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How to choose between an in-house digital marketing team or a digital marketing agency?

Which one is better? An In-House Digital Marketing Team or an Outsourced Digital Marketing Agency?

The answer is not as straight forward as you think and does not have a one-size fits all solution. In our 10+ years working in the digital marketing corporate training industry, we’ve met hundreds of business executives who feel perplexed by the question.

As a business entrepreneur, myself, I get it. The process of hiring people in-house takes a lot of time and resources. However, it results in the hiring of a full-time employee who is wholly dedicated to executing the company’s marketing objectives. It also gives business owners complete control over their marketing initiatives, which could be challenging when working with agencies.

Working with an outside agency, on the other hand, also has its benefits. Businesses get to partner with the most experienced companies and experts, which could help it get the most value and Return on Investment (ROI) from digital marketing. Digital marketing agencies also have the skills that many in-house teams cannot match, especially at the small-to-medium sized levels. Additionally, and most importantly, the biggest reason why businesses choose to work with agencies is because of their diverse specialties (e.g., social media, SEO and web design). In comparison, when working in house, businesses must limit their efforts or hire a jack-of-all-trades team member.

To help you make your decision, our digital marketing corporate training team explores 4 factors to consider when deciding between an In-House Digital Marketing Team and an Outsourced Digital Marketing Agency.

4 Tips for Choosing Between a Marketing Agency or Going In-House | DMAC Corporate Training

1. Consider Your Company Vision, Values and Culture

Do you prefer to work with people who are aligned with your business’ culture, vision and values? Naturally, most business owners do. A full-time digital marketing specialist is much more invested in a company’s growth and success than an outsourced agency. Their job depends on it. An outsourced agency may find it difficult to get a sense of every client’s values, vision and culture, given the number of clients that they work with daily.

2. Consider Your Company’s Needs

How big is your digital marketing budget? How many campaigns (e.g., SEO and Social Media Marketing) do you intend to jump start? Depending on the marketing strategies you choose, you may be required to hire employees with several different skills sets, such as web design, web development, social media marketing, paid advertising and search engine optimization. If you have a jack-of-all-trade specialist in house that can manage multiple campaigns, going in house may be the best option for you. However, if you are a small or medium sized business that does not have the budget or the personnel to manage multiple initiatives, then hiring an agency may be the best choice.

3. Consider the Costs

Cost is another important element to consider when making your decision. Hiring an outside agency can often be achieved with a flat monthly fee. Depending on the firepower you want, it will cost you anywhere between $300 and $3,000 per month. Opting to hire a full-time employee, on the other hand, will cost you anywhere from $35,000-$60,000 per year. Besides that you need to invest in ongoing training. Think of fees for courses, admission tickets for industry related events and, in some cases, a corporate training salary paid to an industry expert. But that will mean that you will have a specialist who gives you their undivided attention and will work for you for 40 hours/week; rather than 4-5 hours/week.


breakdown of hourly rate for digital marketing agency

“Breakdown of the hourly rates for digital agencys” (source: getcredo.com)

Consider Your Communication Needs

Communication is another important factor to consider when making your decision. Agencies are often positioned as extensions of your team. The reality can often be quite different – and despite working in the digital age – there may be some delay in communication. An inhouse agency will likely work physically in the same office as you, with all the same lines of communication that exist within your company. This can make it easier to conduct internal meetings and prevent any possible breakdowns in communication.

The bottom line is that it all comes down to ROI. Accordingly, your decision should be made based on what will get you the best ROI and bring your business success. Between the two options, determine which approach will result in business growth. While you cannot know for sure ahead of time what your ROI would be, you can do a cost-benefit analysis that will help you figure out which one would be most beneficial.

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January 17, 2021

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