Hire Smart: Agency vs. In-House Marketing

So, you’ve determined that you may need a little extra help with your business’ marketing plan. Whether you’re the business owner wearing the marketing hat, or you have a dedicated internal marketing team, at some point you may realize you may need some additional support. Whether it’s a new or improved website, a boost in your social media presence, or a refresh of your brand, determining whether to bring on a new staff member or outsource from an agency can be both an exciting and daunting process.

You may ask yourself, where in the world do I start? Should I hire someone to join my team or do I outsource help from an agency?

To start, draw the proverbial line down the middle of the page and consider your situation and some key factors: how much time you need, the extent or level of expertise of the project, and of course the biggie, your budget. Like many big decisions, you may begin to ask yourself, “will someone just tell me already?!”

We’ll give you the bad news first. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. What it boils down to is the job, the budget, and the business goals of your company. The good news, we’re here to help make that decision a little easier!

Here are the factors we recommend considering when making the decision to either hire a marketing person to your team, or outsourcing work from an agency:

1. Speed
Hiring Internal Staff: Adding a new team member means they are always physically present and accessible to the office and your company’s needs. This means more time can be spent on business development, sales, and building client relations rather than frequent phone calls, emails, and meetings between the business and the marketing agency. With that, however, you must consider the time it takes to go through the hiring process of said person- the interviews, the training, and the daily administrative duties that come with working for the company.
Hiring an Agency: Like finding the right new hire to your team, finding an agency can also take a bit of time. You must consider how long it will take to set up the initial meetings, delegate a contract, and be one of multiple clients. Outsourcing work from an agency does take time, however you do not have to consider the HR factors that come with a new hire. Outsourcing your marketing to an agency allows your projects to quickly begin and minimize the time away from your day-to-day work.

2. Quality and Expertise
Hiring Internal Staff: Hiring an in-house marketing employee allows you the opportunity to have someone who devotes their marketing time exclusively to the company, the brand and the market they know best. While this dedicated focus is great for the brand, it is also not uncommon for employees to experience a sense of tunnel vision when working from the inside. Before you decide to outsource you must also determine the projects that need additional support. What skill set do you possess in-house that will allow you to complete these projects?
Hiring an Agency: When outsourcing an agency, one of the first things you may ask is “Do you have experience in our industry?” While that is ideal, don’t be surprised by the answer “no”. While many marketers may have little or no experience in your industry, what they do have is a wide array of experience and skill sets in the marketing profession. Marketing agencies come with a large pool of skilled professionals in dedicated areas. Although agencies busy themselves with multiple projects and clients at once, one thing that is often true is that amazing results usually come from the collaborations between the company and the agency. Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?”

3. Cost
Hiring Internal Staff: When developing a marketing plan, the question “so how much is this going to cost me” is probably one of the first ones that come to mind. You may think hiring an internal marketing staff might be the best bang for your buck in the long run. Think of it this way, you can rework your marketing plan at any point throughout the year, and you do not have to consider the cost of outsourcing. While this may be true, you must also consider the weekly, monthly, and annual cost of not only the employee, but also the cost associated with the time of other employees working with this team member. If significant time is spent on training and paying for daily administrative work for this employee, your costs will surely increase. Another consideration is the amount of work you will have for this employee over 3,6, and 12 months. As the business needs change, you may not always need a full time resource.
Hiring an Agency: Although getting a quote from a marketing agency may seem like you’re taking a huge chunk out of your business budget, the biggest advantage to working with an agency is your ability to control cost therefore giving you flexibility to spend business dollars most appropriately as the needs of the business change from month to month. You also do not have to worry about paying for the administrative components that come with a direct hire.




The Bottom Line
What’s most important is that you firmly establish your goals and your marketing needs within a plan in order to figure out whom you need to hire. Finding the right agency to fulfill your needs may be the right choice, but depending on the size of your company and your marketing goals, having a full time employee to serve as a liaison between the company and agency might be the best choice. Often, companies need in-house talent to run the show, and outsource an agency to provide expertise and collaborative insight.


IMG_1971Lauren Sweeney, owner of Dotted Line Collaborations, helps companies of all sizes “connect the dots,” by turning marketing strategy or clever ideas into well-executed campaigns that propel action from customers. Learn more by exploring our website or reach out directly to Lauren at lauren@dottedlinecollaborations.com.




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