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In House Vs Agency

Which Is Right for Your Marketing?

Which is right for you, using an internal marketing team or hiring a digital marketing agency? Learn about the pros and cons here.

Should You Use an Internal Team Or Hire a Marketing Agency?

If you’re having trouble deciding between working with an agency or hiring in-house marketers, you don’t have to choose one or the other! An agency can work with your marketing manager to combine your industry experience with their team of marketing experts, array of external resources, and vast industry knowledge

No matter what marketing channels you’re using, digital marketing agencies can help your team develop an effective strategy and execute it with maximum ROI. They provide insights from their expertise in the industry, as well as fresh ideas that your team may not consider. Collaborating with a digital marketing agency will help you maximize your success in the digital space.

From SEO to web design and development, marketing agencies  have the expertise needed to make sure everything runs smoothly while providing insights from their industry experience. Investing in a digital marketing agency is an investment that will pay off with increased visibility, leads, and customers over time.

But how do you get started?

Using the Customer Journey to Guide Your Marketing Strategy

Man looking at website SEO metrics for agency

To begin, we’re going to show you the customer journey and break it down step by step. At each point, we’ll share the different takes marketing agencies and in-house teams bring to the table. 

We’ve found that the best growth consists of effective strategies for reaching the right people for your offer, serving them at a high level, and scaling your business over time. 

Our customer journey focuses on the entire process, from defining your ideal customer to turning them into advocates from your brand. Because this journey is so important for overall business growth, it provides an excellent framework for identifying whether you need a marketing agency or to keep your work in house.

After going through the ways agencies and internal teams impact the customer journey, we’ll go over the more logistic side of things and break out ol’ reliable: the pros and cons list.

01. Customer

02. Offer

03. Brand

04. Pages

05. Sales

06. Traffic

07. Service

08. Upgrades

09. Network

marketing process customer

01.

Customer

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. When deciding whether to use an agency or build out an internal team, it’s important to consider the customer experience at each stage of the journey and how your marketing choices will impact that journey.

In House

Chances are, an in-house marketing team has direct access to the product or service you’re selling, and a direct line to customer service (if not, you know what you need to work on). This proximity has plenty of advantages: an internal team can literally feel the product, and they hear about your offerings and ideal customers on a regular basis. 

Agency

A marketing agency may not offer the physical proximity of an in-house team, but they have powerful resources and experience when it comes to developing a strategy that connects your most profitable offering with your best audience.

Whether it’s creating customer avatars outlining your dream clients or developing a strategic Marketing Action Plan with a wealth of copy, an agency has figuring out your customers down to a science.

02.

Offer

Your offer is the key to driving sales and conversions. When it comes to crafting an offer, both agencies and in-house teams bring something unique and valuable to the table.

In House

Your marketing team likely understands what has worked and hasn’t worked in the past. Internal teams are closer to the customers than a marketing agency would be, so they will know what kinds of offers have been effective – and they can communicate directly with sales and customer service teams to learn more.

Agency

A marketing agency may not know your services as intimately as an in-house team, but they know how to create an offer that will drive conversions. Agencies have years of experience testing different offers and frameworks in countless industries. 

03.

Brand

Your company’s brand is its public face: it’s how customers understand, remember, and interact with your services. 

In House

Your internal marketing team is close to your brand, both metaphorically and physically. This proximity has its advantages: it’s what your employees are trained on, and it surrounds them on a day to day basis. 

That being said, it’s also possible, and honestly even likely, that your brand isn’t as cohesive as you think it is. We’ve worked with plenty of businesses (who have internal teams) that don’t have clear brand guidelines. They don’t have their tone nailed down, they struggle describing their best demographic in a sentence, and their website and ads don’t accurately reflect who they are. This inconsistency can undermine your marketing efforts since your customers won’t have a clear journey outlined. 

Agency

Having an agency look at your brand with fresh eyes can be extremely helpful. We all know how it feels to be too close to something: the more involved you are, the more difficult it is to see things in a new light. And when you’re not thinking creatively, you’re leaving strategies (and revenue) on the table. Agencies have plenty of expertise developing brands, and they’re familiar with how every aspect impacts the customer journey, from fonts to colors to copy. 

