In-House vs. Agency: How Businesses Can Make Efficiency Savings on Their Digital Marketing

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No matter the size of your business, it’s inevitable that in its lifespan you’ll need to consider how you’re going to handle your digital marketing strategy.

It’s a misconception that digital marketing is just one or two posts on Facebook or Twitter a week. Social media management is just a fraction of a much larger, cohesive marketing plan.

In reality, a digital marketer juggles reputation management, paid advertising, email campaigns, editorial calendars, analytics, and creating keyword-rich content, keeping businesses visible to their core audience.

To successfully market your business, you need a dedicated team who have the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to propel your business forward by first engaging, then converting your audience. But where do you begin?

Why Do You Need a Dedicated Marketing Team?  

Let’s start by dispelling the myth. Social media marketing isn’t as simple as handing the reins of your social media accounts over to an intern or an employee who “knows” social media and then expecting viral posts and leaps in followers.

Just ask one of the many businesses to have experienced social media blunders. It may be easy to delete a post, but you can’t erase the damage it might do to your reputation.

When you hand over control of your brand accounts, you're giving someone the power of being the mouthpiece of your business. We recently caught up with James Tabor, CEO of MEDIA Protocol, during an AMA, and he believes hiring a dedicated team is vital for the success of a business:

“There are lots of people in the startup world who hear marketing, advertising, and social media and think, ‘That's the fluffy stuff. That's the easy stuff’. Anyone who thinks that it's a simple job of banging your intern on work experience, niece, or nephew in a corner with a laptop and telling them to work this ‘Twitter thing’ out; it just doesn't happen. It's 24 hours a day.

Social INK’s CEO, Chris Bruno, agrees:

“There’s nothing easy about trying to get your branding right. There’s nothing easy about trying to build a tone of voice. There's nothing easy about making sure that you're delivering quality content, regularly, and over a set period of time. It can seem very easy to do that, in the beginning, but the reality is actually very different. We often find that companies who try to do it themselves, with an intern or a work experience student, will often end up coming back to us saying, ‘This isn't working. What are we doing wrong?’”

You wouldn’t expect someone without training or experience to run your accounts or factory machinery. So, why would you expect that of your marketing?

Specialised vs. Diverse Skill Sets

The next step to consider is whether to use an in-house marketing department or to outsource to a specialised agency.

An in-house marketing person may seem like the ideal match — someone who is physically in your office space, dedicated exclusively to your business alone, and part of the wider team, while only being a single wage.

However, it’s unreasonable to expect that one person will bring all of the skills needed to create and maintain an efficient and well-rounded marketing strategy. A well-balanced marketing team often includes a manager, content writer, SEO and analytics expert, social media manager, and a paid-ads specialist. Recruiting for these roles is often time-consuming and costly, causing a strain on two of the most common pain points of SMEs.

Chris explains why using an agency can give you the benefits of a strong marketing team, but often for less than the cost of just one staff member:

You're getting the benefit of a team but with various different specialties. Often hiring a diverse team for the price of what one person in-house would actually cost. And that one person, realistically, won’t have the writing skills, graphics expertise, or marketing knowledge at the level of a specialised team.

Hiring an agency gives you power in numbers — allowing you access to a wide range of skill sets, experiences, and perhaps most vitally in marketing, imaginations.

Marketing is an industry that’s constantly evolving, and staying nimble and adaptable is key to consistently providing high-quality content. While an in-house marketing team may develop an in-depth knowledge of your brand and industry, it can be easy for them to become stuck in that niche.

Once again the power of the team comes into play; an agency will have a wide range of people working on your branding — all with different ideas to contribute in making you stand out. Chris explains why an agency has the upper-hand in staying at the forefront:

When someone's in-house for too long, they're no longer at the cutting edge. They no longer see what other brands are doing. I'm not saying that you need to copy other brands, but you can see the pitfalls. You can see the patterns. You can see the trends and how things are evolving. That's something that you lose sight of once you're in your own little bubble and you're just focused on what you're doing.”

One of the strengths of hiring in-house is that you get to pick and choose exactly who you want for the role. But, if you take the time to find an agency who align with your values and business style, then you often get the right team for the price of the right person. Chris explains how agencies like Social INK manage to keep their prices low:

We try to keep our costs down in terms of what we're actually offering. Internally, we're a decentralised team, so we don't have the big, flashy expensive offices. We've always tried to work a little bit differently from the average agency and be less about the billable hours and more about integration with the client’s team. Our focus is everything to do with content, digital, social and advertising online. We really try to help our clients, offering them the best possible solutions — ones that truly fit in with their business and are what they actually need at the time.”

A partnership with marketing agency can really propel your brand forwards — saving you time, money, and resources while utilising the skills, knowledge, and imagination of a dedicated team to help you to stand out in the crowded online marketplace.

If you’re interested in finding out how Social INK can help your business, don’t hesitate to reach out here.

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