Given that Brainbroker is a marketing agency, one, or possibly both of your eyebrows may have risen somewhat at the title of this article. You might expect a lengthy article about the Benefits of digital marketing agencies and a short dismissive section on internal teams?

You’d be wrong! We’re going to cover the strong parts of both approaches but to avoid any doubt, our conclusion is firmly that companies with less than 100 employees should be using external agencies to manage their marketing. If you have any doubts about this conclusion, read on and challenge yourself to find any flaw in the logic we lay out and if you still think you need to make a Marketing hire make sure to check out our recent article: Questions to ask a digital marketer before you hire them.

If you’re not sure what precisely Marketing agencies do then check out our digital marketing solutions which are broadly representative of any full-service agency you would likely encounter although be weary of agencies that only specialise in one or two things as they may be pushing you down a digital channel you have no business being in when there are more effective alternatives.

Full breadth of marketing skills?

A marketing agency is typically composed of many different professions: copywriters, email marketers, social media experts, coders, graphic designers, SEOs, A/B testers – the list goes on. When you hire an agency you have all these skillsets available to you. Some agencies (including Brainbroker) are so appreciative of the various nuances between industry to industry, company types, marketing platforms, marketing tools, product types -leading to the plethora of marketing funnels out there – that they (and us) cultivate large networks of freelancers to contact should a specific piece of knowledge be required not currently held by the team. Our article on why the top digital marketing agencies use freelancers further explains the benefits of digital marketing consultants to agencies. It goes to show just how important it is to keep the widest variety of marketing skills available to any marketing effort.

Of course, you could find an in-house marketer with all these skills too – but it’s not likely, and if you did, they would probably cost the Earth. Each of the skills mentioned above could require 2 years study to know what you’re actually doing. In our experience, if you aren’t paying £60,000/year for a digital marketing executive, the chances they’re going to transform your marketing game is next to zero.

Multiple in-house marketers?

Larger firms may decide to hire several people, rather than one, to cover most of the marketing bases. This could work but would cost big in terms of salaries, pensions, maternity/paternity leave, sick pay, and of course Christmas office party cocktails. And even then, a three-or-four person team would be unlikely to field every marketing skill required, which could mean occasional farm-outs to marketing firms anyway.

 

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A dedicated in-house marketing team may make sense for a company of several hundred employees – but bear in mind that even huge tech firms like Microsoft and Symantec farm out marketing work to a roster of agencies, invariably through an in-house marketing manager.

The benefits of digital marketing agencies

Compared to an in-house team, an agency is likely to be more cost-effective, not least because they offer flexibility: you can ramp up or wind down the services you need, as necessary. You can work on a retainer or a project-by-project basis. What’s more, the tricky business of hiring (and firing) marketing personnel is safely out of your In-Tray. With in-house employees, you need to make sure they have work to do every working day of the year – and that they are actually doing it!

For some businesses, a happy medium is hiring an in-house marketer – perhaps with other duties in a given enterprise – who liaises with and works alongside a marketing agency. This gives the business maximum benefits of digital marketing expertise and an internal person that’s accountable too.

Focus on your core business

Marketing is a job in itself (well, we would say that), but those who bring marketing in-house sometimes find it to be a bruising and time-consuming experience.

However, when you farm out your marketing activities to a professional agency, you’re freeing yourself to focus on what your company actually does - and to do it better.

What about communication?

One of the chief plus-points of an in-house marketer is that they are in your office (that is unless they keep leaving teabags in the sink). This proximity could be positive since you can communicate directly with them every day, organise ad-hoc tasks, and generally keep a close eye on all marketing developments.

But marketing agencies – yes, like us – have vast experience in communicating with companies, in understanding quickly what they want to achieve – The benefits of digital marketing agencies is that they have to make it happen on time and on budget to keep you as a client. Agencies worth their salt know how to absorb all the necessary information, and are on-hand to respond to any questions or ideas you have.

While your in-house team/bod may also understand what you want, do they have the skills to achieve it?

Investment in training

A marketing agency is so-called because its employees are trained in various aspects of marketing. An in-house marketer, on the other hand, may require further training in order to accomplish certain tasks. Furthermore, with most positions only being held for a few years, you may find you need to retrain new employees all over again – at least as regards the complexities of how your business functions.

A more cost-effective in-house solution could be hiring an intern to cover marketing tasks. However, while their salary will be low, they will require on-going training and may take months or years before they’re firing on all guns (just before they scoot off to a different job, facilitated by your training).

Investment in tools and software

The same goes for specific tools and software. To establish an in-house marketing team, you may need to buy licences for all kinds of tools and programs. Agencies have them already, and if they need additional ones, they wont be sending you the invoice.

Partner Perks

As an SME, your spending on marketing platforms is likely to be rather low in the scheme of things. This means organisations such as Google AdWords, BingAds, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others have little time for you. But agencies have ad spends running into the hundreds of thousands, which means they get partner perks like direct contact – which results in problems being solved much faster than for Joe Bloggs. Benefits of digital marketing agencies extend also to game changing perks such as alpha or beta testing of new software, access to which may be granted to clients; and they generally enjoy more attention from the platforms, because those platforms want such big accounts to succeed.

The benefits of an external perspective

When you offer a very specific service, it’s easy to get caught up in industry jargon and to lose sight of your customers’ needs. In reality, customers don’t much care for the mechanics of how your business is run, only in how your offering can benefit them. Because agencies deal with numerous clients, day after day, they can quickly see how brand messaging can be tweaked – and sometimes completely overhauled – so that customers are engaged much more quickly.

The bottom line 

The benefits of digital marketing is all about boosting your revenue. While an in-house marketer may suit some smaller outfits, the benefits of working with an agency are clear. Access to a vast skillset, supreme flexibility, reduced hassle and paperwork – and the peace of mind that you’re working with a team connected to the throbbing heart of contemporary marketing – a field of expertise that, when done properly, can super-charge your bottom line.