Although they’ll never be as closely intertwined with your brand as one of your own employees, there are plenty of ways to ensure your agency is in the loop, whether it’s setting up interviews with your customer service department to hear about why people love your brand or sending them product samples

04.

Pages

Your website’s pages tell a story to your customers. When used correctly, they’re a clearly marked roadmap. When used poorly, they give visitors a disjoined impression of your brand – and that’s costing you customers. 

In House

One of the advantages your home team has when working on pages is direct access to the site. They have all the login information they need, and running things up the chain of command for approval is easy since everything is internal. 

Agency

Digital marketing agencies excel at taking on projects your team may be too busy to handle. And when you work with a marketing agency, you’re not just adding another person to your team; you’re adding the minds of professionals in multiple different departments. Because of this, you get the best of everything on your pages. They’ll be created using SEO and UX best practices, and every page will be written by someone with experience creating content designed to get conversions

Whether you need pages to rank for relevant keywords or new landing pages that will inspire future customers to click purchase after finding your ad, an agency can manage the project from start to finish. 

05.

Sales

To get sales, you need to create a relationship that’s meaningful to everyone: those in your company and your customers. Finding shared value with your customers is crucial, and you need to make sure their entire customer journey is seamless from start to finish. 

In House

Perhaps the greatest advantage of an internal marketing team is that they have (or should have) a direct line of communication with your sales team. It’s easy for your marketing employees to connect with other teams to learn what’s working and what isn’t. They can then use that information to create new marketing materials and strategies. 

Agency

It’s your agency’s job to get you more leads, and your team’s job to turn those leads into sales. Once your leads are in your sales teams’ hands, it’s harder for your agency to control what happens next.

A good agency will request feedback from your sales team and develop a lead scoring system so they can focus on using the data acquired to refine their marketing efforts.

06.

Traffic

Your traffic is essential to getting customers into your sales funnel, and it’s one of the best ways to measure marketing ROI. Your traffic numbers can tell you how many people visited your site and where they came from. 

In House

If you’re doing your marketing work in-house, your team should be experts on the channels you use for marketing and know exactly how to best target certain audiences. They can also come up with creative ideas that will help drive more people to your site based on conversations with other teams, whether it’s blog articles or social media posts.

Agency

Agencies are particularly helpful when it comes to advertising and SEO campaigns designed to get you more traffic and qualified leads. They can create comprehensive campaigns that use multiple channels, including platforms you may not be familiar with. They also have access to more data and insight than your internal team does, which allows them to make informed decisions about the best way to target potential customers.

07.

Service

Your marketing team should support your customer service team. After all, customers should receive what they paid for and be satisfied with the service your company provides, or it could negatively impact your marketing efforts. 

In House

When it comes to delivering stellar customer service, your in-house team can be an invaluable asset. They become familiar with customer behavior, preferences, and common challenges that they can use to create better experiences on their own as well as suggest improvements to other teams.

Your team can support your sales team by creating blog posts or other resources on common questions.

Agency

An external agency may not be as closely connected to your service team as an in house team, but they can help them identify areas of improvement and craft strategies that will increase customer satisfaction.

A digital agency can also help you set up a review generation strategy to learn more about any strengths and weaknesses in the services you offer.

08.

Upgrades

Once you’ve turned your leads into customers, you need to make sure those customers keep coming back.

In House

Your in house marketing department and customer service department are key when it comes to keeping track of customer preferences and product upgrades. They can work directly with the customer to personally assess their needs and suggest upgrades or new products that might suit them better.

Agency

When you use agency marketing, they can help you keep track of customer data and use it to craft more tailored messages that give customers exactly what they’re looking for. They can also analyze customer feedback and provide your team with insight into how customers view your products and services. Marketing experts can also recommend plugins and resources to upsell or cross-sell to customers, helping you drive more revenue.

marketing process network

09.

Network

Your next goal should be to convert your happy customers into a supportive network: brand advocates who will share their experience with friends, family, and colleagues.

