Who Reigns Supreme – In-House Marketing vs. Marketing Agency?

Unlike the flat-pack furniture you can pick up in Ikea, marketing campaigns never take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Every individual company has unique aims, objectives and outcomes that they would like to achieve from their marketing campaign, and so campaigns need uniquely crafting, tweaking and moulding to achieve success.

To create an award-winning, goal-smashing, money-making marketing campaign, you can use a specialised marketing agency, an in-house marketing team, or if you see fit – why not use a combination of the two?

If the options are still a bit foggy for you, or if you are not sure who can benefit your company the most, here are some advantages and disadvantages that come with using an in-house marketing team and an external marketing agency.

External Marketing Agency

An external marketing agency is where you go to if you want all of your marketing requirements outsourced to a team of professionals, all under one roof. A marketing agency will commonly comprise of smaller teams, each specialising in a niche area of marketing, such as social media, content marketing, PPC, graphic design, website build and so on…

Having these smaller teams’ means that when you let an agency get their hands onto your marketing campaigns and let them take the reins, you will receive nothing but professional-standard work, the end result being a superior flourishing and most importantly, successful, marketing campaign.


  • Save yourself some money!

When potential clients request a quote from external marketing agencies, they are often deterred by the initial outlay for the proposed work. However, what they sometimes fail to recognise is that this is actually the cheaper option by far! Carrying out your marketing efforts in-house means you have to also fork out the salary for a team of marketing professionals – this comes with quite the price tag.

  • Your work will be managed by experts in all areas

A bona fide digital marketing agency won’t be made up of only one team. The optimum marketing agency should have a number of niche teams, all working together and bouncing ideas off each other to achieve a victorious 360 marketing campaign for their client as a consequence.

Rather than one or two people trying to learn a bit about a lot, external marketing companies have dedicated departments that have each become fully-qualified masters in one smaller, focused aspect of digital marketing, meaning when they work in sync, they have intense specialist knowledge across all areas.

  • Fresh, innovative and creative ideas brought to the table

Working with a digital marketing agency, or a good one at least, means you will have a constant influx of fresh and innovative ideas for your marketing campaigns. When working on the same client or campaign day-in-day-out, like you would on an in-house basis, ideas can stagnate quickly or you could repeatedly create similar campaigns. Choosing an agency eradicates this problem as there are often a number of different brains contributing to your marketing campaigns. Different brains means new ways of thinking, fresh eyes and different personal tastes and your campaigns shouldn’t plateau.


  • Lack of specialist industry knowledge

Although an agency has teams of marketing specialists who have no doubt created a number of outstanding marketing campaigns, sometimes you might just be missing that insider industry knowledge. An in-house team means your team members are exposed to the workings of your industry every day and they will hold specific industry knowledge and experience in your field that an agency will lack.

  • Is working with an agency a loss of control?

Outsourcing your marketing to an external marketing agency means not everything is going to be happening under one roof and you need to be okay with that. Some people might feel like this is a loss of control over their campaigns and work-in-progress, but not only this, if an agency thinks about the money more than their client, communication may not be instant and you might struggle to form a good rapport and personal connection with the people completing your digital marketing campaigns.

We could not stress more that if you do chose to send your marketing efforts agency-side, you must wholeheartedly trust and have full confidence in the marketing company that you select and more importantly, your assigned direct account manager.

  • Get to know the people working for you

Some companies might have had a bad experience with marketing agencies in the past and rightly so, this may have put them off going down the agency route again. I can assure you, the vast majority of us are not so bad! Before paying any fees or signing any contracts, you should have a face-to-face meeting with the agency so you get to know them not only on a business level, but a personal level, too.

Meeting in person gives you the chance to dig deeper and really understand what their specialities are, can they do it all? Or do they focus on one area and quickly brush over the rest, therefore neglecting you campaign? Is it multiple teams or one all-rounder account manager?


In-House Marketing

In-house marketing is what it says on the tin.

A business can hire one, or a team of, expert marketers to work exclusively for the brand. All marketing initiatives for this business are then carried out by the team that has been hired and no work is outsourced to a traditional marketing agency.


  • Fast communication and regular campaign updates

When in-house teams are managing your marketing, communication between yourself and the teams is often swift, usually immediate. You are able to see what is going on and the progress that is being made on your campaigns, as well as stay fully informed as and when events are taking place. Another benefit is that any issues or concerns you take with the work can be solved almost instantly which can save time having to completely re-do a campaign upon completion.

  • Full business understanding

In house teams will (or should) have a unique and personal understanding of the business in question, allowing them to put a unique and intimate spin on any marketing campaigns that an external marketing agency just would not be able to achieve. In-house teams will also have a more in-depth knowledge of the brand and the company’s mantra, allowing them to perfectly encapsulate and represent the company to the best of their abilities.

  • You have the teams undivided attention

In-house marketing teams are dedicated to one business and one business only. Account managers at an external agency will often be managing a number of projects and will have a limited amount of time per week to focus on your account. However, in-house teams are specifically hired for a company’s marketing efforts, thus giving that business and the project their undivided attention. This is beneficial for a few reasons, such as quicker turn-arounds, faster project completion, more consistent upgrades or tweaks and all new ideas that are brought to fruition do not have to be spread between a range of clientele.


  • Lacklustre work is a possibility

Although one creative focusing solely on your campaign has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks. If the dedicated account manager or creative teams become stuck in a rut, the end delivery can become lacklustre and thus less effective.  Working on the same campaign day-in day-out can become quite tiresome and that will have an effect on the quality of work and they could end up churning out campaigns that are similar to previous.

  • In-house teams are a significant expense

Hiring an in-house marketing team comes at a significant cost to a business. If you have a larger scale business or want your campaigns to be the best they can be, you will need a diverse group of people, each who specialise in a different area of marketing. Both of these instances require a team of people and not just one, running your costs up to thousands every month.

People can sometimes be perturbed by the initial outlays and running monthly costs of a marketing agency, but these monthly and overall fees are extremely minimal when compared with hiring an in-house marketing team, ESPECIALLY in the long run.

  • Do you have good staff retention?

It is one thing hiring your dream team of marketers, but retaining them is another. We all know this day in age that people like a change, but if a staff member is to leave, this will have a significant impact on the progression and success of your marketing campaign. You might struggle to find a new team member that meets your standards or you might struggle to find any new team members at all.

Whereas at a marketing agency, if your account member resigns, there is a whole bunch of other qualified and specialist marketer’s ready to chip in and take control of your marketing campaign until a new team member is found… you would never realise they have left!

There is no clear answer as to whether you should choose in-house or an external marketing agency and every business will have a different preference. However, when weighing up the pros and cons, it is clear to see that if you want to save money, while also having some of the best people in the field working on your marketing campaigns with fresh eyes, new ideas and the professional advice and input from other industry specialists at their disposal, choosing an agency for all of your marketing initiatives is the way forward.

If you are looking for a young, focused and creative team of digital marketing experts to lead the way on your digital marketing campaigns, contact SEM Consultants today and see how we can help you!