Deciding what kind of team is best suited to your marketing needs is an important decision for any business.
So, what’s the choice between? The age-old debate is usually between a marketing agency and an in-house marketing team.
Marketing agencies often have more expertise than in-house marketing teams and can provide more services, which is great if you’re needing to hit some big growth goals.
But, while in-house marketers may not have as much experience, they can work closely with other departments within your company and execute with a deep understanding of your brand.
If you’re still not sure which type of team is right for your business, we’ve got you covered. Here’s Socialike’s take on how to decide if an agency or in-house marketing team is right for you.
First, let’s take a look at marketing agencies. Agency marketing is an approach to business that involves hiring a third-party company for all or part of the marketing needs of your business. Compared to an in-house team, agencies are full of experienced people that have been in the industry long enough to know how best to handle your marketing and campaigns, with years' worth of knowledge under their belt.
An agency can work behind the scenes on every aspect from creating strategies, developing advertisements both online and offline as well as designing promotional materials. Although they might be perceived as costly, most agencies are well connected and have all the resources and team members necessary to provide value to their clients. Put simply, they know how to get your name out there with proven strategies and tactics.
Marketing Agency Benefits
1. Deep knowledge
An agency can be the perfect hire for marketers that need help to get their brand out there. Unlike an in-house team, agencies have a wide range of experience and expertise, which means they’re more likely to be able to provide valuable insights into your industry than an in-house team could.
2. Diverse Skills
Hiring an agency is like buying a whole team of experts for one price! You may hire them to do SEO work but find out that they can also offer advice on content production, design, and promotion. The wide range of skills also means you'll gain access to a wide range of tools, which could be unaffordable otherwise.
3. Dedicated partner
An in-house team is often bound by company culture and dynamics. This means they’re less likely to see a different way of doing things and if they do, they may not speak up for fear of causing a stir. An agency is the opposite. They’re there with the distinct purpose to offer you a fresh perspective and might be more likely to come up with creative solutions. Because they’re there to make sure you get better results with them, they’re more likely to be results-driven and be able to offer a broader scope of strategic insight.
Is a marketing agency right for my business?
If you need a team that’s focused on executing your vision and can help you get stuck into executing a proven growth marketing plan, then it’s likely that an agency is the best pick for you. Building the right in-house team takes time, energy, and effort to cultivate the right skills and knowledge needed. An agency can get started helping you with strategy, creative development, copywriting & content creation, social media management & analytics, paid advertising campaigns video production & animation the moment you hire them. If you’re keen to read a bit more about what agencies do, check out Socialike’s full service marketing solution.
In-house marketing teams
On the other hand of the debate is an in-house marketing team, consisting of employees in your business. Often a team of people in-house will be less skilled than an agency, there are only so many skills a group of small people can have. Compared to an agency, in-house teams are comparatively less resourced. However, having your marketing team as your staff gives you tighter control over the team's focus.
in-house marketing team benefits
1. Employees are connected to the business
Compared to an agency, employees are usually more connected to your business and invested in it on an emotional level. A good hire will go the extra mile, whereas an agency might be too busy to do so.
With employees, any talent you cultivate is yours and yours alone, which can mean a greater sense of pride when growing your business.
2. Brand familiarity
The extra buy-in and time that an employee spends on your marketing often means they have a high level of brand familiarity. Whereas you may be just a client to an agency, your employees spend every day with your brand
Extra brand familiarity can mean that in-house teams are less likely to need a nudge in the right direction when it comes to getting your brand right. If an agency hasn’t taken the time to listen to you right, they can deliver work that doesn’t feel as if it fits well with your brand and tone of voice.
Additionally, an in-house team might spend more time monitoring your social media and replying to comments and questions on it. This may mean they have a better understanding of your customers and can tweak your messaging as needed.
Another benefit of an in-house team is that they’ll always be there during work hours, while an agency might be distracted with other urgent client needs on any given day.
An agency might also lock you into a contract or direction with little wiggle room to change paths along the way. Even if your in-house team doesn’t have as many skills as an agency, they’ll be more likely to be able to switch paths at a given moment, and usually be more understanding since they’re also working inside your business.