In House

Your internal team can be invaluable when it comes to building relationships with customers. Your sales reps should have a deep understanding of the customer journey and your in-house team can use that knowledge to create personalized experiences that show customers you really care about them and want them to succeed.

They can also use incentives like discounts and coupons to reward customer loyalty.

Agency

Agencies can help you develop campaigns that will encourage customers to recommend your product or service to their friends and family. They can come up with creative messaging that will resonate with potential customers, track their progress so you know exactly who referred who, suggest ways to incentivize customers, and reward them for their referrals.

Whether it’s creating a brand ambassador program or a private Facebook group for buyers, your marketing agency can help your business grow by engaging with customers and turning them into lifelong advocates.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency

Still weighing an agency versus keeping your marketing in house? Let’s look at the pros and cons of having an agency work with you.

Summary

Pros

On the Cutting Edge of Best Practices

Marketing agencies have to keep up with the latest trends and industry news, meaning they offer a wealth of knowledge regarding strategy and implementation.

Consistent New Ideas

If you’re only working with an internal team, it’s hard to come up with new ideas on a regular basis. A marketing agency can help you avoid the dilemma of being too close to the matter at hand by looking at your business with fresh eyes and bringing new, fresh ideas to the table.

Larger Range of Skill Sets

Most companies can’t afford to have a full stack developer, SEO specialist, content writer, paid ads manager, video expert, website designer, and a director of marketing to oversee everything.

With a marketing agency, you have access to all these different specialties, plus an account manager who will work closely with you to interpret data from your campaigns and decide what strategies to implement next.

Cons

You’re Not the Singular Focus

When you work with a marketing agency, your company isn’t their only focus. They will be working with other brands, so you can’t always count on immediate responses to questions or for them to be able to invest the same amount of time and effort into a strategy an internal team might be able to.

May Not Be At Your Location

You may never meet your agency marketing team in person, unless you’re able to find one in your area. While some people aren’t bothered by regular zoom calls, others want to have a personal relationship and the same physical location as their teammates.

More Limited Control

Although an agency will work with you to understand your marketing goals, they set the agenda. Some businesses struggle with letting go and allowing an agency to run the marketing campaign, even if the outsourced team has more marketing experience.

The Pros and Cons of Using a In House Marketing Team

Keeping your marketing work in house and outsourcing them both come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Examining the pros and cons will help make your choice easier. 

Summary

Pros

There are plenty of businesses that have an internal marketing department that takes care of everything from email marketing to ad campaigns to website maintenance. And there are plenty of advantages to having an internal team, such as:

More Streamlined Communication

When you hire an internal team, everyone you need to talk to is just a phone call, Slack message, or even a short walk away. This makes communication easier and more streamlined. When you’re using your own employees to create materials, you don’t have to go back and forth with approvals like you might if you work with an agency, making projects go faster and smoother.

Better Accountability

When you have an in-house team, it’s easier to hold them accountable. If someone drops the ball on a project, or if there’s something that needs immediate attention, it can be taken care of more quickly with internal staff since they report directly to you.

Your Brand Is the Only Focus

Nobody understands your brand quite like you do! If you have an internal marketing team, your own company is their sole focus: they’re not working on developing marketing strategies for other businesses. This can help create a more unified look and feel to your marketing materials since the team is completely devoted to one brand.

More Control

When you use your own internal team, you also have more control over your brand and marketing efforts. 

You control the process from start to finish, so it’s also more streamlined. You won’t have to schedule extra meetings to go over brand guidelines or send emails back and forth regarding approval.

Higher Accessibility

If marketing needs to talk to sales or customer service, it’s easy for them to get a meeting on the calendar. That’s usually not the case when working with an agency.

Cons

Of course, there are some drawbacks associated with having an in-house marketing team:

Difficult to Recruit Candidates

As you likely know, finding talented staff and avoiding turnover is one of the hardest parts of owning a business. It can be difficult to keep a marketing team together, and you don’t want to have to scramble to find a replacement if someone puts in their two weeks notice. 

