, an internal team can either be really good at one thing – say, ad design or content creation – or mediocre at a lot of things. But maybe they’re still missing a skillset you need. That’s where it could make sense to hire an internal specialist. However, this approach can be pricey and time-intensive. There’s often the question of continuity as well, what happens if this person leaves in 6 months?
    • Outside agency: For a more holistic approach, agencies can usually deliver a deeper knowledge across many tactics and platforms. Full-service agencies provide expertise in SEO, PPC, social, email marketing, web optimization and others. And with the vast skill sets, collective wisdom, and outside perspectives an agency offers, you can tap into their resources when needed, and expect great value in return, too.
  2. Scalability
    • In-house resource(s): As your budget increases and decreases, that means activities and campaigns can either ramp up quickly or go by the wayside. A pro here is that, when you are able to put your foot on the gas after a lull, your internal team should know exactly where their priorities lie – and can get moving quickly. With this approach, there’s ideally very little downtime for your team, and lots more efficiency.
    • Outside agency: This one may be a given. But using a go-to agency of record can help you scale when you need it most – without the internal hiring costs. Sure, the initial relationship-building phase can take a bit of time. They’ll want to know the ins and outs of your business in order to deliver the best services. But the pro lies in eventually having a trusted partner that you can rely on when your budget allows – making for nimbler internal marketing operations.
  3. Industry education
    • In-house resource(s): It’s not uncommon for in-house marketers to put “keeping up with marketing industry trends and news” as last thing on their to-do list. And rightfully so. They can so busy and/or backlogged with daily tasks that it becomes a burden instead of a routine task – which makes it even more challenging when these trends are always changing, growing, and evolving.
    • Outside agency: Digital marketing agencies regularly follow – and seek out – the latest trends, tools, technologies, and strategies. And using this knowledge, their teams are able to proactively dedicate the time and capacity to dedicate to investigating, testing, and finding new areas to solve client challenges, which really amplifies your campaigns, bringing in the revenue and leads you want.  Plus an inherent part of working at an agency is that they see a wide variety of business ideas, models and practices which can often be applied to other businesses in a way an in-house resource might never come across.


Assess what works best for your business needs

There are definite benefits to either route you take; however, it all depends on your specific goals, timelines, and of course, budget. With that being said, it never hurts to give something new a try. An example we like to reference: After losing their in-house PPC resource, an ecommerce company came to us in October, frantic to gear up for the holidays. They gave us a three-month test before deciding to use in-house resources or our team. We increased their YOY holiday sales by 156%, and have since added other services.

 

Interested in learning more about how you could benefit from outsourcing your digital marketing services to an agency? Get in touch .