Digital Marketing: Should You Hire An Agency Or Hire An In-House Team?
To Hire An Agency or To Have In-House Personnel Do The Job?
This is a question a lot of medium to large organizations ask and it’s a valid one.
I will give you some clarity on the situation but let me set expectations first:
If you’re looking for a “do this, not that” type of answer, you won’t find that here.
Rather, in this article, I’m going to lay all cards on the table and give you the information you need on both sides of the spectrum to help you make the right decision for you and your company.
Ok, let’s get started.
Question: Should You Hire An Agency Or Hire People To Implement Digital In-House?
Answer: It depends.
There are Pros and Cons to each decision and I’ll get into that in a minute.
But first, there are 2 things you need to be clear on about first:
1. You need to be clear about the journey your customer goes through to actually become a paying customer
You should have a clearly defined Customer Journey that highlights how a potential client goes from unaware about you and your services to become a brand advocate.
This is something you have to figure out how it looks in your business if you don’t already know it.
2. You need to be clear on what skills are required to run the digital marketing arm of your business effectively.
The Digital Marketing landscape is ridden with so many tools, skills needed AND it is constantly changing.
This makes it a bit hard to keep up with but if I were to summarize the key skills needed, it would be this:
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Advertising
- Content Marketing
- Search Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Analytics & Tracking
- Website Design
As you can see, this is A LOT and I’m sure if I think some more, I’ll be able to come up with a few more.
The mistake most businesses make is that they try to get one or two people to do all these things without having a clear picture of what these people should be focusing on.
In fact, Brad Batesole brought it out so well in this video.
I couldn’t have said it better.
You don’t want a Jack of all Trades, Master of None. In fact, you can’t ever really find that.
Instead, have a clear goal in mind what you want to achieve with your digital marketing efforts and that will give you a clearer picture of what skills you’ll need, whether you use an agency or hire someone in-house.
Here’s a little guideline you can use:
So back to the question.
To Hire An Agency OR To Hire An In-House Team:
Which is Better?
You have 3 options:
1. Hire a team in-house that can take care of what you need entirely and equip them with the right tools and training.
This is very self-explanatory, and as I mentioned before, there are Pros and there are Cons to this.
- They work day in, day out with the company and know the ins and outs of the business and so, can interact on a personal level with clients, answer questions, give feedback etc.
- You can hold them accountable for the results they bring or do not bring in. This is all you’re paying them for and they should be able to show you results.
(Hint: It’s important to keep your eyes on Key Metrics that actually matter for your business and don’t get sidetracked chasing vanity metrics like likes, reach, impressions, etc. Those metrics have their place and are good to look at, but they should not be the primary thing you are tracking.)
- They do not work day in and day out in the business and can easily get caught up just doing the daily requirements and don’t ever seem to be able to develop new ideas and strategies that actually work.
- Their only perspective comes from your company and your industry or is limited to their own knowledge. This might not seem like a bad thing at first
- The Digital Marketing world changes fast. If you’re not on top of it, you could be found implementing strategies that just don’t cut it anymore. And this is the state about 80% of businesses find themselves in.
What Can You Do About It?
If you must choose to have an in-house team dedicated to Digital Marketing, here are some suggestions:
- Don’t be like the company Brad talked about in the video (link to it) and try to get 1 person that does it all. Look critically at what you want to accomplish and hire people with specific roles and clear job descriptions that will help you achieve your company goals.
- Invest in educating your team. You want them to be on top of all that is happening so they can give you the best and so, get them the training they require or at the very least, require it of them on at least a bi-annual basis.
This could be online training, live in-person training, conferences, and events, etc.
Our partners at DigitalMarketer make it super easy to stay on top of all that’s happening in the marketing world and you can actually plug your team in.
They have tons of courses and certifications in all the key disciplines of Digital Marketing.
We’re happy to be a Certified Partner with DigitalMarketer and can offer you a FREE Trial to access to this training.
2. Outsource to an agency and let them handle it all.
This means you basically have no Digital Marketing Department and leave it all to an external Digital Marketing Agency.
Again, this option has its pros and cons.
- This is what they do and so, they will be able to bring fresh insight to your business in terms of strategy and even implementation.
- They have all the talent and skills required within the agency and you don’t have to bother about whether they are skilled or not*
Unfortunately, this is not always true. There are hundreds, even thousands of Digital Marketing Agencies online that claim to be good at what they do but do not actually live up to this claim.
Also, there are several types of digital marketing agencies out there and each agency has its own skillset. You need to be clear on who it is you’re hiring before you do so.
3. You won’t have to pay the agency as much for the amount of personnel you get working for you versus if you were to hire these people yourself.
And I’m talking about real quality Digital Marketers. Remember that you get what you pay for. If you get a Digital Marketer willing to get minimum wage, you’ll need to know that you just might be getting a subpar quality of work.
- They do not work in your business and sometimes, it might be hard for them to understand your business, how it works, the model and interact effectively with Clients.
- You are not their only client. While they may have one or two managers assigned solely to your account, you may not always have their input when you critically need it.
- They may not be proficient in the particular aspect of Digital Marketing you are focusing on.
What Can You Do About It?
If you must choose to outsource your DIgital Marketing to an Agency, here are some suggestions:
- Use our Digital Agency Hiring Guide to help you decide what to take into consideration when hiring an agency.
- Identify & Clarify the KPIs that you will like to see and make sure they understand it.
- Make sure to clearly state and agree on Rules of Engagement so you are always in the loop and they are always in the loop.
3. Hire 1-2 in-house personnel and have them work with an agency to implement.
This option is a mixture of the previous options. This means you basically have a small Digital Marketing Department and also work with an external Digital Marketing Agency.
This allows you to get the benefits of both options and also, almost totally eliminate all the cons.
You’ll have 1 or 2 people in-house who know the ins and outs of the business and have understanding and clarity of the goals, products, and services. And they too can carry out some minimal Digital Marketing tasks.
On the other hand, you get the full experience and expertise of a Digital Marketing Agency.
Its the best of both worlds and obviously our preferred option.
However, If you decide on this model, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have both teams know each other so that they can work together as a unit and as a team.
- Have them schedule meetings regularly so they are always abreast of what is going on both sides.
- Require weekly reports on activities
- Clarify the KPIs that you will like to see and make sure they understand it.
So, there you have it. No matter what option you go with, you have the information you need to make the right choice for you.
Got questions? Leave it in the comment section below.