Trying to decide between building your own in-house marketing team or outsourcing to an agency? We’ve got you covered.

In an increasingly digital world, your business needs to have a strong digital marketing strategy to ensure their business reaches the largest customer base available. Ultimately, every business is different but whether you choose a marketing agency or in-house marketing team often boils down to time and money. 

If you have the time and the budget to hire a team of individuals with varied skill sets then an in-house marketing team may be for you. Alternatively, if you are looking for a cost-effective, flexible, expert team then agency marketing is for you.

We will cover the pros and cons of each to help you consider both options.

What is the difference?

If you opt for having in-house marketing, you hire your own team members to plan and execute your marketing strategy. Choosing an agency will mean you outsource to an external team of specialists that deliver your business’ marketing strategy.

Benefits of Agency Marketing

  • Expertise. Partnering with an agency will allow you to draw on a large team with varied talents and specialties. Choosing an agency that focuses on your preferred strategy or has a background in your market will ensure the agency’s skillset matches your business.
  • Time. Because an agency has experience and a team ready to go, you will see results almost immediately.
  • Experience.  Agency skills are unmatched as they will have encountered multiple strategies and problems before. They often know more about what is best for your business and how to maximise returns.
  • Creativity. External marketing teams offer fresh, novel insights to revitalise your marketing strategy that is untainted by historical approaches and office politics. Agencies often think outside the box as they are able to apply knowledge gained from similar businesses to enhance your strategy.
  • Specialist. The agency team will have experience in meeting different objectives and working in the digital marketing field. Individuals within the agency will specialise in different areas such as social media, email marketing, CRO, SEO, web design, copywriting and more. Hiring a jack-of-all-trades or a large marketing team in-house means you compromise on value for money or quality.
  • Tools and Software. You will have all the tools that the agency has purchased at your disposal with no direct expenditure. This often means better results. 
  • Scalability. Agencies can scale to your business, shifting around your focus and goals as they change, which is more difficult for in-house marketing teams.
  • Cost. Most businesses don’t have the budget to hire a marketing team that specialise in all areas that are required to maximise profit. They also do not require hiring or training costs. Working with a marketing agency throughout the year on various projects will ensure you get the most return on your investment.

Drawbacks of Agency Marketing

  • Location. A longer chain of communication may mean decisions take longer to make.
  • Multiple clients. One of the biggest differences is that your business is not their focus. but working with a client-focused, experienced agency should not give you this feeling.
  • Control. Some agencies will work best with a bit of freedom; they know their people, they know the marketing so giving up a little bit of control could get you and your business better results than you could have imagined.
  • Relationship management. There is a risk of clashing personalities that mean you cannot work together, which will cost time and money.

Benefits of In-House Marketing

  • Familiarity with the brand. An in-house team can feel more driven and cohesive.
  • Culture. Attitudes within a single business are similar and may create content more aligned with company goals and values.
  • Location. Having your marketing team situated with your team on-site uses streamlined channels of communication and great control over marketing decisions.
  • Control. You have oversight of the whole marketing process, and are a part of decisions when they are made rather than once they have been completed.

Drawbacks of In-House Marketing

  • Time consuming. It takes time to understand the fundamental parts of marketing, and more time to specialise and master a marketing campaign. Trial and error is involved, and there is often a steep learning curve.
  • Recruitment process. alert recruitment takes up to two months for the average marketing position and is not always guaranteed. Building and maintaining and retaining marketing talent is up to the business.
  • Costly. The average salary of a marketing specialist/manager = $52,000 and an in-house marketing team will require more than one of these people.
  • Software expenses. Most marketing agencies will have these tools readily available and won’t require you to purchase them. 
  • Limited Capabilities. Agencies have access to large teams with a variety of specialties, but to create a team with diverse specialties in-house will require hiring another team member. You will be limited by individuals’ knowledge and experience of in-house marketing.
  • Balancing responsibilities. Significant time and energy may be taken away from other aspects of your business in favour of creating a strong marketing strategy.
  • Employee turnover. Not only having a negative impact on the marketing strategy, but gaps within the team will also put pressure on remaining employees.

How to find the best agency for you 

In order to make the best decision for your business and revenue, it is a good idea to choose an agency that matches you. 

Some things that you will want to consider when making your decision:

  • Client testimonials. Either find these on their website or reach out to their past or currency clients and ask them about their experience working with the agency. 
  • Don’t ignore red flags, if they are missing points of communication or are lacking information on their website, this could be transferred to your business’ marketing strategy. 
  • Review the website, you want to make sure that they’re the best at what they do so their website should sell themselves to you. 
  • Be realistic. Check out the agency’s area of expertise to see whether their skill set matches the tasks that you want to give them.
  • Compatibility check. Think about whether you would be comfortable getting a beer with the individuals you have been assigned. 
  • Use the first contract as a trial run. Do not commit long term before you feel sure that you can work together effectively.

Questions to ask about working with an agency

Make sure to create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goals when working with an agency to limit miscommunications. 

Here are some other questions you might want to ask:

  • What marketing strategies do you use for other clients and which of these have worked best?
  • How much input do you want from me throughout the process?
  • By what standards do you measure success for your clients?
  • How often do you check in with clients?
  • What tools or software do you have that would benefit my business?
  • When do you start seeing results with new clients?
  • How much do you cost? How do you charge this?
  • What was a recent failure and what did you do to change it?
  • If I would like to change my marketing strategy or focus how quickly can this be implemented?

Working with Altum Media

So, you’ve decided you want to work with an agency? Why choose Altum Media?

  • We are passionate about driving growth and loyalty for consumer brands and having worked with some of the best (Luscombe Drinks, Fish for Thought, Pipers Farm, Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, and many more) we have the experience and knowledge to grow your business to new heights.
  • We are a client-focused agency so you will never feel that we don’t value your business’ goals as much as you do. Nurturing organic and genuine connections with our clients helps us understand them and their business needs.
  • We work across similar industries, so we know what works for other businesses, using our successes and failures to benefit our entire client portfolio.
  • Specialising in creative digital marketing in Exeter, we specialise in digital strategy, content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing. 
  • Our aim is not only to engage and grow your online community, but also convert them into long standing customers.

For more information and to get the ball rolling, set up a virtual coffee with Nathan here 


Nathan Hoare

Digital expert with extensive global marketing experience