Hiring a Marketing Agency and In-House Team: Pros and Cons Explained

B2B Marketing
Last Updated: July 12, 2023 8 min
Justin Berg
Justin Berg

Founder of Rock The Rankings

As a founder or marketing head, one of the most important decisions you need to make is whether to hire a marketing agency or build an in-house team.

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on various factors, including your business goals, budget, and resources.

Let’s take a closer look at each option and weigh them in side-by-side.

Evaluating the Value of Agencies vs In-House Hires

When it comes to deciding whether to hire an agency or build an in-house team, there are many factors to consider. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks, and the decision ultimately depends on your business’s goals, budget, and resources.

To further help you make the right choice, let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of each option.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Hiring an Agency vs In-House

When it comes to hiring an agency, some of the benefits include:

  • Access to specialized skills and expertise – agencies often have dedicated teams for each area of marketing (e.g., SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media) with extensive training, certifications, and experience
  • Cost-effectiveness – agencies tend to have lower overhead costs, bulk discounts, and economies of scale compared to building an in-house team from scratch
  • Flexibility and scalability – agencies can adjust their scope and services to match your changing needs and budgets, without adding or laying off employees
  • Industry insights and best practices – agencies work with multiple clients across industries and are often up-to-date with the latest trends, strategies, and tools in the market

However, hiring an agency also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • Less control over the process and outcome – you may not have full visibility or influence over the agency’s methods, timelines, or deliverables, and communication can be more challenging
  • Risk of misalignment or conflicts of interest – agencies work with multiple clients, and may not always have your best interests or priorities in mind, especially if they have conflicting goals or values
  • Less cultural fit and brand alignment – agencies may not fully understand your business’s culture, voice, or mission, and may not integrate well with your internal team or stakeholders

On the other hand, building an in-house team has some advantages, such as:

  • Higher control over the process and outcome – you have more direct oversight, influence, and feedback over your team’s work, and can ensure a consistent brand voice and image
  • Cultural fit and brand alignment – you can hire people who share your company’s values, vision, and culture, and integrate them into your team and workflows
  • Better communication and collaboration – you have easier access to your team, can communicate more quickly and effectively, and can build stronger relationships and trust over time

However, building an in-house team also has some downsides, such as:

  • Higher costs and risks – you need to cover salaries, benefits, and training costs, as well as invest time and resources into hiring, onboarding, and managing your team, with no guarantee of success
  • Limited access to specialized expertise and resources – your team may not have the same level of training, certifications, or tools as agencies that work on multiple projects and clients at once
  • Less flexibility and scalability – you may struggle to match your team’s workload and skill set to your business’s changing needs and demands, without adding or laying off employees

Ultimately, the decision to hire an agency or build an in-house team depends on your business’s unique needs, goals, and budget. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option, and consider factors such as your industry, competition, target audience, and long-term growth plans.

Another factor to consider is the impact on your internal team and culture. Hiring an agency may be seen as a threat or a lack of trust by your existing employees, while building an in-house team may be seen as a sign of investment and commitment to their growth and development.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to establish clear expectations, goals, and communication channels with your team or agency, and regularly evaluate and adjust your strategy based on performance and feedback.

Finding a Reliable Digital Marketing Agency: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you decide that hiring a marketing agency is the right choice for your business, you need to make sure you find a reputable, reliable, and compatible one. Here are four steps to help you do it.

1. Research the Agency’s Reputation and Experience

Start by doing some basic research into the agency’s background and track record. Look for online reviews, testimonials, case studies, or press mentions that demonstrate their expertise, quality, and customer satisfaction. Check how long they’ve been in business, and if they’ve worked with businesses similar to yours in size, industry, or location.

2. Check Their Portfolio and Case Studies

Next, evaluate the agency’s portfolio and case studies to see if their work aligns with your branding, messaging, and goals. Look for examples of projects, campaigns, or solutions that demonstrate creativity, strategic thinking, and measurable results. Make sure the agency has experience in the specific areas of marketing you need help with, such as SEO, PPC, social media, or email marketing

3. Schedule a Consultation and Ask the Right Questions

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential agencies, schedule a consultation or meeting with each of them to ask them the questions that matter most to you. Some important questions to ask include:

  • What are your core services and areas of expertise?
  • What is your project management and communication process?
  • What metrics do you use to measure success and ROI?
  • What is your pricing and payment structure?
  • What is your availability and responsiveness for ongoing support and maintenance?

4. Review Their Contract and Pricing Structure

Before finalizing your agreement with the agency, make sure you review their contract and pricing structure in detail. Check for any hidden fees or surprises, such as additional charges for revisions, edits, or rush projects. Make sure you understand the payment terms, schedule, and options, and negotiate if necessary.

Making the Right Choice: In-House vs Agency Hires

After evaluating your options and finding a reliable agency, it’s time to make your hiring decision. However, keep in mind that the decision is not permanent, and you can always reevaluate or adjust your strategy if needed.

How to Determine Which Hiring Option is Best for Your Business

Here are some additional factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Your business’s stage and growth rate – start-ups often benefit from the flexibility and expertise that agencies provide, while more established businesses may prefer the control and consistency of an in-house team
  • Your marketing budget and cash flow – if you have limited funds or fluctuating revenue, an agency can help you manage your costs and ROI more effectively
  • Your business’s location and market – if you’re targeting a specific local or niche market, an in-house team can be more knowledgeable and effective, while if you’re expanding globally or nationally, an agency can provide more specialized skills and resources
  • Your business’s culture and style – if you value teamwork, communication, and collaboration, an in-house team may be more suitable, while if you prefer agility, innovation, and delegation, an agency may be a better fit
  • Your desired level of involvement and control – if you want to be hands-on and track every detail of your marketing campaigns, an in-house team may be more appropriate, while if you prefer to delegate and trust the experts, an agency may be more suitable

Trusting Your Decision: Tips for Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Agency

If you decide to hire a marketing agency, make sure you choose the right one for your business. Here are some tips to help:

1. Look for Transparency and Communication

A reliable agency should be transparent, honest, and responsive, and should keep you informed about their progress, challenges, and results. They should have a clear project management process, and communicate effectively through emails, calls, meetings, or online platforms.

2. Consider Their Expertise and Specializations

Make sure the agency has experience and expertise in the areas of marketing you need help with, and that they have a portfolio of clients or projects that demonstrate their capabilities. Look for agencies that have certifications, training, or awards that validate their skills and knowledge.

3. Check Their Availability and Responsiveness

Make sure the agency has enough resources and capacity to handle your projects in a timely and efficient manner, without compromising quality or attention to detail. Check their availability for ongoing support, updates, or maintenance, and make sure they are responsive and flexible to your changing needs.

4. Evaluate Their Performance Metrics and Reporting

A good agency should have a clear methodology for tracking and measuring the success and ROI of their projects, and should provide you with regular reports, updates, or dashboards that show the progress and impact of their work. Make sure you understand the metrics they use, and evaluate if they align with your business goals and KPIs.

Final Thoughts: Making the Most of Your Hiring Decision

Hiring a marketing agency or building an in-house team is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it can have a significant impact on your business’s growth, brand, and profitability.

However, by weighing the pros and cons, evaluating your options, and choosing the right fit for your business’s needs and goals, you can enjoy the benefits of a robust, effective, and sustainable marketing strategy.

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