Should You Build Your Marketing Department With Internal FTEs Or Should You Outsource It?
It can be challenging to decide whether to build your internal marketing department by hiring full-time employees (FTEs) or outsource it. It therefore becomes important to weigh the pros and cons between these two options.

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Pros And Cons Of Hiring FTEs Vs Renting Marketing Skill Sets

Growing a marketing department’s capabilities is something every organization has to do at some point. Marketing is vital to both the launch and growth of every business.

However, there are many conflicting opinions amongst businesses regarding the best way to boost their internal marketing abilities. Some companies believe that building an in-house marketing team by hiring full-time employees (FTEs) is the best way to go.

Others think it’s more effective to outsource their marketing needs to a team of rented experts. The best course forward for your business depends on your specific needs and financial flexibility, both right now and in the future.

A common misconception businesses share is that if you’re burdened with a smaller budget, then the only solution is to make cuts. Yet certain investments can help make it easier to maintain a smaller budget while driving results simultaneously. For example, investing in outsourced marketing.

Understanding the pros and cons of hiring FTEs vs. relying on rented B2B marketing resources can help you weigh your options more effectively.

The Pros Of Hiring FTEs For Your Internal Marketing Team

Some companies start without any marketing team whatsoever. In cases such as these, the owners are often the ones doing the marketing. As their business grows its customer base, they take on more essential FTEs to keep up with demand and expand their reach.

Consider some of these advantages of hiring FTEs to build an internal marketing department:

More Control Over Work Being Done

There’s an element of truth to the idea that outsourcing your marketing efforts is akin to giving up control over your marketing.

It’s not entirely true, of course.

A reputable marketing agency will work closely with you to ensure your marketing strategy is tailored to your business’s specific needs. And you don’t necessarily have to outsource all of your marketing.

However, when you maintain an internal marketing team, it’s easier to monitor what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Communication throughout your organization can be more seamless if your marketing is kept in-house.

FTEs Are Dedicated To Your Company

FTEs will have a much more significant stake in your marketing strategy’s success than rented B2B team members are. After all, if lackluster marketing causes your business to fail, your FTEs will be out of a job.

Rented team members work for a marketing agency that will likely have multiple clients. Their livelihood isn’t tied to the future of your company. FTEs will also have a sense of duty to your company. They will share in your success, especially if there’s an opportunity to advance their careers within your organization.

Communication Across Organization Will Be Faster

A reliable marketing agency should be easy to communicate with.

However, with an internal marketing department, communication from one department to another will be much faster. Various departments will be in direct contact with each other, and employees may even get to know each other.

Fast and clear communication allows for better organization and collaboration. At least, communication should be faster — this particular advantage depends a lot on whether you promote communication throughout your organization.

If communication is poor within your company, then hiring FTEs won’t provide much of an advantage over outsourcing in this particular situation.

FTEs Will Have A Strong Understanding Of Your Brand

An outside consulting firm will do a thorough analysis of your brand. They will do everything they can to understand who your business is and what it represents. However, anyone working at that agency will only know so much about your brand.

They won’t understand it at the intimate level that your FTEs will grow to understand it. An FTE will have a deep understanding of your brand’s values and culture due to experiencing it every day over time. FTEs will always have a better understanding of your brand than an outsourced marketing service.

The Cons Of Hiring FTEs For Your Internal Marketing Team

There are certainly some real advantages to managing an in-house marketing team. However, before you decide to begin building an internal marketing department, you must consider the potential disadvantages, including the following:

Hiring Process Can Be Expensive And Complicated

Hiring an FTE is a complex process. First, you don’t want to hire the wrong FTE. If you hire someone unsuitable for the job, the job won’t be done correctly and may result in low productivity and potentially costly mistakes.

These issues can affect your other FTEs since one person’s poor performance can have a domino effect on the rest of their team. Be sure you find a candidate with the experience and expertise you need.

Secondly, the hiring process as a whole can be expensive. You will need to advertise the position, go through resumes, and hold interviews. These are all tasks your HR department will have to spend time and resources on. Once you finally find a candidate that is perfect for the position, you will need to convince them to take the job.

If they’re in high demand, they will cost a lot — and you could still lose out to an offer from another company.

Maintaining An In-House Team Is Expensive

Every FTE will require a salary and benefits and incur other costs associated with hiring an FTE, such as employment taxes. These costs add up quickly, especially if you’re trying to build an entire team of marketing personnel in-house.

On top of that, specialists are more expensive and tend to be in higher demand, which means they won’t accept your job offer unless your offer beats out any number of other offers they may have gotten.

Problems Arise If FTEs Leave Suddenly

Hiring the wrong FTE is one thing. You may end up having to fire them, which can pose several challenges. However, you can prepare for the loss of an employee if you’re planning to fire them.

What you can’t plan for is if an employee leaves suddenly, without warning. If they’re at all professional, they’ll give you two weeks’ notice. However, this is barely enough time to replace them. You may end up being short-handed when they leave as a result.

