Hiring In-House vs Appointing a Marketing Agency
With 2022 now labelled as the year for brands to double down on digital, investing in a reliable marketing resource is more important than ever – especially if you want to increase your market share.
Last year we saw a record ad spending, driven mainly by digital media and social channels. After reaping the benefits, we anticipate that UK businesses will invest further into their digital marketing strategy as we gradually emerge from the two-year pandemic. The question now plaguing many business owners’ minds is whether to invest in an in-house marketing resource or opt for a digital marketing agency.
As a digital marketing agency, it’s hardly surprising that we’d encourage the latter. However, having access to an unbiased and impartial guide on the pros and cons of both options is essential to making an informed decision.
So, biases aside and research at the ready, here are the top advantages and drawbacks of hiring an external agency versus an in-house marketing manager:
As suggested by the name, ‘in-house’ marketing refers to any marketing carried out by company employees using internal resources and assets. Work is rarely outsourced to a third party, with the marketing team expected to focus their attention purely on the business’s marketing capabilities.
There are many advantages to hiring a marketing person in-house. First, they will have intimate, first-hand knowledge of your brand, where it stands in the market and its strength and weaknesses. Although good marketing agencies take the time to do a thorough competitor analysis, understand and familiarise themselves with a company’s messaging, aesthetic and tone of voice tone, this process doesn’t happen overnight. An external team will need to spend time immersing themselves in your brand before being able to confidently deliver new content.
It’s no secret that marketing agencies work with multiple clients at a time, usually covering various industries across the public and private sectors. Good marketing agencies will usually assign a client to a dedicated account manager with a team of diverse talents and skills. However, the reality is that they don’t have the time or resources to spend every hour of their working week focusing purely on your business. While the team will still deliver on agreed objectives, they’re probably doing exactly the same for at least two other clients during the same week. An in-house marketer will be able to dedicate all their attention to your business, five days a week.
Euphemisms and tiptoeing aside, marketing is expensive. So, whether you’re building an in-house team or approaching an agency, you will have to be prepared to dedicate a decent sum of money to get the results you desire.
According to a March 2021 survey, the average cost for digital marketing was around £685 per day, with social media and website building often being charged as separate chargeable services.
A 5-day monthly retainer can therefore end up costing your business over £41,000 a year. In comparison, the average salary of a Marketing Manager in the UK sits at £33,910 as of March this year.
If you’re a relatively small business with no plans to expand your clientele, hiring an in-house Marketing Manager may be the most sensible option, particularly if you’re a B2B business. However, if you’re hoping to drastically increase lead generation or sales and grow your online presence, relying on a single Marketing Manager without a digital team will be demanding.
Hiring a marketing agency involves handing over any and all marketing-related tasks to a team of external experts who use their own tools and resources to achieve agreed-upon objectives. In most cases, your main point of contact will be an Account Manager- usually supported by a diverse team of experts specialising in different areas of digital marketing.
One of the unique benefits of hiring an external digital marketing team is just that- you’re hiring a team. A marketing agency is comprised of a mixture of diverse individuals, each with experience in a different field. This can include, and is not limited to; social media, email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), website design, copywriting, press releases, etc. Although an in-house marketer is likely to have experience in a few of these fields, it’s highly doubtful that this experience will span across years in the industry. The knowledge and experience of a team with decades of marketing experience between them is hard to replicate when hiring an individual in-house.
Software and Tools
Marketing agencies use a wide range of tools to deliver on marketing objectives, from SEO programmes to freelance services. Opting for an in-house marketing manager may be a cheaper alternative, but you’re probably also going to have to fork out for your own set of marketing tools. Although platforms like SocialPilot and Envato Elements won’t cost an arm and a leg, they are just two tools in the ‘marketer’s toolkit.’ PR software, keyword and analytical programs can be expensive. And any good agency will have these at their fingertips, not to mention experience in CRM’s such as Monday and HubSpot, and the ability to build websites on WordPress and WebFlow.
If you’re a small business hoping to dramatically increase your online presence, hiring an agency with a large team of diverse skillsets is worth the extra cost. Marketing agencies will be able to utilise their extensive range of resources and industry experience to achieve goals that an individual in-house marketer might struggle to replicate. Each month, the client will receive a report of all the work carried out, website, SEO, social media and campaign analytical results, goals met, and objectives for the month ahead.
‘’Having worked as a Marketing Manager in-house and with a marketing agency. I can confidently say there is a stark contrast. Working in-house, I relished the time with the team. I learnt every aspect of the company from simply sitting in the office and listening to conversions. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of a business from an agency perspective, which explains why lead times are sometimes longer.
Strategy and teamwork are EVERYTHING at a marketing agency. Help and expertise are never far away, and each project has input from at least four specialist marketers. While working in-house, there is more pressure to push out content and do ad-hoc tasks that kind of fall under the marketing umbrella. Sometimes something lands on your desk in the morning, and they want it online by the afternoon. How much thought can you put into that? Just remember, great digital marketing campaigns take time and planning.’’
– Rebecca Adlington, Account Manager at TWI
Marketing agencies and in-house marketing don’t always have to be at odds with one another; you can still get the best of both worlds without sacrificing more of your annual budget. Many agencies are beginning to incorporate training into their list of services, offering to provide ‘marketing bootcamps’ to in-house teams with limited resources. A marketing agency can provide unique insights into delivering a seamless marketing strategy, including an initial timeline and content guide. Whether this is carried out on a monthly retainer or as a one-off, training sessions can be a valuable use of time and money for businesses looking to boost their in-house marketing capabilities.
Impartial guides aside, no one knows your business as well as you do. So, if you’re looking for advice on the best way to meet your marketing goals in 2022, contact us today and we’ll talk through your options.