Working with a marketing agency vs in-house - Striking a balance

Apr 3, 2019


We all love that feeling of success when it gets to Friday, your to do list is complete and you have just nailed that big project you’ve been working on for weeks. But, how often does it actually happen like that? Rarely. This is why working with a marketing agency can be an amazing tool to get you ahead of the game and increase customer satisfaction every time. 

Some companies look to agencies to fill knowledge or skill gaps that they simply don’t have. For example, video production, a niche area that requires a large amount of skill and a lot of  professional equipment. Some companies may also need to outsource a whole project that they simply don’t have the resource or time for. This can cover a whole array of skills within a marketing agency, such as: web design, web development, content writing and content promotion. 

How do the stats stand now?

A survey of 1,021 UK employees carried out by a digital marketing agency, ‘Marketing Signals’, showed that more than 42% of UK businesses don’t handle their marketing in-house. They found that for most companies it’s an area of expertise that they’d prefer to outsource. 1 in 3 employers say they can’t find someone qualified for the role and 35% say they don’t have the resource for it internally. Interestingly, they also found that 1 in 3 said they prefer to outsource their marketing to benefit from the expertise and skills of external marketers. This is something that agencies pride themselves on - a diverse range of specific expertise.

The marketing sub category least likely to be handled in house was found to be digital marketing - 63% choosing to use an agency, with Social Media marketing at 59% close behind. In many cases social media marketing is actually part of a digital marketing agency’s expertise anyway.

The benefits of working with an agency

It’s easy to fall into the trap of rushing to meet a deadline and producing work that just isn’t up to your usual standard, that you wouldn’t be proud to show. So, one of the main advantages of outsourcing is time, you can have access to the skills you need quickly, with the confidence that the agency will provide high quality work to meet your deadline. A strong factor in being a successful marketer is providing unique and creative content that stands out from the rest. This can be in the form of videos, expertly crafted blogs and long form content that is likely to get shared and spark some sort of conversation. These tasks can’t be performed half heartedly, neither can they be rushed and if they are, it’s guaranteed that they will perform poorly. Outsourcing your marketing to an agency will eliminate this risk and ensure you create high quality content every time.

When you hire a new employee you have an on-boarding period. Granted, if you hire a marketing manager with 15 years experience this period will be significantly shorter, but there will still be a stage needed to become familiar with the company, as each company has different processes. Outsourcing removes this period as the agency you hire will be up to speed and ready to produce high quality work immediately.

A huge perk of working with an agency is that you’ll often find people who are extremely knowledgeable and skilled in very niche areas. They often use tools and have skills that you have never heard of before, and this can have a huge impact on the quality of work they produce. Digital marketing is too complex for one sole person to be a master of everything. You have paid search specialists, social media professionals, content writers, the list is endless. In order to achieve all of this in house, you would need to hire a whole new marketing team as it’s near impossible to find one person with this full range of skills to hand.

The pitfalls of working with an agency

Choosing the wrong agency:

It’s important to do your research before settling on a marketing agency. Often agencies will have certain specialities that they like to focus on. This could be SEO and PPC, while others are less metric focused and specialise on areas of inbound marketing such as, content creation, copywriting and blogging. Your goals may not always align with with the agencies goals. This is something that can only be overcome by doing your research and speaking with multiple agencies to make sure your objectives are clear. The right agency will work in partnership with you and ensure that you are both working towards the same end goal. 

Loss of control:

Something that can put companies off using marketing agencies is that they like to keep all business operations under their own roof. This often comes down to trust and taking a leap of faith, It can be a big step to hand over responsibility to someone new with no investment in your company. However, agencies are professionals and pride themselves in creating high quality work and building a strong reputation for what they do. However, if this is a concern there are steps you can put in place if you are concerned about quality control, such as always opting to have final approval on content.

So, how can you tell if you need to outsource a project or task?

If employee turnover is a problem then it’s best to go with an agency and this is definitely true for smaller businesses. Bigger businesses should have a lot more to offer employees and therefore should have a lower turnover. If you’re confident you have a strong team behind you then you should be okay, however, if you know that losing an employee would hurt you then it’s best to use an agency.

The most prevailing perk of hiring an agency is that they offer an amazing range of skill diversification. Each person working in an agency will have their specific set of expertise that they can put forward and this can put you way ahead of the competition when creating amazing content that you can be proud of.

There are many reasons why businesses choose to work with an agency, and also many reasons why they want to keep their marketing in-house. Both have their advantages and drawbacks especially when deciding which way you want to grow your business. However, agencies can offer you that added element of skill and expertise that will help you to stand out amongst the competition and get you ahead of the game.