The Value of an Agency & In-House Team

By Madison Taylor
May 4, 2021
Women smiling in meeting

According to the 2017 In-House Creative Industry Report, more than two-thirds of in-house teams partner with external agencies. Under this structure, your in-house marketers can take care of the day-to-day marketing operations, focused on the organization’s overarching goals, while also utilizing the expanded expertise, bandwidth, and objectivity of an outside agency to support marketing initiatives.

If you’re searching for options to boost your internal marketing team below are some reasons an agency partnership may be the right solution.

A Broader Skill Set

Marketing is a very broad field and continues to grow in size and sophistication with the advent of new technologies, channels, and techniques. Developing an in-house team that can adequately address the shifting marketing landscape would likely require a significant investment in a dozen or more people. Partnering with an agency, however, will get you immediate access to a team already specialized in, and proficient at, multiple facets of current marketing disciplines.

Deeper Expertise

The skills of the people within an agency are not only broader but likely deeper as well. Unless your in-house team is as large as an agency, they’re likely wearing several hats — spending time in multiple areas rather than immersing themselves in the ever-shifting marketing landscape.

In this instance, a marketing agency can help you dive deeper into the potential of your various marketing channels, then leave the execution to your in-house team. By strategizing options you might not have thought of, they’ll help you derive the most value from the marketing strategies you’re using.

Cost Savings

It’s almost always cheaper to employ an agency than an in-house marketing team. Even if you spend 10 percent of your revenue on marketing, which is an oft-cited rule of thumb, that can quickly be taken entirely by employee salaries, taxes, and benefits.

In many cases, a mix of in-house and agency work is the right balance.

Less Commitment

If you’re trying to expand your marketing reach by targeting a new audience, testing a new channel, or starting a new campaign, it doesn’t make sense to hire, onboard, and train a new employee. Instead, conduct these experiments through an agency.

If the new experiment doesn’t work, then you can shift focus with the agency without much repercussion. If it does work, you might hire a full-time employee to run that campaign or social channel. Hiring and firing an employee after deciding you don’t need them is a much messier (and more costly) undertaking.

More Advanced Tools

Software costs can add up, and your company might not have the budget for advanced marketing and analytics tools. Marketing agencies use those tools on a daily basis and are tapped into the best tech, vendors, and industry connections available. If you hire an agency, you can benefit from their connections and vendors without the cost of establishing the same relationships yourself.

Scalability and Flexibility

Increasing production from your in-house team requires hiring more employees or contractors, both of which can be expensive propositions. If you work with an agency, you can ramp up or slow down production as needed on a much more immediate basis. For companies that are highly seasonal or undertaking a large, one-off project, the flexibility of an agency is hard to match.

Striking the Right Balance

The perfect combination of marketing staff is somewhere in between a full-service agency and a full in-house team. It might make sense to run a marketing department for daily deliverables, immediate needs like engaging on social channels, and acting as a point of contact to your marketing agency. For large-scale strategy, planning, and big projects, you can outsource to an agency. The perfect balance is something each company will have to find for itself.