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Marketing for Business: Service Provider or In-House?

Businesses that have considered outsourcing their marketing often wonder: “What services does a marketing company provide?” and “What’s the difference between an internal team and an external one?”

The world of marketing has quickly become a “digital first,” with more and more people using the Internet for shopping, product research, and communication. A customer’s first interaction with your brand is likely to be through the Internet, and so it’s become vital for organizations to understand how to effectively market their business through digital channels.

There’s never been a more important time to invest in digital marketing, and it’s never too late to start building your digital presence with an optimized website, a strong social media presence, better branding, and fine-tuned lead nurturing and generation process for sales. But, when choosing to do this, you have one large decision to make: outsource or build an internal team. In this blog, we’ll explore both options, compare pros and cons, and show the benefits of hiring a managed marketing service provider.

The Difference Between In-House and Outsourced Marketing

When diving into the world of digital marketing, businesses have two options: building an in-house team from scratch or working with a marketing agency.

Related Blog: What Does a Marketing Consultant Do?

They both come with benefits and drawbacks, but the main difference is that one is an actual part of your team and one acts more like an off-site extension of your team.

Here is a more detailed look into the pros and cons of staying in-house or going with an agency partner for your digital marketing:

Pros and Cons of an In-House Marketing Service Provider

Here are some of the foundational pros and cons associated with keeping an in-house marketing team:

Pros of an In-house Marketing Services Provider

Familiarity: An internal marketing team is made up of employees who know a business’ brand and make all their decisions with it in mind. An outsourced marketing team still develops that overall understanding of a business’ values, tone, style, and brand, but it takes time for that relationship to build.

Convenience: There’s nothing more accessible than having your marketing department a door away. An in-house team is usually within the same office as the rest of the company and is easily reached. Outside marketing teams must be called, emailed, or instant messaged, which takes slightly more time when dealing with a responsive partner.

Control: With an in-house team, businesses have complete control over that team’s focus and priorities. Similarly, an in-house team grants businesses 100% control over their strategies rather than splitting that responsibility with the experts and specialists at an agency.

Attention: Agencies and other outside marketing teams handle the marketing and branding for multiple clients, while a business’ in-house team is solely dedicated to their own marketing efforts.

Cons of an In-House Marketing Services Provider

Cost: Maintaining a full-fledged marketing team is expensive with employee salaries, recruitment costs, benefits (insurance, retirement, etc.), and more. Many businesses think they can hire one marketer and call it a day, but an effective marketing department requires specialists and experts in SEO, video marketing, copywriting, social media, demand generation, and more.

The average yearly cost for a small internal marketing (of 3-5 people) team is over $250,000.

Recruiting and Management: As mentioned above, marketing teams are made up of specialists in all fields of marketing and staffing which can be dozens of marketers at a time. This means shouldering the costs of finding and keeping talent, including dealing with employee turnover.

Additional Expenses: Other than employee costs, you must foot the bill for all the software and hardware necessary for a marketing team to do its job. This means CRMs, SEO tools, video, and image editing software, as well as the costs of hardware like computers, laptops, phones, printers, and monitors.

Limited Expertise: Smaller businesses may not have the budget to employ as many marketers as necessary, which can leave skill gaps in key places because no one marketer has all the experience or expertise to fulfill everything that goes into effective digital marketing. Going in-house may mean not having experts in SEO, website design, video marketing, or social media, leaving a big hole in your marketing and branding strategies.

Scalability: Being able to easily scale your marketing team is important to match and drive growth. With an in-house team, this means keeping up with growth by ramping up recruitment and hiring, something that takes time and can lead to an overstretched team.

What Services Does a Marketing Company Provide?

One of the biggest benefits of working with a managed marketing provider is that they bring a big team of highly experienced marketing professionals with skills in every marketing discipline. Because of this, an MSP partner can provide a plethora of different services for businesses, including:  

  • Marketing Automation: Automate key processes like email scheduling, social media management, contact management, content posting, and more. 
  • Web Design: Build a website with a better user experience to create a stronger journey to convert more visitors. 
  • SEO: Make your website and businesses easier to find on search engines with expert-driven optimization strategies. 
  • Photography and Video: Showcase your brand, your business, and your people with professional photography and video. 
  • Writing: Build a brand voice and write engaging content with the help of a team of writers. 
  • Digital Branding: Build your digital presence with branding services. 
  • Market Research and Analysis: Know your competition, your industry, and your customers with research-backed insights and analysis. 
  • Paid Search and Media: Use SEO, research, and creative storytelling to entice searchers to click on ads and follow them to your content and services. 
  • Custom App Design: Get a custom-built solution with application development. 
  • Ongoing Consulting: A long-term MSP partner is there to help you refine your strategies over time to meet changing trends and goals. 

services provided by a managed marketing provider

Pros and Cons of Outsourced Managed Marketing Service Provider

Pros of Outsourcing Your Marketing

Wide Range of Expertise: An outside marketing team brings a wide range of experiences and expertise that comes from working on projects in many different industries and verticals, something that can be difficult when hiring for an internal team when you might be hamstrung by factors like budget, network, recruiting power, or location.

Being able to utilize multiple forms of digital marketing (video, email, social media, paid ads, etc.) is important for growing brand awareness with your audience. 86% of marketers increased brand awareness by using one or more digital marketing channels.

Specialized Teams: Marketing agencies have no limits to their capabilities when it comes to building and executing strategies because their teams are filled with specialists in every field of marketing and branding, including SEO, video, paid media, writing, strategists, and analysts. When working with an outside team, businesses get access to all these specialized areas and the experts behind them.

Access to Tools and Software: One of the largest perks of working with an outside marketing team is not having to worry about finding or paying for the best marketing tools or software. Agencies are responsible for maintaining their own MarTech stacks and staying up to date on the latest trends and technology.

Scalability: Partnering with an outside marketing team allows businesses to easily scale up or down for busy or dry seasons, match growth, or make big marketing pushes when needed. Agencies have the workforce to dedicate more or less people as needed without having to worry about overworking their internal team or hiring more marketers.

Cost: A marketing agency typically charges a fraction of the cost that it takes to develop and maintain an internal marketing department. Businesses that work with agencies get access to all the skills and expertise needed to build a marketing and branding strategy without the costs and hassle of hiring, managing, and maintaining a full team.

Cons of Outsourcing Your Marketing

Off-Site: Typically, an external marketing team is set up in a different office building or even a different part of the country. This means you’ll be relying mostly on emails, phone calls, instant messages, and virtual meetings to communicate day-to-day unless you work with a local provider like Impact.

Clients: Agencies have other clients that can sometimes pull their attention away, but every client is assigned an account manager whose job is to ensure that no client feels neglected. They’re a liaison to the agency and help the agency and should feel like an extension of your own team. Oftentimes when businesses feel forgotten by their agencies, it’s a sign of a poorly run agency rather than an issue with having an external marketing team in general.

Control: People and companies who are used to complete control over their marketing campaigns might need to adjust to having a third party run their strategies. Oftentimes, agencies work best when given at least a certain amount of freedom to make strategic and creative choices. Building the trust necessary for this to work is a part of the process when establishing a partnership with these external teams.

Bottom Line

Choosing between in-house marketing and outsourcing it to an agency comes down to many different factors like budget, time, goals, and needs, but working with an outside marketing firm brings a lot of flexibility and expertise that can be almost impossible for a business to acquire internally at a reasonable cost.

If you want to learn more about how Impact can help you accomplish your marketing and branding goals, check out this new blog that explores all the ways that a managed marketing team can elevate your business and drive growth.