Agency vs In House Marketing: Which is Best for Your Business?

September 7, 2021

As a business owner, the approach you take to your company's marketing strategy will be entirely unique to your needs. Whether you are a start-up or a well-established company, marketing should be top of mind if you want to succeed and grow your business. 

There are two options available to you when it comes to marketing support. You can work with a marketing agency or hire an in-house marketing contractor. 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option to help you decide which is best for your company.

in-house vs agency

The Team vs The Individual 

In most cases, in-house marketing will only consist of one or two individuals. It is rare to see an entire team of marketers in-house for a small to medium-sized business. An in-house marketer will be expected to take on all aspects of a company's marketing. Everything from social media, content creation, PPC, and graphic design to strategic planning, reporting and web development will all be under the in-house teams’ domain. 

If this sounds like a lot to take on, it is, and it means that those who are working in-house require a vast breadth of knowledge about all aspects of marketing. 

Conversely, a marketing agency consists of an entire team of specialists, with multiple people working towards the same goal for you.

An agency provides not just a single copywriter but multiple copywriters with eyes on a single task. We have multiple web developers, graphic designers, and project managers to ensure everything is ready on time. 

These highly skilled individuals are each specialists in their fields, their knowledge and experience combine to take a more in-depth approach when it comes to assignments. An agency truly has everything when it comes to skilled talent when compared to in-house contractors who are most often just a single person. This can be overwhelming for in-house marketers and tasks can slip through the cracks as a result.

agency vs in house

Access to Tools, Resources and Equipment 

The old saying ‘an artist is only as good as their tools’ rings true here. Marketers require several different tools in order to properly track and finish the work they need to do. Most of these, such as subscriptions to Adobe, reporting tools, scheduling tools, website plugins and SEO platforms all come with a steep price tag. 

Marketing agencies have access to all of the tools they need to get their work done at a high level of accuracy and the cost is covered in the agency’s overhead. 

In-house individuals will likely not have access to agency discounts, which are important when it comes to some of the more costly tools used in marketing today. Additionally, It is likely that an in-house individual will have to sell the tools internally and justify the cost, whereas in an agency that cost is already accounted for and the team will be using top-of-the-line reporting and graphics tools to get you the best possible results. 

The cost of tools also includes the cost of equipment such as laptops and monitors. In-house marketers may require upgrades to their resources as a company expense, whereas an agency will not charge clients for the cost of their new tech. 

Ultimately marketing agencies have better access to resources, and internal marketing teams may have to push for upgrades and access to the software they need to do their jobs effectively.

agency vs in house

Inspiration and Creativity 

A marketing agency will constantly be experimenting and testing new things to help you achieve your bottom line more effectively. From A/B testing to copywriting and website changes, agencies are constantly chasing new ideas. This can largely be seen as a result of a team atmosphere. In a team, there are more creative ideas and opportunities to make them happen. 

In-house contractors can fall victim to complacency, due to a lack of change. They are focused on one client and at times, it can be difficult to come up with new and innovative ideas when you are deeply entrenched in one perspective. Without a team to share ideas and suggestions for improvement, it’s hard to evolve. The company can suffer as a result if outdated ideas are used to guide the marketing strategy in-house.

agency vs in house

The Cost of a Marketing Agency vs In-House Contractor

The cost of hiring an in-house contractor vs a marketing agency can vary greatly depending on what you as a company are looking for. However, it is not something to overlook. 

To start, most agencies have tiered cost plans. This means that they have different levels of involvement and engagement, depending on your needs. This is ideal for businesses that are looking to start small and grow with their marketing. It’s also an excellent option for companies that are only looking for a single upgrade such as a website re-design. In an agency, the cost of tools, equipment and upgrades such as courses and programs are covered, so you’re just paying for the marketing itself. 

An in-house contractor will likely be a salaried employee, or they will require a contract for a set amount of time. When you consider the cost of a salaried employee, raises or bonuses, along with the cost of equipment such as computers, cameras and software, in-house work can ultimately be more expensive. 

Pros of a Marketing Agency 

  • Access to an entire team of specialists 
  • Tools and equipment needed to get the job done 
  • Cost-effective 
  • Wide breadth of knowledge 
  • Constant new ideas 

Pros of an In-House Contractor 

  • Specialized knowledge of your product 
  • A generalist - can wear multiple hats 
  • Great for small businesses 
  • Ideal for those getting started

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Choose What is Best for Your Business 

At the end of the day, you as a business owner need to choose what’s best for your company. In some cases, companies that are just starting out may use in-house marketing to get started, but when they want to level up, they have the option of working with an agency to really bring their marketing to the next level.

It is up to you to assess your needs and determine which aspects of marketing you need most for your business. The team at ElementIQ would be happy to help you learn more about what an agency can do to help leverage your existing marketing assets and create a strategy for growth.

marketing agency

The Elements in ElementIQ

The team at ElementIQ has serviced hundreds of clients across North America for over 10 years. We specialize in everything from SEO, PPC, and social media marketing, to website design, hosting, graphics, and strategy. Our team has grown dramatically over this time as we have taken on a variety of different clients. From the dental industry to real estate and medi-spas our work encompasses a wide variety of sectors and businesses. Each of our team members represents one of several marketing specialties, or elements, that have helped us succeed.

This is not something that could be done by just one person, instead, we’ve succeeded and grown because we are a team. If you are interested in working with a marketing agency or learning more about what ElementIQ can do for you, contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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