Mad Marketer Explores Agency vs. In-House

December 23, 2016

When it comes to marketing, one of the key decisions every company has to make is whether or not to outsource this important area or bring it in-house. Companies with large budgets that are able to support their own departments may not even consider the agency approach, while smaller companies have no choice but to outsource. For those in between, the mad marketer examines how the differences fall.

A recent Marketing Land post breaks down the details. The first area to examine is the diversity of skills. While you may have a great in-house marketing team, do they have all the necessary skills to meet the needs of today’s market? If everyone is over the age of 40, for instance, do they have the outlook into digital and social that you need to connect with your customers?

Likewise, the digital marketer offered through the agency may only have one particular set of skills – setting up a paid search campaign, or driving social media success. The complexities involved in just the online focus make it very difficult for any one person to be the expert. Therefore, it makes sense to hire the individual with skills in that one particular area to make up your shortfall.

It’s also tough to keep your marketing diversified if you rely solely on the in-house team. You can get stuck with one channel that delivers mediocre results and no way to climb out of the hole. This is where a quality agency can help fill the gap, a key focus for the mad marketer. With skillsets limited on your in-house staff, it can be costly to hire enough people to completely round out the team. An agency with a diverse set of skills can be a much more viable option.

Turnover is another consideration. Within the in-house structure, it’s not uncommon for the individual marketer to be focused on the same activities day in, day out. That makes for very boring interactions. These individuals tend to switch jobs about every three years. The agency is aligned a little better for these creative types as they get to work on several different types of companies and are likely to be less bored. This lower turnover rate may make the agency more attractive. For the larger operation, however, this may not be a big problem and keeping it in-house still makes more sense.

Finally, agencies sometimes have the upper hand when it comes to working with vendors, like Google and local media outlets. The agency often manages millions of dollars for their clients and these providers are invested in their success. When using an outside agency, companies get access to those perks as well. But if you’re Gatorade or Nike, you can certainly garner that attention on your own. (Interestingly, these big brands also use outside agencies.)

For any mad marketer fan, it may just come down to money. But do your assessment to determine where the money is being spent and how successful these platforms must be in your ROI. If you can’t produce the results on your own, may be time to invest in the agency. 

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