Online Marketing Agency or In-House Marketing? Pros and Cons

Online Marketing Agency or In-House Marketing? Pros and Cons

It’s a fact that your business needs marketing to stay competitive.

You need to differentiate yourself on the market from the competition to stand out. Given the wealth of new content and advertising strategies on the Internet, it is obvious that there is nothing to object to. This fierce competition is a major challenge, especially for smaller companies. Without a professional marketing strategy, your company will sooner or later become invisible in the digital market.

Much more important however is the question of whether you do your marketing measures in-house, i.e. within your company, and set up a marketing department, or whether you outsource all or part of your marketing to a specialized agency.

Of course, this also depends on your industry and the preconditions of your company. For example, if you operate digital products, services, or even e-commerce, you should rely on a permanent in-house team and, if necessary, a special agency such as (e.g. SEO agency, SEA Agency, Content Marketing Agency, or social Media Agency).

Classic sectors such as craftsmen/carpenters, etc., which primarily have little to do with online marketing (or expertise for that matter), should, according to experience, fall back on agencies that have a certain routine and experience.

Marketing to grow your business

Traditional advertising media such as television advertising, radio, or posters are becoming increasingly irrelevant. It is therefore a must nowadays for a company to also orient itself digitally.

If a well-thought-out (online) marketing strategy is used and targeted content about your offer, product, or service of your company is distributed, you will automatically reach more interested parties who can become potential new customers.

This not only increases your visibility and reach, but ultimately also helps your business grow. Online marketing is becoming more and more important for every company and is now essential for the sales area in order to brand positioning and also for the future.

Such a successful online marketing strategy ideally includes various areas such as search engine optimization, social media content, a user-friendly website (web development), paid media (paid advertising campaigns via Google Ads and social media), and content marketing (blog articles, premium content, videos, podcast).

The fact that it is very difficult for a marketing department with, for example, only two people to be experts in all these areas.

The increasing challenges in HR & Disadvantages of an in-house marketing department

Do it yourself or have it done by someone else? These considerations begin long before the first marketing person enters the company.

As an HR manager, managing director, or HR specialist, it is your responsibility in times of shortage of skilled workers to find exactly the right employees. You wrote job advertisements, posted them on job portals for a fee and at the end of the day your inbox was still empty… Or you wasted your time with interviews and people who weren’t suitable at all.

With this blog article we would like to help companies who are faced with the decision of whether to start marketing from an online marketing agency or in-house – or is it even possible to do both? We present you the advantages and disadvantages clearly and show you which points need to be considered when setting up your own marketing department.

Specialized employees or all-rounders?

It’s like this: Either the new employee is an expert in his/her field or he/she can do a little bit of everything – no one cannot be an expert in all of these areas –  Search engine optimization, copywriting, Graphic Design, Google Ads, Social Media Ads, Web Design and Content Marketing.

That means: One employee is not enough for an entire in-house marketing department.

Setting up an in-house marketing team

In order to set up a marketing department, many companies use classic methods for recruiting employees, which unfortunately are no longer sufficient: until a suitable applicant is found.

Therefore, social media and Google Ads ads should also be created and placed here and the job pages of your website for the employee search are optimized to suit the target group.

After suitable applicants have been selected, applicant interviews follow, interviews, recruitment tests, and a lot of time until the perfect in-house team is built. In our experience, this consists of at least 5 employees to form a functioning in-house marketing department for an SME.

How could your in-house marketing team be set up?

Optimally an in-house marketing department should consist of no less than 5 people.

These include an Online Marketing Manager, an SEO Specialist, a Content Creator, a website and graphics designer, and a Performance Marketing Manager.

Apart from the personnel costs, which we will go into later in the blog article, you would usually have to plan a vacancy period of around 93 days for each job advertisement until the position is filled.

What happens in the event of illness and absenteeism?

Your own marketing department is immensely susceptible to failures when it is currently being set up. If you already have a functioning in-house marketing team, you have certainly had the experience that your employees are absent due to illness or longer vacation days.

If one or more of your specialists fail, this can quickly lead to enormous challenges in marketing that other employees from your in-house team could not take on, since everyone in the team is usually already working at 100% capacity or does not have the necessary expertise of the other.

In the worst case, your marketing comes to a complete standstill, or important social media posts, blog articles, advertising campaigns, or PR campaigns could not be set up and implemented in time, which in turn can lead to loss of sales and poorer results.

Do your in-house employees have the necessary qualities and tools?

The success of your company and the performance of your marketing department is dependent on the attitude, motivation, and knowledge of the employees.

Then, of course, there are also the costs of regular training and further education measures, which your company would have to cover!

In our experience, you need at least 5 employees to set up a functioning marketing department. With a constantly growing workload, a small marketing department is simply overwhelmed at some point – and as soon as the first employee resigns, resources have to be mobilized to find a replacement. If an employee’s performance is insufficient, it can also be uncomfortable for you as an employer to get rid of him or her.

