If one thing can be said with certainty, it’s that you need to invest in digital marketing to succeed in the modern business world. However, what is not as certain for many business leaders, especially novice entrepreneurs, is whether or not they should build an in-house digital marketing team, or if they should outsource these task to a specialized agency. After all, it’s a matter of resources if nothing else, and you need to know that you are allocating them in the most cost-effective way possible.
Needless to say, both options have their inherent advantages and drawbacks, so it’s never really a clear-cut solution. Instead, you will need to assess the pros and cons and make an informed decision that is right for your business model, instead of doing what your competitors are doing, or worse, acting on instinct alone. Here are the key things you need to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to outsource digital marketing.
The problem of company culture
Brand culture is a big deal nowadays, what with the millennial workforce actually looking for companies they can consider a part of their life, a brand that aligns itself with their values and appreciates their contribution. So if there is a single benefit to keeping your team in-house, it’s the fact that you can safely build a company culture that will bind them, inspire them, and motivate them to work towards a common goal.
You simply can’t achieve that with a digital agency, nor should you try to. After all, they are not a part of your brand. This doesn’t however, mean that the agency will do any less of a stellar job than your in-house employees. In fact, the objective, fact-based approach an agency would take could be exactly what you need to take your digital marketing game to the next level. Never underestimate the power of bias in an in-house department.
Working with the top talent in the industry
Another important consideration is how you are going to attract the top digital talent to your company. How much money are you willing to spend to bring them over and keep them happy? How much are you willing to spend on essential digital marketing software, SEO and social media campaigns, email automation, strategy, etc.? These are some of the vital questions that should influence your decision-making process.
This is not to say that working with an agency is not an investment, but it might not be such a grand investment in the grand scheme of things. But money aside, consider the fact that the top talent in the industry resides in those very same agencies, seeing as how their job is to employ the best of the best in the field. You could find experts on your own, but an agency will immediately bring experience and expertise to the table.
Confidentiality between the brand and the agency
One of the most important considerations, a consideration that many business leaders find daunting, is the protection of business data and all sensitive information. You don’t want sensitive data to fall into the hands of your competition, or your marketing plans to leak into the public, rendering them useless and ruining your investment. Fortunately, there is a thing called contractual obligation.
No matter if you’re working with an in-house team or if you are outsourcing to a digital agency, you need to have a signed confidentiality agreement between you. You can search for standard legal binding contract templates online in order to find the right contract type for your exact needs, one that will encompass the exact requirements and nature of your cooperation so that no loopholes cannot be exploited in the future. As far as legal goes, both an in-house team and an agency are fine choices.
Maximizing effectiveness and minimizing costs
Without a shred of doubt, outsourcing digital marketing saves money, plain and simple. No matter how you approach it, the costs associated with building a marketing department, investing in talented team members, and keeping them on fulltime will set you back significantly over the course of the year. In contrast, the monthly fee of a full-service digital marketing agency can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000, which is significantly more affordable than paying full salaries, benefits, paid leave, and holidays to your in-house staff.
The other problem is productivity and effectiveness on the job. With an in-house team, your choices are limited to the talent you have, which means that your marketers, copywriters, and other team members will either do a good job, or they won’t. With an agency, though, you have the flexibility of a large and highly-experienced workforce that the company matches to the unique requirements of every client. This means that you will get a tailored service (if you invest in a good agency, that is) that will deliver results every single time. When it comes to overall cost vs. effect, the agency takes the proverbial cake.
Focusing on the crucial processes
Lastly, outsourcing is just another way to alleviate some of the pressure off your shoulders, declutter your busy schedule, and concentrate on the processes crucial to the long-term growth of your company. Basically, hiring an agency means that you’re automating digital marketing, checking on its performance once in a while, and adapting your strategy to improve on your successes. While it might seem that having an in-house team would give you more control over the entire matter, in reality it will be the agency that will build and execute a marketing strategy to perfection.
Digital marketing is the essential element of a winning growth strategy in the modern business world. With that said, it can be difficult to figure out if outsourcing of insourcing is right for you. Considering the modern industry trends, though, all signs seem to point to the fact that outsourcing is the best cost-effective decision for the majority of modern brands.
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.