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Online Marketing: In-House or Outsourced


Should you grow your internal team, or partner with an agency?

If you're responsible for marketing your company and its products, you probably don’t have the budget to do everything you want. How do you get the most from what you do have to set up your housewares brand for the brand awareness, product sales, and customer retention you need?

Build an In-House Team or Hire an Online Marketing Agency?

Which will deliver the most value? That’s not an easy answer. Let’s explore the pros and cons.

In-House Pros
  • You’ll have marketers who are dedicated to your company.
  • They’ll know more about what is going on with your products.
  • A dedicated team will better integrate program components.
In-House Cons
  • Recruiting and retaining top talent is a challenge. Good marketers are creative and they crave diversity to remain interested.
  • In-house marketers will know your company and products well, but they may or may not be enthusiastic for long about focusing on a single company and its products.
  • If your team is small, you will not have a complete set of expert skills.
  • If your team is small and someone leaves, you will lose a significant amount of knowledge.
  • If budget is cut, you will need to let people go.
Agency Pros
  • Benefit from team of experts across marketing disciplines giving you a broader skillset.
  • Agency people have fresh perspectives from working with multiple clients.
  • If you are advertising, an agency will have a larger budget to manage. This often results in ad providers, such as Google, delivering more direct support to the agency than what a single advertiser would have.
  • When an agency loses an employee, there remains the rest of the account team with your company’s knowledge.
  • If budget is cut, you can adjust the agency deliverables and fee, or even resign the agency. That’s a lot easier than laying off your employee.
Agency Cons
  • Agency is not privy to all your company’s meetings and discussions. You need to communicate developments to the agency team, and much can be lost in translation.
  • You do need someone on staff to interface with the agency. The agency needs input and oversight just like any staffer.
  • The hourly rate for agencies is higher than what you would pay staff.
  • The agency may require your in-house team to implement its work.
  • If your in-house team is not providing the agency with timely feedback, approvals and implementation, then you would not be getting your money’s worth.

Spoiler Alert: Going all-in on an in-house marketing department, or hiring an online marketing agency, either way could save or cost more money.

Depending on circumstances, going in-house or working with an agency can cost more. You may assume that it is more economical to do your marketing in-house. However when you consider costs such as employee benefits, overhead and administrative costs, along with salaries, an in-house staff is expensive. . Do look carefully at all the costs as you may discover in-house is not your most economical option.

Whether an agency would be the more economical choice boils down to how well you manage them and their fees. You can work with the agency to configure a program to deliver just what you need. You will have access to top talent while paying for only the time you need them. Plus you need to interface well with the agency team to get what you are paying for.

One way an agency can be a great buy is if in-house marketing handles advertising in-house without the skillset to do it right. You want real advertising experts who know how to manage and to optimize online ad programs. An agency would have ad experts. Does your budget support hiring an ad expert in-house? Having someone in-house who ‘sort of knows’ how to manage an advertising program can be real expensive. The cost of poorly run advertising programs will quickly eat up any savings you think you might have. Not only will you spend more than you need, you will not generate the sales your spending should generate.

There’s a Third Way – Hire an In-House Team Partnered with an Agency

Yes, you can have it both ways! Create an in-house team to handle your most brand-centric, pressing needs; and then hire an agency to deliver the expert skills your team doesn't have or that you don't have the workload to fill someone full time. In this scenario you can build a team that precisely meets your needs, and thus your budget will be well-spent.

Questions on how to create the perfect balancing act for your brand? Looking for more info on how epower at homeTM could be the perfect online marketing partner for you? Leave a comment below, or set up a strategy session to talk to our team!


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Larry Stopa

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