Are you considering whether your company should strengthen or build an in-house marketing department or hire an agency? Or perhaps a combination? In this article we look at the pros and cons of both options. Hopefully the choice will be a little easier after you've taken note of our tips. Read on!
So what types of skills and services are we talking about? They can range from strategy work and advanced agency work to smaller projects such as customer events. Generally speaking, it's about adding resources that are lacking within the company. For example, it could be content production, graphic design or commercial production. Hiring a digital marketing agency to handle your company's marketing is a great peace of mind. You know you'll have access to well-trained, skilled staff with extensive experience.
Marketers today are often either specialists or generalists. A specialist is often focused on a very narrow area, such as Google Ads or technical SEO, while a generalist often has a good overall knowledge of marketing and its techniques but lacks deeper knowledge in each individual area.
Many companies are often looking for specialist skills in various digital marketing activities but only intend to hire one person. It is common in job adverts, for example, for companies to seek a role with skills in SEO, SEM and social media, who will also be responsible for producing copy and images. In this case, it is more appropriate to hire a marketing agency that can offer specialist knowledge in all these areas. Often at a price equivalent to what it would cost to hire someone in-house.
Benefits of an in-house marketing department
Building an in-house marketing department takes a lot of work and the challenges can be many. Not least, having your own staff means a lot of administrative work - everything from employment contracts to payroll, parental leave, holidays, sick leave and other things that need to be managed on an ongoing basis. It can also be difficult to find the skills you are looking for.
On the other hand, the advantages are quite obvious: you control your own staff and proximity to the marketing department is a great asset when you are in the same building. But don't forget: having your own marketing department costs a lot and it's probably not even an option for the smaller company that wants to focus on core business and growth.
One of the main advantages of building your own in-house marketing department is that the people are so close to the business that they also build up domain knowledge within your business. This is often difficult for agencies to achieve.
Hiring a digital marketing agency
Hiring an agency in the form of a communications agency, digital marketing agency or web agency brings a number of benefits. As mentioned earlier, you will have access to specialists in several branches of the marketing field, whom you can more or less consider as your own staff. You can give them a good insight into your company's day-to-day activities and thus build up expertise on how to make your marketing communications as effective as possible.
In recent years, the trend has been to build the company's marketing within its own four walls. But is it really the right decision? In some cases, it certainly is. In other cases, it might be worth thinking again. There are a number of advantages to hiring an external marketing agency.
Combining different skills
Building effective digital marketing and communications requires a range of skills. But rarely is the need so great that you need to hire a full-time person for each skill area. By using an agency, you can draw on a range of skills without having to think too hard about how big the needs are. You simply use the resources you need - as much (or as little) as you need. Here are some examples of areas where you need people with high skills:
- Strategy and communication
- Social media
- Community/brand management
- Analysis and follow-up
The importance of a well thought-out strategy
Choosing to hire a knowledgeable digital marketing agency minimises the risk of making common, unnecessary mistakes. Marketing specialists know that successful digital marketing requires thought, considered strategies and a good communication plan. Solid groundwork is always the key to success.
A long-term relationship with a digital marketing agency is often the best option - especially for medium-sized businesses that need a wide range of skills. That way, you get access to all the skills you need, while avoiding all the work and hassle of having your own, salaried staff. The staff at the agency are already interconnected and used to working together. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses. This makes the work efficient from day one.
If you get a good partnership with a digital marketing agency, you can have a strategic, long-term partner to grow with. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to be flexible over time - the skills you need today may not be the same skills you need tomorrow.
A combination of in-house and external marketing department
If you choose a combination of hiring an agency and having a marketer in-house, you will need to find a workable division of responsibilities. How you choose to structure it will probably depend on the skills you already have within your company. Make sure you have your in-house team in order before you start hiring external staff.
A combination of in-house and digital marketing agency can be a good option for those who already have staff in place working on corporate communications. By hiring an agency, you have the opportunity to bolster your current team with the skills that are missing.
Consider your needs and choose a solution that fits your company's current requirements. What your needs will be in the future is anyone's guess - it's important to find a solution that works here and now, while it's good if the solution is scalable and something you can grow into over time. Feel free to take a consultancy to review your needs and circumstances in terms of either employing your own staff or using an external agency - or a combination. Good luck!
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