In-house vs outsourced marketing: which to pick?

The value of video for your business.

As Marketing Director of Aphra, weighing up the pros and cons of in-house vs outsourced marketing is a conversation I’ve had with potential clients on multiple occasions. In fact, if I got a pound for every time I’ve been asked ‘Why is outsourcing your marketing beneficial when I can hire someone in-house?’, I’m not sure I’d need to run a marketing agency anymore.

For many, it is a difficult choice – especially when it may appear on the surface as though the in-house option would provide greater value for money when you compare the cost of each route with the amount of time you get back for this. However, it’s not always the most financially savvy option and, in some cases, can be both detrimental to the business and a tremendous operational headache. 

When deciding between in-house vs outsourced marketing, it is important for businesses to adopt a bigger picture mindset when weighing up this decision and how it might affect their strategy and development. 

How to set achievable goals

Access to multiple services and skills

Outsourcing your marketing can allow you to pay one fee on a flexible or retainer basis that provides you with all the skills and services you need to help your business grow. Instead of having to hire someone who can do everything (but probably not effectively, as is often the case), or an entire marketing team with every skillset (which is a very costly expense, especially if you don’t need them 100% of the time), you can instead pick and choose what you’re looking for from an outsourced marketing agency according to the priorities of your business. 

For example, one month you might want to focus on website development, while the next you may be interested in running a paid advertising campaign, but also find yourself in need of some photography and videography as part of an offline marketing campaign. It might be that you infrequently need a brochure creating or some copywriting doing. Whatever it is, a marketing agency can provide on-demand support to suit your agenda, guiding you on what makes most sense. 

Fully trained and managed on your behalf

When using a marketing agency, you don’t need to worry about spending time and money hiring the right people. You can focus on your day-to-day job without worrying if you’ve got the best people for your needs. As someone who runs an integrated marketing agency, I can say wholeheartedly that we put a lot of effort into ensuring we’ve hired the very best people to work with our clients.

In addition, we also work hard to train them and manage their development so that you don’t have to. It is important that our team remain up to date with the latest trends and best practices, and that we always have access to the best marketing tools and software, without this cost being incurred to the client.

We also ensure that if our team are ill for whatever reason, we’ll be able to cover their skillset with the rest of our team or reputable network of freelance contacts to ensure your projects aren’t delayed or affected. As such, you can find yourself with a lot more flexibility and significantly less stress.

Leading experts, but without the high salary 

When people are looking into the option of marketing consultancy in particular, they often argue that they could just hire a marketing director in-house. However, a marketing director can command a salary of anything from £100,000 upwards – and that’s without all the various other benefits included in their package. 

With outsourced marketing consultancy, you can get that same expert knowledge and insight but without the huge overhead, meaning you can instead invest that money into implementing the advice and guidance that the consultant gives, which will in turn help your business grow quicker.

There may come a point where you need a marketing director to lead your business in-house, especially as you get bigger. But until that point, you’ll find a marketing consultant is a stepping-stone towards this at a more affordable cost.

Unbiased opinions with an overview of multiple businesses

Another benefit of using an integrated marketing agency is the fact that you can tap into a pool of experts who spend their lives providing expert marketing advice and insight into businesses in a range of industries. This means that their finger is very much on the pulse. Instead of having their nose too close to the fire, they’re able to demonstrate an understanding of what a myriad of businesses like yours are doing and can therefore provide objective insight into how to improve. 

When using a marketing consultant or marketing agency, you will also find they are less biased by office politics or led by the general pull of the business. As such, they can provide you with advice on where choices you’re making may actually not be in the best interests of the business, and instead skewed by certain internal influencing factors. This can help you take your business in the right direction and effectively ‘see the wood for the trees’ in the operational decisions you make.

Opting for in-house marketing

That all being said, there are occasions in which in-house marketing is the right avenue for a business to pursue. If you have a capable team with the right skills, attitude and knowledge, and they have enough responsibility to warrant a full-time package, then there are benefits that they will bring.

An in-house team will be immersed in the business culture and will be incredibly familiar with the brand’s vision, goals and mission. They will have a nuanced understanding of the team and relationships, so can navigate this to help get decisions agreed, and to direct the business adeptly and with ease. They will also understand the organisation’s processes and procedures, recognising priorities.

In many businesses, for example those with big social media followings or e-commerce functionality, an in-house marketing team will be integral to the day-to-day running of the business. They can ensure that content is being created that is of the moment – and can be quicker in doing this, as they’re always on site. They will be much better at getting pictures of internal events as they happen, which can help when bolstering communications of business activities.  

It should be noted that having an in-house marketing team is an inflexible and expensive cost, so it is one that you need to ensure is being managed effectively. This may mean having a manager in charge of any junior team members, and that person will need to understand the role effectively. It is important you ensure they’re always being trained to the highest level so you can get the best ROI from them. If they’re working in an outdated way, this will be prohibitive for you.

A hybrid marketing option

For many businesses that have an in-house marketing team, that’s not to say they won’t also consider the benefits of using an outsourced marketing agency. In many cases, we find that their in-house team is so busy on the day-to-day activities that they still need marketing experts to come in and provide the holistic, bigger-picture strategic thinking. 

They may also find that sometimes there are gaps in the skillsets of their in-house team where it doesn’t make sense to hire someone permanently – for example, with graphic design, website development or photography. In these cases, many businesses will opt for a hybrid approach in which they use both in-house marketing and outsourced marketing to help grow their business. 

A hybrid marketing approach can help businesses achieve the best of both worlds, tapping into the strengths of an outsourced marketing team while also ensuring there is always someone on the ground to support the business and guarantee that all events and activities are being recorded and promoted.

Interested in discussing outsourcing your business marketing? Call us on 01206 912914 or e-mail us for a no-obligation chat to learn more: [email protected]