Choosing an in-house marketing team or an online marketing agency: what will yield the best results for your marketing strategy?

With increasing technical developments, like AI and automation, and the faster changing consumer behavior, Online marketing has developed over the years into a complex subject. But you can’t go without to grow your business, generate more leads, and gain more revenue.

Not convinced? Then the following figures speak for themselves: where in its early years Google only had a few thousand searches per day, today no fewer than 40,000 searches per second (!) are carried out via the Google search engine.

Is your company visible online? Or is it world’s best kept secret? Then you may miss out on a lot of website visits and conversions.

To avoid that, it is clear that your company needs a specific digital marketer or team of marketers. But should you do this work yourself with a (team of) in-house marketer(s) or is it best to outsource this to an online marketing agency?

Short summary for the fast reader:

  • Online marketing agencies have a team of specialists with in-depth knowledge of various aspects of online marketing, while in-house marketers often have in-depth knowledge of the company.
  • An in-house team gives you the ability to collaborate faster across teams, but is more difficult to scale if the company is growing rapidly.
  • Online marketing agencies are often perceived as expensive, while in practice the opposite is actually true.
  • Do you want the best of both worlds? Then go for a hybrid approach to ensure the continuity of your online marketing strategy.

Start at the beginning

Before you make certain decisions regarding the recruitment of an in-house team or the collaboration with an online marketing agency, it is best to first clarify the following questions:

  1. What are my specific marketing goals and how fast do you want to reach them?
  2. Which budget do I want to make available for marketing?
  3. How much internal expertise and capacity do I have when it comes to marketing?
  4. How important is flexibility and speed of changes in my marketing strategies?
  5. How much influence do I want to exercise on the implementation of my marketing strategies?

By taking these factors into account, you can take a deeper look and start weighing the pros and cons of in-house marketing versus external marketing.

Choosing an in-house marketing team or an online marketing agency: what will yield the best results for your marketing strategy?

Some pros and cons of working with a (team of) in-house marketer(s) vs. working with an online marketing agency

Extensive knowledge of the company vs. advanced marketing knowledge

Digital marketing agencies often have a team of specialists with extensive knowledge of various aspects within online marketingsuch as search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, and so on.

In addition to executive functions, they often also have strategic marketing roles within the company. This usually makes it easier for digital marketing agencies to execute the complete marketing strategy at a technical level and to build a more complete picture of the market, unlike in-house marketers, who are often limited to in-depth knowledge in one specific domain or rather have a general knowledge of several domains that lack in-depth expertise.

In-house marketers, on the other hand, often have in-depth knowledge of the company, which is also essential to determine the right marketing strategy and the most efficient way of working. They have a better image of the possibilities within a company , whom they can consult if certain matters are not entirely clear, etc..

Since they are part of the team on a daily basis and are present in the company on a regular basis, they can also keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on within the company and – more importantly – within the target group(s) they serve.

Easier collaboration across teams vs. scalability

An in-house team gives you the opportunity to collaborate faster across teams. For example, in-house marketers can hold regular consultations with sales to find out which questions they face on a daily basis. This way it is easier to respond to your target group and adjust your online marketing plan accordingly.

Keep into account that an in-house team is more difficult to scale, while scalability is a big asset when working with an online marketing agency. Maybe you only have a few hours’ work a month to outsource. No worries. Most marketing agencies offer smaller contracts.

Do you notice over time that you need more capacity? Then you increase it from one month to the next. An online marketing agency can scale much faster and grow with your company.

With an in-house team, you must make the effort yourself to look for an extra profile and then train it.

Full attentionvs.objectivity

Where a digital marketing agency can judge your company and your marketing efforts from a more objective view, with an in-house team you have the certainty that they are fully committed to your company.

An online marketing agency will never only work for your company, which means that you will need to communicate your needs ahead of time, so they can be put in the planning. With a (team of) in-house marketer(s) you can switch much faster.

However, objectivity and the fact that an online marketing agency works for different customers ensures that they go faster and seethe bigger picture.There is less risk at a arrow minded approach.

Is an online marketing agency more expensive than an in-house marketing team?

Online marketing agencies are often perceived as expensive – but in reality, the contrary is often true.

Hidden costs are often forgotten, such as the purchase of specific online marketing tools, the training of internal employees, the entire recruitment and selection process, etc.

Online marketing agencies often already have the latest tools and technologies to measure and optimize your marketing campaigns, so you no longer have to invest in these technologies yourself and therefore save a large amount. In addition, they are specifically trained to achieve the best possible results. You therefore pay an all-in price, for which several experienced marketers work on your project.

Best of both worlds: hybride approach

As you can see, both options have advantages and disadvantages. Where the strengths of a team are in-house marketers, there are the weaknesses of an online marketing agency and vice versa.

Which choice you ultimately make depends on the marketing objectives of your company.

Do you want to continue to grow in the coming years and do you have very ambitious marketing objectives on the agenda? Then – in our opinion – you will benefit most from opting for a hybrid approach and relying on both an in-house team and an external agency.

In that case, you enjoy best of both worlds: you have an internal team that keeps a finger on the pulse of what is going on across the various teams and can consult them to gather all kinds of input, while the external agency thinks strategically and holistically and feeds you with the latest digital marketing trends.

Finally, with a hybrid approach you always have the certainty that the continuity of your online marketing strategy is guaranteed. Do you put your entire plan in the hands of one or more employees and do you part ways at a certain point? Then there is a very real chance that this person in question will take a large part of knowledge with him, as a result of which a large part of the puzzle that has already been laid will be missing.