Inhouse vs Agency: 5 Easy Rules to Help You Get it Right

by David Lawrence on 
May 15, 2022 | 
Digital Marketing Strategy
David Lawrence

You’re sitting at your desk with ever-increasing targets, a seriously inadequate marketing budget and a whole bunch of challenges within channels which, if you’re honest, you’re not confident you’re 100% on top of.

You know it’s time to make a change, but where do you start? Do you create or expand your in-house marketing team or is it time for an agency? Read on to weigh up the pros and cons of the age-old question of in-house v agency and be equipped to make your decision with confidence.

There are pros and cons of in-house & agency marketing teams - check them out below!

inhouse vs agency diagram

So how do you know what's going to work for you and your company?

Like most things in marketing the answer is that it depends. To make it easier, we’ve developed five rules that will guide you through the key issues and decisions. Are you struggling to execute your marketing plan with current resources? Read on!

Rule #1: It doesn't have to be in-house v agency

Smart marketers and smart companies know that using a combination of in-house and agency resources can give you the benefits of both approaches and remove many of the drawbacks in the table above.

We see firsthand the real barriers to success when a client has no in-house marketing resource. They often struggle to get things done or communicate the valuable knowledge needed to do the best work. We also win a lot of new work from companies who have been trying to do it all in-house and really struggled.

Rule #2: Always have a clear strategy

 Successful, sustainable and predictable marketing requires solid digital marketing objectives. Strategy is knowing what you intend to achieve and developing a clear plan for how to use your finite resources to get there.

Before you start reaching out to marketing agencies or researching how to find an SEO company, you first need to develop a clear strategic plan. Be honest with yourself at this stage, do you have the experience, skills and time to develop an effective strategy in marketing in general or digital specifically?

If you’re short on genuine strategic skills, then teaming up with an agency right now might be an excellent investment that will pay off big time for you.

Rule #3: Know what you're good at

You might be good at managing events, organic social posts, developing great content and creating incredible email campaigns. There are probably also things you’re not so hot at. Typically, we find things like marketing strategy, SEO, PPC, Social Media Adsand creative are areas where a lot of in-house teams struggle for best of breed results.

You need to cast a critical eye over what you do. It might be time to move some activities to external experts who live and breathe this stuff every day. Get it right and the results will make it worthwhile (and you’ll look really smart to everyone watching).

Rule #4: Use agencies for scale

Marketing plans change, and new plans bring with them new focuses. You might need less of something you currently have. You also might need a lot more of something else. You might also now need something you have no idea about at all.

Going to external agencies to scale up or scale down on fixed internal resources makes a lot of sense. It’s pretty much always quicker and very often cheaper than making the same changes to a team of full-time in-house marketers.

We see a lot of excellent in-house teams ‘owning’ a selection of core marketing functions and then working with agencies like us for everything else. This also frees up your time to focus on those channels that you excel at more than others, ultimately driving better results across the board.

Rule #5: Approach agencies as expert partners

You might think this is a little self-serving, and you’d be right! But believe me when I say that the most counter-productive thing we see is when a client comes to us and dictates direction and execution. Rather than this being a sign that the client is a true expert, it tends to be a sign that the client is well and truly out of their depth.

If you’ve made the decision to spend good money on an agency, let them do what they do best. Work with them as an expert partner. There will be things that only you know about and your agency should care deeply about your knowledge in these areas. But there will also be things your agency will bring to the table if you’ve picked the right agency and you work with them in the right way.

Want to learn more?

Recruiting great marketers is tougher than ever before. For powerful insights into hiring talented marketers, join our Co-Founder, James Lawrence in conversation with Alicia Lykos, Founder of Red Wolf Group, a Talent Optimisation Consultancy in Sydney. Together they’ll discuss what’s working best in the current market when it comes to recruitment.

And if you’d like to hear from an in-house marketer on the pros and cons of in-house versus agency, James catches up with Racquel Collard, Marketing Manager of 4Cabling Australia.

Listen to the episode here:

If you’ve got any questions, then get in touch. We’d love to have a chat!

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David Lawrence
Managing Director and Co-Founder | Rocket Agency

David Lawrence is the MD and Co-Founder of Rocket, an award-winning Australian digital marketing agency. He is also the co-author of the Amazon #1 best-selling marketing book 'Smarter Marketer'. David has presented at several events including Inbound, Search Marketing Summit, Mumbrella360, CEO Institute and a variety of seminars and in-house sessions.

David has built his expertise from a diverse career, starting with an economics degree before jumping into all things web in the late 90s.

Today, David is Rocket's Managing Director and is known for his ability to find clarity in the bigger picture. He is highly respected as a digital marketing authority, sharing his expertise with an extensive network here in Australia and around the world.

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