As a business professional, you may wonder how important your company’s marketing strategy is. What does marketing actually involve? Can it really help our business? What’s the difference between handling marketing in-house versus through an agency?
In the following article, we’ll identify the types of marketing service providers and outline the benefits and drawbacks of each so that you can determine which method will work best for your business.
Types of Marketing
There are two main ways to market a business: in-house or with an external agency. In-house marketing refers to when there’s a marketing team within your organization that handles all the necessary advertising, design, etc. that you need. A marketing agency, on the other hand, is an external team of professionals who can be hired to provide some marketing services, like social media content creation or analytic reporting. Some businesses or organizations also use a combination of in-house and agency marketing to streamline and maximize marketing efforts.
With in-house marketing, a team of company employees handles all of your company’s marketing needs. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of using in-house marketing.
Employees who are part of your business or organization are more likely to have a strong understanding of company culture, so it’s easier for them to reflect brand values in their work and to keep organizational goals in mind while conducting marketing activities. Although agencies are able to do this to an extent, the advantage of in-house employees is that they’re more immersed in the day-to-day business so they have more institutional knowledge. In-house capabilities can range from content creation and email marketing to SEO development, depending on the team members’ understanding of marketing principles and tactics.
One other benefit of in-house marketing is that your business is the main focus. You can retrieve your own data, which will create a close understanding of what is happening with your target audience. But, unless your internal team has a strong understanding of analytics, you may miss out on or not know how to fully interpret valuable data.
With in-house marketing, you also have total control over the message you’re putting into the world. You will likely be able to review and approve content when working with an agency, but with in-house marketing, you draft the copy, pick the colors, and choose the font. So, you have total control every step of the way and are able to make changes at any point. Additionally, because you’re doing all the work
yourself, you become educated in what each type of marketing process entails.
One factor to consider when thinking about in-house marketing is cost. For a large corporation, in-house marketing might be more economical since the team is focused solely on marketing. Staff have the education and know-how to complete a variety of tasks. But, that means the company will have more employees who require salaries and benefits. The cost might be cheaper for a small business with fewer employees, but the team’s capabilities will be more limited. You also may need to supplement your in-house team with some contractors to provide specific marketing services, which will add to your overall marketing costs. Additionally, in-house team members likely take on other tasks within a company, so while they’re working on marketing efforts, they’re also focused on other duties. Prior to deciding what marketing services your business requires, consider your company size and what marketing tasks you’ll need to manage.
Another factor to think about is the time involved. When you have to split your internal resources to complete all of the necessary duties for your company, time spent marketing may take away from your capacity to work on other necessary tasks. It may also take longer to complete a project in-house as you likely have fewer team members available to make the tasks a priority.
Marketing agencies consist of teams of experts in the marketing field who have a background in the industry as well as the knowledge to meet your needs. There are benefits and drawbacks to using a marketing agency; we’ve listed a few below.
Working with a digital marketing agency has a multitude of benefits, but the greatest is having a diverse skill set easily accessible to your company. While an in-house team may have an expert in a particular subset of marketing, agencies consist of well-rounded teams of experts that can efficiently take on a wide range of marketing tasks.
On top of high-quality work, collaborating with an agency is time-efficient since the staff has likely handled similar projects for other clients. They’re also more adept at managing projects of various sizes and complexity that your internal team may be overwhelmed by.
Additionally, agency staff will bring a different, unbiased perspective to your marketing. An agency can notice problems in a plan and innovate solutions that internal staff may not notice or know to look for.
As far as cost is concerned, the reality is that you’re only paying for the service(s) an agency provides. By paying for each service, you don’t need to worry about other company costs associated with in-house employees like salaries, benefits, additional education, etc. So, agency work may be more cost-effective than staffing an entire in-house team. Agencies often also have broader access to marketing programs, industry research, etc., so hiring an outside team prevents your company from spending extra funds for its own access to accounts, subscriptions, and databases.
In addition to time and cost savings, there are employee benefits to working with an agency. An external marketing provider that handles key marketing responsibilities for you may prevent staff from getting burnt out and becoming creatively stagnant. Agencies are also aware of the ebbs and flows of marketing trends, so they can shape their recommendations/work with industry data and trends that an internal team may not know about. Adding extra help can also decrease employees’ stress because it opens up time and energy for them to work on other projects.
Lastly, agency work allows for experience across many industries. You can learn tips and tricks from the agency, particularly a foundational understanding of marketing processes and best practices in certain fields. Because agencies are full of creatives, they bounce ideas off each other to provide you with the best services possible. Innovation is a key factor in marketing.
While agencies will provide high-quality work, they share their attention with other clients. So, you may experience longer turnaround periods and a busier schedule. You may also need to allow more time for communication between your team and theirs.
Which Marketing Set-Up Works Better for You?
An in-house team is ideal for straightforward projects that your company can manage without fear of being overwhelmed. But, the team members likely have other roles in the company and will not always be able to complete expert-level work. Hiring a digital marketing agency is best for projects that rely on creating a strategy. If you’re confident that your team has an in-depth knowledge of all marketing services and can handle all marketing needs in a professional and timely manner, then an in-house marketing team may work for you. If you’re concerned about work quality, capacity, or technical ability, looking to an agency for help is the better option for your company.
When considering how you want to move forward with your marketing efforts and strategy, note your company’s strengths and weaknesses, identify your goals and how you’d like to monitor them, and determine your budget costs. Finding an agency you trust is vital if you decide to work with a digital marketing agency. Look at completed projects, testimonials, and even their social media to get a sense of an agency’s work.
If you’re actively looking for a marketing agency to support your organization, click here to get an understanding of our work, and contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your marketing goals!