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In-House vs Outsourced Marketing: Pros & Cons

The age-old pursuit of customer attention now takes place in a fast-paced, constantly changing, technological playing field. There are dozens of places to connect with your audience, but identifying the best ones for your business and managing multiple marketing channels takes a lot of time, expertise, and creativity. And that coveted attention is fleeting, so when you do get in front of your audience you better have a great message to share, coupled with recognizable branding that lingers after the customer clicks or scrolls away. The diversity of skill sets and volume of work required in this daunting new landscape leave a lot of internal marketing teams feeling shorthanded. Businesses are weighing the benefits of seeking outside marketing support versus adding full-time employees to their departments, and there are key factors to consider.

1. What is the make-up of your current internal marketing team?

Marketingencompasses many sub-specialties: social media management, branding, web design, content development, SEO, graphic design, and data analytics to name a few.  Marketing is complex and the domains of expertise that fall under marketing will continue to be specialized.  If you already have a sizeable in-house marketing department with a diverse set of skills, you may be just one or two people away from successfully covering all of your company’s needs. In that case, it might make sense to incur the cost of adding full-time employees to get your marketing goals met. Even then, it could prove worthwhile to explore the comparative cost of supplementing a missing core skill or lightening the overall work load of the marketing team through outsourcing, and then evaluate the better option for your company.

For businesses with fewer marketing team members who are juggling a variety of responsibilities, outsourcing is a valuable tool to leverage. Companies with limited marketing resources who ask employees to wear multiple marketing hats often lead to frustration and missed opportunities. Partnering a small in-house team with a highly skilled team of experts quickly makes a company’s marketing efforts more robust and multi-faceted, ensuring that all tasks are handled by full-time marketing experts. The same logic applies to a small company looking to tackle marketing without internal marketing personnel in place. The cost of hiring a large enough team to manage a successful multi-channel marketing plan is extensive, and entirely avoidable if they instead tap into the resources of a marketing provider with a full complement of experts.

2. How quickly do you want to expand marketing efforts?

Companies need to be nimble and reactive when a new opportunity arises, and when marketing efforts need to be scaled quickly, partnering with an outside marketing company can be an ideal solution. Growing a marketing team through recruitment and hiring takes time, which could be costly. Having an existing relationship with an external marketing partner can be a real asset when a quick turnaround is critical. Lead time to getting a project up and running would be measured in weeks with an external partner, compared with months for recruiting, hiring, and training.

3. Is the marketing need ongoing or project based?

Often a company’s need for expanded marketing resources is temporary or for a one-time project, which makes hiring additional FTEs problematic. Third party marketing providers are a great source for individual projects or short-term amplification of marketing agendas. A business looking to refresh its brand or redesign its website may find that outsourcing the work is preferable to on boarding a new employee.

Whether as an extension of an internal team or a completely outsourced marketing department, external marketing providers fill key roles for all types of businesses. They offer access to a team of specialists who stay up to date on the latest and greatest marketing trends, and can cater to a company’s needs in terms of selection and scope of services and timeframe of execution. If your marketing wish list is outpacing your team’s capabilities, TMC can help you close the gap and put your plans into action.

And stay tuned for our next blog on questions to ask when hiring an outsourced marketing firm. Until then take a look at The top 5 reasons you should outsource social media management.

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