Should you use an in-house marketing team or an agency?

Should you use an in-house marketing team or an agency?

It’s no secret that there are many ways to organize your marketing team. Some organizations choose to have their marketing team entirely in-house, some prefer to use an agency, some prefer a mix, and even others have created what they call an “in-house marketing agency.”

All these ways to organize have their pros and cons. So how do you know what’s right for your company? Here are 3 tips to guide you:

  • Determine your marketing goals and needs.
  • Get an idea of your appetite for marketing spend.
  • Figure out what type of marketing team best fits your organizational culture.

What are your marketing goals and needs?

Marketing strategies and needs vary by organization and buyer persona. And marketing goals should always line up with the overall goals of the business.

A good place to start is by creating a one-page marketing strategy that aligns with the company’s overall business plan. Your marketing strategy should include your goals and objectives, along with what’s in it for your buyers and, of course, metrics.

If you haven’t already created a marketing strategy, you can find our free template here.

Once you have your marketing strategy, evaluate the timeline by when you need to achieve your objectives, as that can be a factor in whether you can accomplish them in-house or need outside agency help.

If you have some longer-term goals, it can be a good idea to have an in-house marketing team that really gets to know your business. If there is short-term pressure on revenue, you may need an agency experienced in lead generation and account-based marketing (ABM) to bring the pipeline in quickly.

What is your company’s appetite for marketing spend?

Marketing budgets are often the first to get squeezed during budget cuts. If your organization tends to squeeze marketing budgets but not headcount, then obviously, an in-house marketing team might be the better choice for you.

in-house marketing team or an agency
Your marketing budget can help determine whether you use an in-house marketing team or an agency.

Or, if your company often has hiring freezes but leaves your budget intact, then the agency route would better serve you.

What type of marketing team fits best with your company culture?

Your overall company culture also will help determine how you should staff marketing. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the overall feeling toward bringing in agencies versus retaining talent in-house? Many companies like to have in-house expertise solely dedicated to their business.
  • What is the norm in other departments?
  • What is the current job market like? If you have a short timeline for achieving some success, an agency may be the faster route.
  • How difficult is your procurement process? If you have a long and/or difficult procurement process, it can be tough to onboard a marketing agency.

Mix the two for the best of both worlds

If you’re still struggling to figure out the best way to staff your marketing team, try a mix of in-house and agency.

Why? In-house marketers are essential. They know your business and your clients well, and they can devote themselves to marketing your brand full-time.

But they also get drawn into other projects and often have so much work to do that not everything in the marketing plan gets done. And smaller marketing teams sometimes don’t have all the skills necessary to fully execute the marketing plan.

On the other hand, marketing agencies can devote themselves to special projects without getting pulled into the day-to-day business of your organization. They can bring a fresh perspective, generate new ideas, and fill any skill gaps in your in-house marketing team.

Having both an agency and an in-house marketing team can help you meet all your marketing goals.

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