Expensive Tools and Software

The costs of the best marketing tools and software add up very quickly. If you don’t have the right tools (or you rely on free tools), however, you often limit the work that your team can do, and you might not see the results that you’re expecting. Tools to find keywords, copy editing software, plugins, subscriptions to necessary services, training certifications – these end up costing a lot for a single business.

Hard to Scale

If exponential growth is your goal, a small team and limited resources may be holding you back. Each member of your team can only take on so many initiatives at a time. If you want to hire more people, it takes time to create a job description and vet the right candidates. Unfortunately, this means that you likely have a ton of great ideas, but they’re impossible to implement due to bandwidth issues. 

Limited Expertise

Your team members only have so much experience, and focusing on one brand means they aren’t exposed to other types of marketing work. While there are ways to supplement their knowledge like training courses and going to marketing conferences, these can be expensive.

Why So Many of Our Clients Use a Hybrid Digital Marketing System

If you’ve found yourself wishing you could have the best of both worlds, you’re not alone! We work with a lot of clients who have an internal marketing team they love already. We joke that we’re a bolt-on addition to their in house team. 

Business leaders bring us on for specific initiatives that their team doesn’t have the bandwidth or expertise to handle. We’re also constantly on the lookout for new strategies so we can bring fresh ideas that your team may not have thought of.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Can Help Internal Teams With Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing agencies can be a great asset to any internal marketing team. With their expertise in the industry, they can help with developing an effective strategy that will bring success for your business, providing insights on new trends and strategies as well as offering advice on how to optimize existing campaigns and maximize return on investment (ROI).

CM Icon Paid Search Management

Paid Ads

Sometimes running paid ads is more than an in house marketer can manage on their own. Digital marketing agencies are experienced in optimizing campaigns for maximum ROI and can even handle the day-to-day management of running ads, freeing up your team to focus on other initiatives.

CM Icon SEO

SEO

Not every team has a deep understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re looking to increase your visibility and reach in the search engines, a digital marketing agency can be invaluable. They have up-to-date knowledge on SEO best practices and can help you create an SEO strategy that will bring real results.

Content Marketing

They don't say content is king for nothing. Creating content that resonates with your target audience is essential for any successful digital marketing strategy. If you don't have the resources to create the type of content you need, a digital marketing agency can help create blog posts, video content or email campaigns –all while delivering high quality work in a timely manner.

CM Icon Design

Web Design

How you represent your business online is a key part of any digital marketing strategy, and a good web design is essential. Investing in the services of a digital marketing agency can help you create an aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly website that will attract more visitors and convert them into customers.

Email Marketing

Creating an email list and staying in touch with your target audience is a great way to grow your business, but it's often the last marketing item on the to-do list. Outsourcing email marketing can help you stay in touch with your customers and prospects while your team focuses on other initiatives. A digital marketing agency can help set up automated emails, design attractive templates, and create effective strategies that will get results.

CM Icon FB Marketing

Social Media Marketing

If your internal employees are already overwhelmed with their workload, adding social media management to their plate can be a daunting task. With the help of a marketing agency, your team can get expert advice on creating an effective social media strategy that will drive results and increase visibility for your brand. They can also manage day-to-day activities such as content creation, responding to comments, engaging with followers, and much more.

CM Icon Development

Development

Many businesses find it difficult to have an in-house employee with the right skills to handle development and coding tasks. Digital marketing agencies can help businesses with technical projects such as creating custom applications or setting up an eCommerce store.

Marketing Agency vs In House Team: You Don’t Have to Choose One

If you’re having trouble deciding between working with an agency or hiring in-house marketers, you don’t have to choose one or the other! An agency can work with your marketing manager to combine your industry experience with their team of marketing experts, array of external resources, and vast industry knowledge

No matter what marketing channels you’re using, digital marketing agencies can help your team develop an effective strategy and execute it with maximum ROI. They provide insights from their expertise in the industry, as well as fresh ideas that your team may not consider. Collaborating with a digital marketing agency will help you maximize your success in the digital space.

From SEO to web design and development, marketing agencies  have the expertise needed to make sure everything runs smoothly while providing insights from their industry experience. Investing in a digital marketing agency is an investment that will pay off with increased visibility, leads, and customers over time.

Are you ready to grow?

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