Trying to find a new FTE to fill the vacant role can be a time-consuming process and isn’t something you want to rush through either way.

Even Temporary Absences Can Disrupt Your Business

FTEs will take vacation days. They will also call in sick. While larger companies can easily handle a missing employee or two, smaller and medium-sized companies may struggle during the time in which the FTE is absent.

Other team members may try to handle work they are unfamiliar with, resulting in mistakes, or some essential tasks may not be completed at all, leading to delays, lost leads, or even lost customers.

Overhead Costs Can Be Prohibitive

It’s not just the costs associated with hiring and maintaining FTEs that count as a significant disadvantage; it’s also the overhead costs related to FTEs. You may have room in your budget to hire a whole marketing team of FTEs, but what if you don’t have a workspace for them?

You may have to rent out a larger office space. The bump in rent and utility costs, not to mention moving costs, can be astronomical compared to your original budget. Even if you have room for your FTEs, they will still need equipment and tools such as a desk, chair, computer, and various marketing software solutions.

There’s A Risk Of Overworking FTEs

If your business suddenly experiences significant growth, you may be hesitant to take on more FTEs, especially if you’ve already maxed out your established budget. Even if you do decide to take on another FTE, the hiring process will take time. As a result, your existing marketing team could end up having to take on a larger workload.

Whenever you depend solely on an in-house marketing team, there’s a risk that they can become overwhelmed with work due to an inability to scale upwards quickly. When FTEs become overworked, they become stressed, leading to mistakes and a drop in performance.

The Pros Of Renting B2B Team Members

Outsourcing is when you hire a marketing agency (or consulting firm) to take on a large part (or all of) of your marketing needs. By relying on an outside agency, you’re essentially renting B2B team members instead of hiring FTEs. Some of the reasons you may want to consider rented B2B team members instead of hiring FTEs to take care of your marketing needs follow.

Outsourcing Is Very Cost-Effective

When you outsource to a marketing agency, you typically pay a flat fee, usually monthly. Most agencies will have several plans to choose from. However, these plans’ cost tends to be drastically lower than what you would pay to internally hire a team of FTEs.

If you have specific talent gaps that need to be filled (whether temporarily or permanently), outsourcing will be less expensive than filling those gaps with FTEs. Additionally, because you’ll have access to an entire marketing team off-site, you won’t have to pay the overhead costs typically associated with FTEs.

In the end, outsourcing is a much more cost-effective way to build a marketing team.

Access To Entire Team Of Specialists

Trying to build an in-house marketing team can be challenging for any number of reasons. A complete marketing team requires you to fill a half dozen different roles at the very least.

For instance, a professional digital marketing team usually consists of a brand specialist, a web developer, an SEO manager, a solutions engineer, a VP of sales and marketing, and a web developer, among other positions.

Although you might be tempted to hire generalists who can perform the tasks of various roles, your marketing success depends significantly on your team’s expertise and experience. Hiring specialists is expensive, but you’ll have access to a large pool of highly skilled and knowledgeable specialists when you outsource.

Customized Marketing Services

When you outsource your marketing, you’re not just receiving a pre-packaged service. A consulting firm will help you develop a new marketing strategy (or improve your existing strategy), improve short-term marketing efforts, and put you in a position to succeed over the long term.

To achieve this, the agency will work closely with your company’s stakeholders to customize their marketing services to meet your business’s unique needs.

Scale With Ease

Due to the immense talent pool and all of the resources a marketing agency has access to, they can scale their services to meet your company’s ever-changing needs. If your marketing needs have suddenly increased significantly due to unexpected growth within your industry, a marketing agency will be able to scale up your marketing capabilities.

For example, they can augment your existing staff with rented team members to help with the workload.

If the business is slow and you’re forced to make budget cuts, a marketing agency will also be capable of scaling down. If forced to scale down your marketing efforts, a reliable agency will be capable of helping reduce the impact it has on your results so that you’re not sacrificing your marketing ROI.

It’s a marketing firm’s job to stay up-to-date on the latest trends within the marketing world. You won’t have to worry about falling behind the times. And a marketing agency can help identify new marketing tactics and practices that will benefit your company and help you get a leg up on your competition.

Access To Latest B2B Marketing Tools And Solutions

Marketing agencies have a lot of competition. They are incentivized to provide the best possible services to the clients they have. To do this, they invest in the latest marketing tools and solutions.

For instance, most marketing agencies will have access to a CRM platform, such as HubSpot. Such tools may be too expensive for smaller businesses to subscribe to. Higher tiered plans for various marketing tools and solutions can cost hundreds of dollars a month — in some cases, even thousands.

Subscribing to multiple solutions can add up. If you work with a marketing agency with access to these tools, you won’t have to pay for them. This is because these tools will be used to help run your campaign.

