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in-house marketing vs. agency

The Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing vs. Agency

The age-old debate of using in-house marketing vs. an agency is still being discussed because marketing is ever evolving.  Take a look at how COVID-19 has changed the way businesses are marketing now. Brick and mortar businesses are finding the value of online marketing and are ramping up their marketing efforts to improve traffic to their business. There are many pros and cons to both that may be helpful in scaling or growing your business.  Listed below are just a few things to think about before making that difficult decision.

#1 – Resources

Your customers need to know that you are available and are still providing the services or products they need to maintain their business.  While businesses may not be functioning as usual, many are working remotely and are focusing more on their online communications.  Let your customers know how to reach you and advise them of the services or products that may have changed due to the complications of the pandemic.

#2 – Mastered Skillset

It is possible to find well-rounded marketing employees when developing an in-house marketing team, but it does indeed take a team to have mastered skillsets.  Not all start-up businesses have a marketing budget or enough revenue to hire a full-service team so it makes sense to outsource certain pieces, or all of their marketing to an agency.  An in-house marketing team in a large-scale business may have the resources for a mastered team but it must be determined if the ROI outweighs the costs.

#3 – Maintaining A Competitive Edge

Marketing is ever evolving and it is important to keep abreast of the trends and technology that keep you ahead of your competition.  It is possible to do this with in-house marketing if the company invests in marketing education, new technology and resources. However, most of the time, unless you have a large enough marketing team, this investment outweighs the Return on Investment (ROI) and it is more cost-effective to outsource the marketing to an agency. 

#4 – Growing or Scaling Your Business

When you have an in-house marketing team, if you want to grow or scale your business you will need to either hire or let go of employees.  The hiring of new employees is a rather lengthy process, between interviewing and training. For example, say your competitor decides to launch a new product or a new feature to enhance their existing product.  How quickly would you need to ramp up your marketing efforts?  Rather quickly.  With an in-house marketing team, it may not be quick enough to get you to where you need to be in time to beat your competition. However, an agency already has the staff in place to take on new work or scale it without you losing an employee.  In-house marketing may make more sense when your business is in a place to maintain a dedicated marketing team. There are many pros and cons to in-house marketing vs. agency.

#5 – Communication and Networking

Communication and networking are extremely important in marketing, whether you have an in-house marketing team or if your company confers with an agency.  An in-house marketing team, depending on the size, may have some limitations brainstorming with other peers in their field.  However, when a business has partnered with an agency, that business would have both employees who are knowledgeable about business operations and an outsourced marketing team that has the ability to brainstorm marketing ideas. Communication with an agency is essential to understanding the company mission, branding and goals.

#6 – Cost

Cost is a major factor when hiring an in-house marketing team or outsourcing it.  The pro for a small start-up is that they can manage and closely monitor their own marketing content and brand.  However, as that small business grows, it will need to hire more employees or think about outsourcing.  When considering an in-house team, a business needs to think about employee turnover, factor in the costs of replacing that employee, the additional training and the effect it has on other staff members, all which can cost thousands of dollars. When everything is outsourced, that cost goes away and you just pay your retainer or monthly fee.

There are several situations to consider when planning an in-house team or choosing an agency.  Both can work well depending on your business’s challenges and goals. Some businesses choose both so that they have control over content, branding and other marketing deliverables while others choose to outsource everything and keep a very open communication flow with an agency.  Strategic Marketing is a full-service agency that will help you with your marketing planning or what will work best for your budget and your overall company mission.  Let us help you decide. Contact us at or at 561-688-8155.