When it comes to promotion, companies can choose between in-house professional advisors or marketing agencies. This is a critical decision for business owners and stakeholders. Which is right for your business? There are compelling reasons for each choice and the decision your company makes depends on your situation.
In-house marketing means that the marketing activities of a company are handled by employees of the company. One or only a few external individuals or organizations are involved in the marketing processes. An internal marketing team develops, manages, and maintains your marketing strategy. This approach is more common among small to medium-sized companies because marketing efforts can be managed by a relatively small team.
- Brand familiarity: An internal marketing team is fully immersed in your brand and uses this knowledge to inform all marketing decisions.
- Customer insight: Better brand familiarity can translate into better customer insight. An in-house team knows your customer's pain points and what messaging resonates with them.
- Capabilities: An in-house team has a realistic assessment of what your business is capable of in relation to marketing and product development. They can leverage different teams in your organization to enhance marketing activities.
- Accessibility: As they are often located within the company building, your in-house team is easily accessible during company working hours. No need to call or email.
- Control: An in-house team allows for complete control over the execution of your marketing strategy. They know what to design and when to design. You'll have total oversight over what is happening.
- Belief in the mission: Ideally you'll be working with people who truly believe in your company and your mission.
- Engagement: Your employees are likely to go above and beyond to help your business succeed, working extra hours and solving difficult problems.
- Talent cultivation: You can cultivate your own all-star team, building a powerful group organically.
- Talent recruitment takes time and effort. The average time to hire for a position is approximately 42 days. You need to create and outline a listing, work to attract applicants and schedule/undertake interviews. It's a massive effort for your business to build and maintain an internal marketing team.
- Employee costs: An in-house team involves salaries, taxes, insurance, retirement plans, and even equipment. The average marketing salary in Canada is $52,414 per year or $26.88 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $37,500 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $80,000. For small-to-midsize companies, an in-house marketing team is an enormous investment.
- Software expenses: Besides the cost of hiring and maintaining an in-house marketing team, you also have marketing software expenses.
- Scalability: It's harder for in-house marketing teams to scale than agency teams.
- Employee turnover becomes a negative as the loss of team members can slow your marketing efforts, putting pressure on remaining staff.
Marketing agencies act as a substitute for an in-house team, serving the same labour function but outside of your organization. These companies have the setup, strategies and experience required to effectively create, plan, and promote your business through marketing and advertising. They offer a broad, consultative approach to help develop a marketing strategy. Some make recommendations on marketing tactics, some offer communications services and some provide both. Once a solid relationship between your company and the agency is built, the agency takes on the marketing projects for you. Online marketing agencies strategize techniques and manage campaigns to increase a company's visibility online. These agencies assist companies with search engine marketing (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), content marketing, web design, email marketing, social media management/marketing, data and analytics solutions and more.
- Expertise: Partnering with an agency allows you to choose from the most experienced companies in the industry, including those with a focus on your preferred strategy. They likely have a high level of competence and expertise in their domain.
- Capabilities: Marketing agencies come with skills that in-house teams can't match, ranging from accessing beta features in Google Ads to data on effective tactics or strategies.
- Software and tools: Agencies have access to marketing tools and software that make measuring and tracking marketing campaigns easier. They use artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to track your marketing ROI and analyze your marketing strategies to find ways to improve your campaigns.
- Diverse specialties: Agencies offer access to team members that specialize in social media, email, paid advertising, conversion rate optimization (CRO), SEO, web design, copywriting and more. This level and degree of specialization let your business take advantage of multiple marketing channels.
- Flexibility: Agencies give you flexibility with your strategy, so if social media isn't working you can easily change to something else.
- Scalability: An agency can scale quickly to your business. When scaling your growth, you can simply double down on what's already working with your agency. Whether you're looking to increase your paid advertising efforts or improve your presence on social media networks, an agency can meet your needs.
- Cost: Agency pricing depends upon your company's needs. The cost to hire a digital marketing agency can range from as low as $2,000 a month to $20,000 a month depending on the pricing package, the service and length of the contract. You choose how much you wish to invest.
- Dedicated partner: An agency understands that if they don't deliver results, you won't retain them. The incentive to succeed is aligned and there is an urgency to make things happen.
- Strategic insight: An agency provides an outside perspective, helping you see problems in a new way and finding ways to grow your business.
- Creative thinking: The creative team members and dynamic energy of an agency enable them to tackle projects with ease and revitalize recurring projects with new ideas. They have multiple client accounts that they work with daily. Their minds are fresh and always moving and they're exposed to a wide variety of businesses and industries.
- Knowledgeable: Marketing agencies are familiar with industry standards as well as advertising and marketing rules/regulations that govern the process of effectively sending out ads and commercials.
- Location: Since you can hire an agency from anywhere in the world, location and the resulting time zone differences can become a problem when aligning schedules.
- Multiple clients: Agencies work with various businesses making it difficult to give their full time and attention to your projects. Choose a reputable agency, establish a connection and encourage open communication to counteract the possibility of feeling neglected.
- Control: Agencies work best with some freedom. Because they see projects through from start to finish, it can cut down on your connection to and input in the end product. Though they require your company to sign off on strategy and campaign decisions, trusting your agency and giving up some creative control is necessary.
- Familiarity with your brand: An agency won't initially be aware of your brand and intended audience. It will take time for them to become familiar with your goals. Hiring a reputable agency should ensure a willingness and ability to accomplish this quickly.
- Research and pitching need to be done to find an agency that works best for your timeline and goals.
Which is best for your business, an in-house marketing team or a marketing agency?
Whether you go in-house or hire an agency comes down to your individual situation. The decision depends upon the amount of money you wish to spend, what you want to achieve (your corporate goals, plans and timeline) and your business' unique needs. Consider all the variables, needs, pros and cons. The best route forward may be a combination of some in-house hires supplemented with a digital marketing agency. Open communication with your existing in-house team, establishing their skill sets, and outsourcing when you need fresh ideas and/or specialized skills is a great outlook to have when deciding between in-house and agency marketing.
Need help with your marketing strategies? Call us at (403) 456-0072 or email [email protected]. Allow us to be your very own marketing department! Connect with our tightly-knit team of knowledgeable digital-first consultants, each eager to help your business grow. Contact us today.