Is an in-house marketing team right for my business?
In some cases, an in-house team might be right for you. Although they take time, energy, and effort to build, sometimes the focus and knowledge they can bring is exactly what you need. If you’re a big company with a large budget and access to great talent, then it may make sense to create a team that’s going to be able to deliver, especially if you’re in a difficult market where specific skills and knowledge are required. However, for much smaller businesses, often an in-house team often takes too much time and energy to build to make it go the distance.
The hybrid marketing team
So, if you can’t decide between an in-house marketing team or an agency, another option growing in popularity is a hybrid marketing model where you have an agency that collaborates with your existing marketing team.
Hybrid marketing team benefits
1. On-demand marketing results
If your marketing team is small (or even one person!) it can be hard to get everything done when you need it. They can also often lack the skills needed for everything you require. An agency can act as an extra pair of skilled hands that can jump in when you need help.
You might also find that there are peak periods throughout the year during which your marketing team is swamped, so bringing an extra pair of hands on for the times you need it, can help you hit your goals.
2. The focus of in-house combined with the skills of an agency
You’ll know that an agency often has more skills and tools to get things done, while an in-house team can be more dedicated to and familiar with your brand. A hybrid team combines these. Meaning your in-house team gets access to someone with the right skills but is able to screen the agency's output for how well it fits your brand. The result? Marketing that helps your business grow.
3. make your in-house marketing team even more focused
Juggling multiple roles can make for some sloppy marketing. If your in-house marketing team is having to do everything, then often they will be stretched to perform at their best. Taking some of the pressure off your in-house marketing team can make them more productive at the things you know they’re good at.
Is Hybrid Marketing Right For My Business?
If you need a team to lend a hand without having to hire new marketing staff or you've got a big launch coming up and you need help to get everything done, then a hybrid marketing team is likely the right fit for you! Becoming an option that’s increasingly popular, check out everything a hybrid or virtual marketing team can do for you here.
The cost of an in-house Marketing team
Employees can be expensive. First, you have to set aside a budget for finding the right person - which includes recruitment costs such as ads, networking events, and personnel. And this is just if they even find someone! There's also an opportunity cost of not having that role filled: it could take months before anyone fills your position properly.
It takes time for new employees to ramp up and start producing at full levels. This means that each person who joins your team represents an added cost during the first few weeks before they are able to really perform.
Tools and software
Consider the tools your team may need to do their jobs such as analytics, communication, blogging and SEO. These can add up quickly in terms of time spent looking for them and the ongoing costs.
Once you’ve got your employee up and running, there are the mainstay costs of salary and annual leave. The average wage of a Marketing Coordinator in New Zealand is NZ$51,000 and US$57,000 in the USA. Depending on where you’re based, you’ll have other costs such as KiwiSaver or a 401K. No matter the performance of your employee, you’ll still need to pay them this salary, which quickly adds up if they’re not doing their job.
The cost of an agency
Compared to an employee an agency can actually be far cheaper! Retainer costs can start from $36,000 p/a, which is much less than your average Marketing Coodinator wage, not to mention the added costs on top of that.
Since you’re paying an agency for their skills, you’re less likely to have the same time costs associated with managing an underperforming employee if you do make the wrong hire. Agencies are there to help you, so the time savings costs of not having to worry about managing them can add up too.
Which one should I choose?
At the end of the day, it really depends on your team and their skills when deciding what kind of marketing team is right for you.
If you’re currently lost on what to do with your marketing, have limited resources or you're in the start-up phase of your business, a full-service marketing partner can be a way to start to get the results you need. They’ll make sure you have everything you need from strategy to execution. A full-service partner is also perfect if you’re sick of going from agency to agency trying to find someone who “gets’ your business.
However, if you’re simply wanting to boost your capabilities, an agency that works alongside your team may be all you need. They’ll be able to slot in and get the job done while supporting your in-house marketing team.
Want to chat with someone who can point you in the right direction? Socialike can help! We offer both a full-service marketing solution and hybrid marketing services. Get in touch today.
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