There is a common misconception that marketing should either be entirely in-house or outsourced to a digital agency. After all, why hire a digital agency when you already have your own talented in-house team? We’re here to show you that you can have the best of both worlds. Companies like Coca-Cola, Hilton, Louis Vuitton and TUI employ their own marketing staff and also outsource to agencies. Both in-house and external digital marketing teams bring their own merits to the table and complement each other in numerous ways, as outlined below.
Why hire a digital agency?
A diverse skill set
Companies that hire exclusively in-house can find their marketing attempts quite limited. While it’s difficult for an individual ‘jack of all trades’ to really excel in one skill, it’s sometimes tough to find enough ongoing work for specialists. Hiring a full-time member of staff can be a complicated mistake if they don’t work out, while freelance consultants can be extremely expensive even for just a few hours of their time.
Because of this companies often find themselves unable to excel in all areas of marketing. For example, you may have a beautifully designed landing page, but the SEO is terrible and it’s not converting. Or perhaps you have some great content, but don’t have the contacts that a PR agency would have to get it out there. In contrast, digital agencies already employ a wide range of specialists, which means they have access to in-depth knowledge on all aspects of marketing. Hence, the reason why you should hire a digital marketing agency is clear – it’s the only way to ensure you are not missing anything which could be negatively impacting your online presence.
Keeping your brand attractive & innovative
If you do manage to hire an all-round digital marketing expert, there is a risk of quickly losing your talent if your in-house marketing strategy is quite repetitive. Due to the nature of their work and interests, creative professionals can quickly get bored when the work becomes too predictable. However, in-house employees are sometimes so close to the brand that they can’t see a way to challenge it.
External digital agencies keep things fresh and offer new perspectives on old problems. There is a strong chance that they will have helped companies similar to yours and will be aware of all possible pitfalls, saving you considerable amounts of time and money. Such a wide pool of talent keeps your brand up-to-date, innovative and competitive, in turn keeping your in-house team happy in their role.
The expert perspective
In-house teams’ big advantage is their understanding of the company’s mission and values. They will have a house style that is familiar, and if the internal communications function is good, all members of staff will be well-versed in the company’s procedures and branding.
You might be thinking: why hire a digital agency when your team understand your objectives better than anyone? However, an agency can offer some much needed analysis and feedback regarding your SEO and PPC goals. For example, are they realistic and achievable? Combining brand familiarity with the innovative outlook of external marketers is another good reason why you should hire a digital marketing agency.
Advice as and when you need it
Brands still get expert strategic consultations when they work with agencies, they just have the advantage of accessing that expertise whenever they need it. As a brand’s needs evolve, agencies contribute relevant and specialist disciplines, including SEO, web development, web migration and PR. Account managers and consultants can assist on a project-by-project basis or, in some cases, as permanent members of an in-house team. What’s more, despite the range of expertise digital agencies provide, they will usually provide one main point of contact. This in turn will streamline procedures, improve workflow and increase productivity.
Barclaycard is an example of a company that has gone in-house digitally but recognises that it still needs external support. According to Campaign Live, Barclaycard’s marketing director Alex Naylor explained that developing an in-house team required a “big mindset shift”. He also added that agencies offering « best-in-class creative support » or specialist skills are still very much needed. External agencies can help companies build in-house agencies, which is what happened with Barclaycard’s collaboration with an agency.
Reduced overall costs
External agencies might seem expensive, but they are significantly cheaper than creating a full-time team of expert digital marketers. Besides salary concerns, in-house staff cost more in terms of space, benefits, computers, furniture and other overheads. Agencies pay for their own office space, tools, training and software. External agencies bring solid experience, connections and know-how at a fraction of the annual cost of an in-house team.
Why you should hire a digital agency
Ultimately, it is up to each company to decide on the best approach to meeting its marketing goals. However, it is worth getting an outside opinion to see ways in which you can maximise your business growth. If you would like a consultation to see if you could benefit from our digital marketing expertise, get in touch with our team of specialists at Relevance.