Bring It to the House: Should Business Bring Digital Marketing In-House?

The digital marketing scene is experiencing a shift as brands look to find ways to save on budget and reduce overhead. This often involves exploring options for services that at one point may have been outsourced to agencies specializing in areas such as digital marketing or public relations. Now, more companies are beginning to bring their work in-house, in an effort to consolidate teams as well as save on the sometimes high fees that agencies charge.

Is this a beneficial step for every business? Here are a few qualifying questions to ask before making the change to in-house work:

What’s the budget?

Budget often dictates the majority of decisions a company makes, for better or worse. This is often one of the first qualifiers to determine when making a decision to go with an agency or bring work under the company’s roof.

Agencies can handle a large workload, and their teams are full of subject matter experts and experienced professionals. The cost of hiring an agency may be higher than an in-house team, but often the costs are worth the quality as well as the quantity of the work being completed. Determining a potential ROI from hiring an agency can help narrow down the way forward if budget is a concern.

What are the goals?

What are the goals of the company for this year or the upcoming year? Where does the marketing strategy and execution need to be by a certain point in time? What determines success? These are questions to be asking when weighing an agency against an in-house team.

Let’s say that a brand is looking to pivot in the next year, undergoing a rebranding and a redesign of assets such as websites, social media platforms, and even packaging. A project of this magnitude may be best handled by an agency that has all of the tools needed in one place, rather than hiring on a separate team.

Agencies are often experienced with rollouts and launches, the success of which can really determine the ongoing success of a new brand or product. Consider what’s coming down the pipe and where the company wants to be in the next few years, and the decision may become a bit clearer.

What existing support is there?

Some companies will run with a hybrid type of model, retaining a small in-house team while also working with agencies on larger scale projects. This is often a great model to run, as long as there isn’t a lot of overlap in the work resulting in unnecessary budget usage.

Having a small in-house team, if used correctly, can alleviate some big expenses by moving smaller tasks or everyday work to this group rather than allocating it to the agency’s task list. On the flip side, however, paying an agency a retainer but not using their services can also be a detriment.

Many businesses see the benefits in bringing the majority of their work in-house. In-house teams are often closer to the work and understand the product better, and oftentimes the turnaround can be quicker than with an agency. However, the powers of agencies should not be underestimated either. The services provided by an agency are still valuable and still have their place in today’s marketing and PR landscape. The perfect fit depends entirely on each business’ needs and goals for the future.

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