In-House Marketing Versus Outsourcing

April 2, 2021 | Outsourced Marketing


By Marilyn Heywood Paige

Should you hire an internal team or outsource your marketing to an agency? That’s the question many SMBs face, especially now in a post-COVID world with tighter budgets and hybrid work environments. There is no wrong answer to this question, but there are some key points you don’t want to miss in your deliberations.
There are pros and cons to in-house marketing teams and outsourced marketing firms. I explain them below so you can decide which will work best for your organization. 

In-house Marketing Department

Pro: Subject Matter Expertise

Using in-house talent has several advantages, mainly because of subject matter expertise. The internal team will always know more about your industry and the nuances of your business than an outsider will. 
For some specialized and technical industries, such as biotech, medical device, and aerospace, insider understanding is critical. For other verticals, such as retail, hospitality, and foodservice, the subject is less demanding and, therefore, more easily outsourced.


Con: Limited Skill Sets

Most organizations are not in the business of sales and marketing. Those functions are necessary to keep the revenue flowing in. Typically, the strongest and most diverse employee skills are related to the product or service the company offers. Add to this that marketing is complex, constantly changing, and requires specialized proficiencies. Many organizations don’t have the knowledge and marketing expertise needed to execute effective campaigns.


Outsourced Marketing firm

Pro: Get More Skills & Experience

Are you wondering what are the advantages of outsourcing? If so, here is a big one. Outsourcing your marketing to an agency is beneficial when you have just one or two people to run your efforts. Strategic marketing requires many capabilities and deep experience to do right, so unless you have a lot of skilled marketers on your bench, you will scramble to get the results you want. Below is a list of the competencies needed to perform strategic integrated marketing campaigns:● Copywriter● Content developer● Social media specialist● SEO specialist● PPC specialist● Graphic designer● Web/UX designer● Video production● Market research specialist● Marketing strategist
It’s an extensive inventory and it can change as your needs shift and marketing technologies evolve. Agencies charge an hourly or project rate that includes using multiple people on your job. 


Con: Hard To Get The Right Fit

Are you now wondering, “What are some disadvantages of outsourcing?” One big disadvantage is how much time it takes to find the right outsourced solution. Not every agency is a fit for your brand. The agency has to understand your brand, goals, and culture. Few will fit hand-in-glove with your team. There has to be a good mesh between your team and theirs for the partnership to produce results. You may endure some costly crashes before finding the right agency for you. 

Costs Of Outsourcing Marketing

The cost of outsourcing your marketing varies based on your goals, needs, and how much of the work your internal team can do. Below, I have outlined additional considerations for either scenario.

To Hire Internally

Have A Strategy And Plan

If you don’t have a strategy and a plan in place ahead of hiring your marketing team, you will waste time and money. Hire the right people to execute the right plan and save yourself frustration and loss of ROI. 

Identify The Skill Sets Required

If your plan includes video and SEO, you’ll need to hire people with those abilities. Take stock of your strategic plan and be clear on what knowledge and experience team members need to execute it successfully. 

Evaluate Abilities

Once you know the kinds of specialists you need, do you know how to evaluate their abilities? It’s not enough to ask in an interview, “Do you know SEO?” You need the means to appraise how well they can perform SEO tasks. If you can’t tell the difference between great copywriting and mediocre content, you will hire poorly and reap the losses. 

Develop Measurement Mechanisms

Develop KPIs and regular reporting mechanisms to be sure your people are achieving their objectives. If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t perform. 


To Outsource to an Agency

Communicate Your Goals

You must know your targets and be able to communicate them to the agency. If you don’t have concrete objectives, you won’t have the means to evaluate the agency’s performance and will never be happy with any agency.

Define Your Budget

When you shop for a car, you know whether your budget can get you in a Corolla or a Cadillac. It’s the same with marketing. Know your budget before you engage an agency. The solutions they tailor to you will depend on your funds, so be realistic about what you have to spend.

Choose One Or Two Decision Makers

Marketing by committee doesn’t work. Too many opinions weighing in means decision making will be painful, lengthy, and likely result in bad choices. Make one or two people responsible for decisions and then let them get on with it. 

Have A Strategy And Plan

Establish your marketing strategy and plan or hire an agency that specializes in developing them. Without those two key foundational items, your efforts are likely to fail regardless of who handles the initiative. 
Whether you choose to handle your marketing in-house or outsource it, have a written strategy, plan, goals, and budget. Just getting these things in place will put you miles ahead of the curve in creating successful marketing campaigns. 
Still not sure what to do? Come to our webinar on Tuesday, April 13th at 10 am mountain time. You can register here. Or contact us to discuss your business goals and marketing needs. 

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