It can be a tough decision to choose between building an in-house marketing team versus outsourcing your marketing to an agency.
Both are popular choices, and they both have their ups and downs.
In order for you to make the best decision for how your business is going to thrive, you need to have a solid understanding of the upside and downside of all the options you have in front of you!
Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of both options
Pros of building an in-house team:
- Close relationship with your marketers
When you hire a marketer, you are hiring someone to communicate very publicly about your business. What they communicate will impact how the public perceive your company, and this will have a direct effect on your bottom line. By having a close relationship with your marketer, you will understand each other better, which will help to deliver a more united message to your prospective clients.
- Face to face relationships cut out on miscommunications
It can be frustrating at the best of times to easily convey our ideas and requests via email, text message, phone call, Skype or teleconference. There is something about being in the same room as one another that will always allow for a much more effective means of communication. Not only will there be less miscommunications, there will also be faster communication. Sharing an office space with someone will always mean a faster response than waiting for someone to reply to an email!
- Your marketing team shares your work place culture.
The culture of your workplace is a dynamic set of values, goals and relationships. When your marketing team are part of the greater workplace as a whole, they will match your values greater. They will develop relationships with your other workers, and they will know first hand that their job is what is helping their colleagues stay employed, reach their goals and support their families. Your business is not just a client, it is the home to their career.
- Your marketers will know your business from an insider’s perspective
This is especially poignant if you utilize content marketing. If your marketers are consistently writing content about your business, and your industry; then being right in the thick of it is the best way that they can find useful stories and information worth sharing. When it comes to developing a content plan, if your business is where they call home, then they are not going to have to ask you so many questions in order to get publications rolling!
- You have a high level of control over the marketing
Depending on how itchy your ‘control fingers’ are, you may want to be very involved with all aspects of your marketing, or you may be trusting of your decisions in hiring and just let them get along with it. With an in house team, you can regularly pop by to check up on details, and your marketers have easier access to you to get confirmation or authorization for work. You are the boss, so you get to set the work load, time allocation, campaign focus and so on. This can be harder to achieve when you are outsourcing.
- Complete transparency of work being completed
One problem with outsourcing your marketing is that you never truly know exactly how much work is being done on your account. You don’t see someone working, you simply believe that they are working on your marketing. When your workers work in house, you can see them day in, day out and know that they are your worker solely dedicated to marketing your brand.
Cons of building an in house team:
- Less flexible with employment options
You are left with hiring someone full time, part-time or casual. A full time employee is a large investment, and you will need to ensure that you have ample work and space for them to be used to their best ability. A part-time employee can be a great option, but you may be hard-pressed keeping your employee long term. They may be happy being part-time for the time being, but down the track they may end up accepting a full time position elsewhere. There are not many professionals who will be happy to remain part-time indefinitely. Casual employees will incur an additional loading in their hourly rate, and they will also have similar problems as the part-time employees. It can be difficult to hold onto staff if you can not provide them with adequate hours for them to live the life they want.
- More strain on your accounts department
With PAYG, Superannuation, Payroll Tax, Work Cover, sick leave, entitlements and so on; there is a lot more administration involved with having employees than there is in having contractors. If you are a business that is narrowly escaping the payroll tax threshold, then adding that one additional employee may even be enough to incur you a dramatic increase in your payroll tax!
- Not as easy to scale the department up and down in size
Occasionally there is going to be a larger workload placed upon our marketing team. You may be launching a very intricate campaign, launching a new product or service, or even just facing seasonal demand changes. When you are using an in house team, you can not easily increase or decrease the size at will. If you want to decrease the size of the team, this means firing someone. Laying workers off is never an enjoyable side of owning a business, and it plays major havoc on the morale and culture of your workforce. If you want to increase the size of your team, this means advertising the position, shortlisting applicants, interviewing, making a decision, and then inducting and training the new employee. This is not a fast process.
- Expertise is limited to the capacity of your employees. The likelihood that you will find one employee who has all the skills and insights needed within your marketing team is rather low. For example, you may end up with someone who is fantastic at creating great content, really understands social media, but completely falls apart when trying to lay out a blog post with HTML, or make other small website changes.
- Can end up more expensive than outsourcing
By the time you add up all the additional costs involved with super, insurance, payroll tax and so on, an employee can become a very expensive investment. Combine this with the time required to bring them up to speed within your particular business, and it is only more expensive again. Combine this with the fact that you will either end up needing multiple employees, or to at least bring in small contracts from outsourcers (for tasks your employee is not specialized in), and you may find yourself paying considerably more than if you were outsourcing.
Pros of outsourcing your Marketing
- An agency has a diverse team with many skill sets
You are not just relying on one worker to be able to get every single task completed as best possible. The agency will have departments, and certain team members who excel at various aspects of marketing.
- Can be more cost-effective
We have already covered how an in house team can be a rather expensive venture. When you hire an agency, you have much more freedom to choose a retainer/package size that suits your individual budget more closely.
- Greater control of your expenses
You can’t easily hire and fire in house staff. However, when you are working with an agency, you can always increase or decrease the size of your retainer. If you have a busy campaign, then you can increase your spend, and they can allocate more staff and resources. This makes for a much more flexible ability to scale up and down as your needs adapt and change.
- Less administrative processes on your end
As discussed earlier, you don’t have all the payroll dramas that come from having employees. You have one invoice with a provider, and that is all. You also don’t have performance reviews for each staff member, inductions, staff meetings and so on
- Easier to change agencies than change employees
In the unlikely event that you are unsatisfied with the work that your agency is doing, you can simply cancel a contract. There is no chance of having to fight it out as an unfair dismissal, you have no HR hoops that you need to delicately jump through.
- You don’t have to be as involved
If you do not want to be overly involved with the marketing side of your business, then an agency is a great suit for you. You can set whatever level of creative freedom that you like. It is easier to set an agency loose and see what they bring back, than to set an in house department loose and see what they bring back. This is because departments require managers, whereas an agency has their own management and hierarchical system.
- Multiple perspectives on your campaigns
Having more than one or two people looking at a campaign can make a major difference. For example, even if you have two people devising a plan, they may not notice a serious flaw in the processes required to get it operational. As they have been so involved with creating the campaign this far, it often takes an extra set of eyes to go over it and take a third party, more critical perspective into hand. An agency is a great breeding ground for this type of critical analysis, as each professional will be liaising with their own peers.
Cons for outsourcing your marketing to an agency:
- Communication Lag
You will be reliant upon your account manager to balance their communications with you and the numerous other clients that they have on their books. If you are used to dealing with employees who will always have to respond to you quickly, then you may be frustrated by the delay that is involved with dealing with an agency sometimes.
- You can never be sure of exactly what it is that they are doing
As much as you can read the reports and statements, you are never actually there in the thick of it. You never actually see any of the work taking place. This can leave a lot of people either suspicious, or simply unsure of exactly how much time and resources are being spent on their business.
All in all, it is never going to be an easy decision. The best thing that you can do is arm yourself with knowledge and insights that will help you to make the decision that will best suit your needs.
Here at Paradox Marketing, we have developed a unique program, which we refer to as the In House Marketing Program.
We combine the best aspects of in house marketing teams and outsourced agency systems!