Will Always Have Someone Working On Your Campaign

One of the major disadvantages of hiring an FTE is that you risk becoming shorthanded should that FTE take days off or leave permanently. Such a risk doesn’t exist with a rented marketing team. Marketing agencies have access to large pools of talent.

So if a rented marketer who was working on your campaign takes the day off or quits, the agency will have no problem immediately filling the role that was left vacant. The disruption will be so minimal that you won’t even notice it happened.

When you outsource, you can be comfortable knowing that there will always be someone available to work on your inbound marketing campaign.

Allow FTEs To Focus On Core Competencies

As your business grows, your marketing strategy will evolve, and your marketing needs will change and grow as well. Suppose you’re not consistently adding new FTEs to your internal marketing team to keep up with your evolving marketing needs.

In that case, your existing team members will be forced to take on additional tasks and responsibilities they may not have experience with.

By outsourcing, you can let an agency take care of any new marketing demands that emerge and allow your existing in-house marketing team to focus on their core competencies. The performance and productivity of your in-house marketing personnel will remain steady.

A Fresh Perspective

An in-house marketing team will only work on your company’s marketing strategy and campaigns. Their experience will be somewhat limited, which means that your marketing efforts can grow stale over time.

By outsourcing to an agency, you can gain a fresh perspective on your marketing strategy. Rented marketers have worked on many other campaigns for businesses in various industries, giving them a much broader view of the marketing landscape. Bringing them in can help freshen up a marketing strategy that may have grown stale over the years.

Check out our more in-depth breakdown of the benefits of outsourcing B2B marketing here:

The Cons Of Renting B2B Team Members

There are many great reasons why you should strongly consider outsourcing some or all of your marketing efforts. However, just like with hiring FTEs, there are a few potential drawbacks you should be aware of before you make your decision. These drawbacks can include the following:

Existing Marketing Team Could Feel Threatened

Communication is vital. If you don’t let your existing in-house marketing team know that you’re augmenting your staff with rented B2B team members, they may perceive it as a threat to their jobs. It may seem as if you’re transitioning from in-house to outsourced and slowly being replaced.

Such a misunderstanding can hurt your team’s morale, leading to lower productivity and worsening performance. If you aim to outsource, clearly communicate to your internal marketing team that the rented team members are meant to augment their work, not to replace them.

Not All Marketing Agencies Are The Same

There are many advantages to working with a marketing agency; however, not all marketing agencies will provide you with those advantages. You must do your due diligence by hiring a consulting firm. Find out how long they’ve been around, who their existing clients are, and what industries they work in.

Some agencies may be highly respected, but they may not be a good fit for your business. For instance, if you’re a non-profit business, an agency with hundreds of clients in the profit sector, zero non-profit clients may not be the best option. Additionally, size doesn’t matter.

A massive marketing agency with hundreds of well-known clients may be a good indication of their success, but not of their quality. They have to spread their resources around, which means your business may not get as much attention as you would like. A smaller firm may only have a handful of clients, but they will focus all of their attention and resources on your success.

Rented Team Members Won’t Know Your Culture

There’s no getting around it: FTEs will be much more familiar with your company culture than rented B2B team members. FTEs will experience your culture daily, giving them a better understanding of your company values.

Marketing agencies will only know what you tell them about your brand; they won’t have your company culture’s first-hand experience to inform their marketing efforts. However, the right marketing agency will work closely with your existing marketing team, meaning that it’s an obstacle that can easily be overcome through collaboration.

Perceived Loss Of Control

Even though a consulting firm will work closely with your stakeholders to tailor their services to meet your needs, you are still giving up some control over your marketing efforts. For many businesses, the inability to micro-manage their marketing efforts and oversee their marketing team can be a significant drawback.

However, another way to look at it is that you’re reducing your workload and allowing you to focus more on other facets of your business. You’ll have greater control of your business in terms of the big picture.

Can Still Seem Expensive

Some businesses may not feel like they have pressing marketing strategy needs. To those companies, outsourcing may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially if hiring a single FTE can help address their current needs.

Others may balk at the cost simply because they don’t think they have room in their current marketing budget. The thing is, if you break down the costs, you’ll quickly find that outsourcing tends to be a more cost-effective solution overall.

Discover how you can find the marketing dollars you need to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.

Take Advantage Of The Benefits Of Both FTEs And Rented Marketers By Hiring Internally And Outsourcing

Trying to determine whether to build an internal marketing department or to outsource B2B marketing can be a difficult decision to make. Both have their share of pros and cons.

However, there’s no reason why you need to choose one over the other. Just because you decide to outsource doesn’t mean you have to forego having any marketing FTEs at all in-house. And just because you have an internal marketing team set up doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from rented B2B marketing.

Internal marketing teams and rented B2B team members can complement each other well. By relying on both, you’ll be more likely to have a balanced marketing team that allows you to take advantage of the benefits of each. If you use both FTEs and rented marketers strategically, you can avoid the disadvantages of both.