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In-House v. Agency: Why Not Both?

We’ve sat on the sidelines for too long watching top executives and managers duke it out over the benefits of working with an in-house marketing team versus an outside agency. It’s time to settle the score. 

How do you determine if your company should work with an in-house marketing team versus an outside agency? Well, it’s not necessarily a clear cut answer and we’re going to make the case for both. 

When companies are looking to unveil their next big innovation or launch a new product, they want something bold and brilliant, but most importantly something that will be successful. Cue the dollar signs. With so much at stake, executives often feel torn on whether or not to stick with their in-house marketing team or work with an outside agency that comes with all the bells and whistles. 

1. The Case For Sticking With Your In-House Team

If you want to play it safe, or if efficiency is the name of the game, then stick with your in-house marketing team. When you use the team already at your disposal you save yourself time and additional expenses. Think about it, an in-house team already knows the company inside and out. You save time because you don’t have to educate an outside team that hasn’t been privy to the company’s business model, culture, and values. 

Working with your in-house team often gives you more control over the process and outcome. In-house employees are at your managers’ beck and call, leading to tighter oversight. Working with an outside agency means relinquishing some of that control. 

It’s not a given, but working with an in-house team can mean a faster turnaround on projects. Your team has the technical know-how of the company, understands its values and systems, and has a high motivation to steward company success. There is also the benefit of strong and consistent brand messaging because an in-house team intimately understands the company’s identity and can promote cohesive branding because they are familiar with all touchpoints. 

2. The Case For An Outside Agency

You came knocking on the door of an agency because you’ve hit a wall in your marketing strategy or are looking to launch a new product. Remember the creative gravitas, marketing brilliance, and innovative research that an agency offers. You get to pick the brains of the top marketing experts! 

Also, working with an agency is like a one-stop-shop for all your marketing efforts. Agencies are stacked in all areas of marketing, deeply benefitting your company when it comes to customer research and insights. You came knocking on their door because you know they have something you’re missing. Bring in an outside firm for a fresh look at your brand strategy, consumers, and the market. An outside firm brings a new perspective and methodology to understanding your audience, the core of your brand strategy. 

Outside agencies are also known for attracting top creative talent. When you contract with an agency, your company has access to that creativity, energy, and diversity. Your in-house team lacks the creativity and flexibility of an outside agency. They’re often stuck in the same workflows and lose some of their creative ingenuity. Use the Hollywood Model and handpick specialists from the firm you’re contracting with to meet your company’s specific marketing needs. 

Lastly, paying an agency can yield big results for your company. When an agency is being paid to specifically execute on a project the motivation is high because the pay is directly tied to performance. Yes, you are paying for an agency in addition to your in-house employees, however, the cost of working with an agency will be lower than taking on a new employee at your company (salary, benefits, technology, etc.). Consider the opportunity for explosive growth when contracting with an agency, like FacilitySource experienced when Cult worked with them to develop their brand strategy. 

A third-party marketing agency focuses on one thing, executing brilliant marketing strategies. Lean on an agency to glean from their marketing best practices. An agency’s years of experience and expertise help eliminate any roadblocks in executing a successful marketing strategy for your company

3. The Case For A Hybrid Model

There are clearly benefits to keeping your company’s marketing efforts in-house and maintaining tight reigns on the brand, creativity, and resources. However, an outside agency has the potential to bring unbridled creativity, energy, and insights into your brand. 

Consider developing a hybrid model, keeping some work in-house and leaving the strategy, insights, and execution to an outside agency. The combined brand and business know-how of an in-house team with the creativity and innovation of an outside agency makes a powerful combination. Competitors better watch out because your brand is about to make some serious waves. 

Learn more about how Cult works with brands to kill it both strategically and creatively.