In-House vs Agency Marketing: Which is Better For You?

In House vs Agency Marketing: Which is better for you?

Do I hire an in-house marketing team – or work with a marketing agency? This question has come to vex business owners and CMOs as digital marketing has become the best strategy to grow a business. As an agency that supports in-house marketing teams, as well as providing full digital marketing services, we understand these challenges.

…So, what should you do?

Well, the right decision depends on your ultimate goals and what’s right for your business.

There are a number of problems that businesses face without the right marketing team, including ROI, communication, and digital shifts/scaling. When considering hiring an advertising agency vs in-house team, it’s key to understand that each one has different ways of solving these problems and helping you meet your goals.

An agency provides the opportunity for marketing and advertising to be outsourced to a team that you pay to do your advertising. You may not have to think about it as much, but it does mean that marketing will be one step removed from your company.

Meanwhile, companies with in-house advertising have the convenience of a team that can be accessed anytime but must be carefully hired and maintained by your business.

What Is In-House Advertising?

Companies with in-house agencies assemble a marketing team to develop, manage, and sustain a digital marketing strategy that best fits their business.

In-house marketing team structure and size can vary depending on the scale of a company. Whether you need to hire an individual or a large team will be based on the amount of work you need to be done.

For a fully functional in-house team, there are a few primary roles that must be established:

  • Social media
  • Content creation
  • SEO
  • Analytics
  • Acquisition
  • Product marketing
  • Web design

The key benefit of working in-house vs agency includes having a team under your control, who has brand familiarity, is accessible at all times, and is focused on your brand only. Companies that desire the constant intermingling of business and advertising –and who can afford to hire a number of people to build a strong team– may go this route.

What Is A Digital Marketing Agency?

An agency provides a full range of marketing services all under one roof, allowing a business to outsource its marketing to a professional external team.

The structure of an agency can be vast. Agencies have full, cross-functional, specialized teams to cover entire departments like:

  • Creative
  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • SEO
  • Analytics
  • PPC
  • Customer support
  • Finance.

Why do companies use advertising agencies? The advantages are abundant. Outsourcing advertising to an agency means you get to choose from the best companies with top-notch skill sets, software, and tools, who have diverse capabilities at a lower cost than hiring an in-house team.

When a business weighs their options between an external agency vs in-house agency and chooses to go external, it’s usually because they want to outsource their marketing to a trusted source and may not have the cash flow or expertise to hire their own internal team.

Advertising Agency vs In-House: Pros and Cons

When it comes to your business and advertising, making the decision between choosing a digital agency vs in-house marketing is absolutely critical. The right team can help your business grow, reach more potential customers, and increase revenue. Both external and internal marketing come with their own list of opportunities and limitations.

What is your budget?
What is your expected ROI?
What are you trying to achieve with advertising?

These are just a couple of important questions to ask as you make your way through the selection process. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of inhouse advertising.

Pros and Cons of In-House Advertising 

The advantages and disadvantages of in-house advertising are prolific.

On one hand, having a full internal marketing team means that all of their time and energy revolves around your business only. You get to hand-pick an entire team whose skill set is exactly what you need so that if required it can be stacked in particular areas that will benefit your business most.

Your internal team will be able to develop a critical and deep understanding of your competitors, maintaining your role as a fierce player in your industry. As an in-house team, they will physically be in the office, available at all times, and adaptable to changes in schedule.

Pros of In-House Advertising

  • Focus
  • Specific Skill Set
  • Competitive Knowledge
  • Availability and Adaptability

On the contrary, a hand-picked staff takes a lot of time and effort to hire which means there is greater opportunity for turnover – leaving holes in your team until you can find another high-quality professional. Relying on a limited number of people for everything you need can lead to overburdening your team and hurt your overall outcomes.

Marketing requires naturally creative minds that thrive on change. An in-house agency focused on your brand alone may stagnate creatively unless you build a culture that counters that from the beginning.

Finally, hiring an entire full-time team creates an awful lot of cost that you need to be prepared to take on. The average wage in advertising is $67,970 per year and that’s just for one person. Doing your research to know how many people you need –and calculating your expected ROI– is very important.

Cons of In-House Advertising

  • Turnover
  • Overburdening
  • Stagnation
  • Cost

Pros and Cons of Advertising Agencies 

There is a long list of benefits associated with an agency vs in-house marketing. This is no surprise when you consider that an increasing number of companies are choosing external ad agencies over the in-house option.

Why is that?

For starters, agencies vary widely in expertise. Whether you’re looking for an agency that specializes in one particular aspect of marketing or one that can help you overhaul your current marketing strategy and develop and maintain something entirely new, you have your pick. Each agency marketer works with diverse accounts, which keeps them aware of industry trends and ensures their creativity remains fresh.

The many moving parts within an agency allow them to smoothly scale to your business as your advertising needs change throughout the year. Finally, a primary factor for many businesses is cost. Agency pricing depends on your needs and will cost far less than hiring a full marketing team.

Pros of Outsourcing Advertising

  • Varied Expertise
  • Creativity
  • Scalability
  • Cost

There are also disadvantages to external marketing. Although an abundance of agency options exist, they aren’t equally dispersed. The perfect agency may not be local, or even in the same time zone. Some are known to work with so many clients that they leave you feeling neglected.

With this in mind, make sure to look for a client-focused agency. Outsourcing marketing can also require a looser grip on control. Some business owners enjoy relaxing their control over marketing (and having one less thing to focus on), while some find it tough to trust an outside source. Trusting in your agency will decrease the opportunity for tasks to get backed up. Given that you aren’t their only client, it can be harder for them to adapt and pivot on a plan with short notice.

Cons of Outsourcing Advertising

  • Location
  • Multiple Clients
  • Control
  • Adaptability

Which Is Better For You?

At the end of the day, the list of pros and cons of outsourcing marketing is equal in length to those of marketing in-house. Choosing simply depends on how each aligns with your business.

A large company, with a strong sense of their brand and a lot of money to invest in talent to build a team of expert in-house employees, would absolutely thrive if they chose to go that route.

On the flip side, any company with a smaller advertising budget would find an agency to be the most beneficial choice.

Eva Dixon, Director Of Marketing at Kipsu, explains how her company recently transitioned from agency to in-house and pros/cons they experienced at both levels.


There many things to consider as you decide what the right choice is for your business. ROI is among the most important and it can be hard to predict. Get your business on the right path by using our budgeting calculator to visualize costs and predicted ROI for hiring an agency vs in-house team.

We Can Help You Decide

Weighing the benefits of working with a digital marketing agency vs in house can be overwhelming, but we have plenty of resources to make it easier. If you want to learn more about working with a client-focused digital marketing agency, explore our services or blog.

Augurian is a digital advertising agency with additional specialist services for consulting in-house marketing teams. Ready to discuss your needs for in-house or agency marketing? Reach out to an Augur today and discover how we can help.

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