Advantages of having your own in-house marketing department

Hiring your own employees for your marketing naturally has the advantage that your employees only concentrate on your own company.

With an in-house marketing department, you are the only “customer” they serve, so to speak, and your employees can take care of it quickly and flexibly. In-house employees still know the company and your products or services best and can often react to changes in plans at short notice. Another “advantage” of in-house marketing is, of course, the personal closeness between employees and the company. At first glance, the hourly rate of an internal employee is also cheaper.

Disadvantages of an online marketing agency

Your business will not be in an agency all day and every day of the week can receive full attention since several customers are looked after at the same time.

This means that the expert teams often work on several clients at the same time. As already mentioned, an agency does not have such detailed knowledge about your company and has to familiarize itself with your topics first. Similar to an employee, you first have to search, select, and “test” your agency, but you can get out of a contract faster than you could terminate an employee. Also, as also mentioned above, not all agencies are the same – some have experts in each area, and others work more specialized.

The advantages of an agency for your marketing

An in-house department in marketing must always be weighed against the cost-benefit factor and can sometimes be attractive, but it can also be unprofitable when you consider that an agency can cost so much in all areas (search engine optimization, Google Ads, social media, content) like a single full-time employee.

Apart from the cost factor, the other advantages of a specialized marketing agency also outweigh those of your own department. In the following, we will show you why you should rely on an agency and outsource your marketing.

A large team – every one an expert in their field

While a marketer’s output is limited to their own knowledge, an agency brings in a whole team with different backgrounds and different skills. Marketers, linguists, designers, or business economists are just a small selection of experts that an agency has to offer.

Tasks are therefore always assigned to the employee with the appropriate specialist knowledge: marketers create the concept, linguists write content, designers create images or graphics and business administrators take care of the sales area. Furthermore, the agency itself takes care of the training and further education of its team, which is why the know-how of an agency in terms of marketing methods is always up-to-date.

Broad industry knowledge

Agencies also collect much broader industry knowledge as a single company. They work for clients across industries as well as multiple clients in the same industry, so they know exactly what will make your business stand out and differentiate it from the competition. This way results can be achieved faster and beginner mistakes can be avoided, which saves money and time.

And if an agency can’t do something itself, it usually has a large network of freelancers and partner agencies at its disposal to be able to offer other services, such as link building or directory entries.

Flexibility and fresh wind

While an agency may not have in-depth knowledge of your company’s products or services, agencies do offer a different perspective of your business as an in-house employee, which can generate new and more creative ideas. A diverse agency team always brings a breath of fresh air to your company!

And precisely because agencies work for different clients, they are specialists in taking on new situations and challenges. They constantly adapt their approaches to the needs of customers, target groups, and the market and can therefore spontaneously pursue new requirements. In addition, agency services can be flexibly added or subtracted if something changes in your budget.

It is also much easier to terminate a marketing agency than to dismiss individual employees of the in-house department.

Marketing agencies always work with the latest tools

Agencies always use the latest tools and programs on the market for their work. While your company constantly has to deal with the procurement and renewal of licenses and the purchase of equipment for employees, an agency already has all of this in place. The necessary tools of a good agency alone amount to 1,000 to 5,000 dollars per month.

A whole team for the price of one employee

It is true that agencies charge a higher hourly rate than an in-house employee, but for this hourly rate of around 150 to 250 dollars per hour you don’t just get one employee, but a whole team of creative minds with enormous practical marketing know-how.

The problem with an in-house marketing team is that it can happen to you that your marketing is almost or completely put on hold in the event of absences due to vacation or illness. Since several team members are dedicated to your project with an agency, a replacement can be found quickly in the event of a failure, and you are spared personnel decisions.

Direct contacts & guarantee of success

Good agencies have structured processes, a direct contact person for you or a project manager who is responsible for your company and who cares, both for you and for his marketing team, that everything runs perfectly. A marketing agency has an even greater interest in meeting all the numbers and goals, precisely because they want to keep you as a customer in the long term.

Our example from practice: a successful cooperation

Both are also possible: In-house + Agency

The complete outsourcing of all online marketing tasks can definitely make sense. But now many industry experts recommend a good mix of in-house and outsourcing.

Our conclusion: Focus on your core business

In summary, it can be said that it is worthwhile to outsource a company’s marketing to an external marketing agency for many reasons. Aside from resources, money, and a lot of time, in this article, we have been able to explain some other important arguments in favor of hiring a marketing agency. This also includes the specific expertise and creativity of each marketing agency employee.

A good online marketing agency is worth the money, even if the hourly rate for an agency is higher than for an employee.

However, keep in mind that for this money you get many different skills at the same time. And ultimately you also have to invest less money than if you bought each individual expertise individually.

You need to make good use of an agency’s expertise to get the best possible results. Transparency is the key factor here. Here, Tomorrow works together with and Microsoft Teams. These are tools known for communication and good agile project management between agency and client.

By Ephatech

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