Outsourcing Marketing vs Doing It Yourself: Should You Hire a Marketing Agency?  | RedPandas Digital
Outsourcing Marketing vs Doing It Yourself Should You Hire a Marketing Agency

Outsourcing Marketing vs Doing It Yourself: Should You Hire a Marketing Agency? 

Feeling torn between outsourcing your marketing and keeping it in-house? This decision can feel like a gamble, especially when the success of your department hangs in the balance. Maybe you’re worried about the costs, or perhaps you’re not sure if an external team can truly capture the essence of your brand. On the flip side, doing it all yourself can be daunting, especially if you’re already juggling a dozen other priorities.

Feeling torn between outsourcing your marketing and keeping it in-house? This decision can feel like a gamble, especially when the success of your department hangs in the balance. Maybe you’re worried about the costs, or perhaps you’re not sure if an external team can truly capture the essence of your brand. On the flip side, doing it all yourself can be daunting, especially if you’re already juggling a dozen other priorities.  

Here’s the good news: you’re about to get some clarity.  

At RedPandas, we offer both Coaching Services to help clients do marketing in-house as well as a completely ‘done for you’ option. 

We’re not biased to either approach. Whether you keep marketing in-house or outsource is dependent on your specific circumstances and context.  

By the end of this article, you’ll understand the pros and cons of each approach, and more importantly, you’ll have a clearer idea of what’s right for your company.  

Pros & Cons of Doing Marketing Internally 

Deciding between keeping your marketing efforts in-house or outsourcing them is a significant choice that impacts not just your brand’s messaging but its overall trajectory.  

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of taking your marketing in-house.

Pros of Doing Marketing In-House 

graph of organic traffic results
Bill Ragan’s Roofing organic traffic results improved dramatically after taking their digital marketing in-house, creating a ripple effect on leads and sales. 
  1. Greater Quality Control: Having your marketing team under the same roof means a tighter grip on the quality of your marketing outputs. There’s a certain magic in having those who live and breathe your company’s culture every day steer the narrative and brand messaging 
  2. Significantly Faster Execution: Internal teams eliminate the back-and-forth that often comes with external agencies. With fewer hoops to jump through, your marketing initiatives can move from conception to execution much quicker, ensuring your campaigns are timely and relevant 
  3. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Skill Development: Taking your marketing in-house usually means you’ll need to invest in coaching and training your team. This not only equips your team with cutting-edge marketing skills but also boosts morale. Employees feel valued and invested in, leading to a more motivated and productive team eager to push your brand forward 
  4. Long-term Cost Savings: While there’s an upfront investment in training your team, this shifts to a significant cost-saving over time. As your team becomes self-sufficient, reliance on external agencies drops, and with it, the recurring costs associated with outsourcing. If your employees leave, that’s okay because the systems, processes and IP can be passed on and used by the next team members 
  5. Increased Company Value: When your marketing capabilities are internalised, they become an integral part of your company’s assets, helping to build out your systems and processes. This not only prepares your business for future transitions or management changes but also adds to its overall valuation 
image of Redpandas Head of Content, Linda D'amico and RedPandas CFO, Sophia Khan
Insourced marketing means a happier, more effective, empowered team.   

Cons of Internalising Marketing 

  1. Higher Initial Costs: If you want your team to be successful, you absolutely need to invest in quality coaching and training. This can come at quite a significant cost 
  2. Success Hinges on Leadership Buy-in: The effectiveness of an internalised marketing approach heavily depends on the support and commitment from your company’s leadership. If leadership views marketing as a ‘cost centre’ then they’re setting up their marketing team to fail. Without the backing of leadership, the transition to a self-sufficient marketing model is unlikely to take off, regardless of the team’s enthusiasm or the potential for ROI 

Transitioning to an internal marketing model through training and coaching can empower your company, making it a powerhouse of self-sufficiency and innovation.  

However, this transformation requires a forward-thinking leadership team ready to invest in its people and trust in the long-term value over short-term costs. 

 As you weigh the benefits of greater control, enhanced team skills, and cost savings against the initial investment and need for leadership support, consider what aligns best with your company’s vision and resources. 

Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Your Marketing 

Outsourcing your marketing to an agency, often through digital marketing retainers, presents a different set of advantages and challenges compared to in-house efforts.  

This approach involves hiring an external team to handle all aspects of your digital marketing, from strategy and paid media to email marketing and lead generation (depending on what exactly you need).  

Let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks of this route. 

Pros of Outsourcing Marketing 

  1. Comprehensive Service: Opting for a ‘marketing done for you’ agency means that your business can benefit from a wide range of services without the need to internally manage or execute these tasks. This hands-off approach allows your internal team to focus on their primary responsibilities 
  2. Quicker Initial Execution: Leveraging the expertise and resources of an agency can get your marketing strategies off the ground much faster. Agencies come equipped with the necessary tools, systems, and processes, speeding up the initial setup and execution of marketing campaigns 
  3. Short-term Cost Efficiency: In the short run, outsourcing can be more cost-effective. A monthly retainer covers all marketing activities, which might be less expensive than the combined costs of training, hiring, and running an internal team initially. For example, with a $7000 agency retainer, you’re investing $84,000 per year, which is equivalent to one full-time internal marketing salary. However, with this investment, you’re getting access to a Digital Marketing Consultant, SEO team, SEM team, strategist, producer, and paid ad specialist 

Cons of Outsourcing Marketing 

  1. Authenticity Challenges: Conveying your brand’s unique voice and message through an external agency can be difficult. The intimate understanding and passion your internal team has for your brand are hard to replicate, which may lead to messaging that lacks authenticity 
  2. Slower Execution Over Time: The process of reviewing and approving agency work can introduce delays. If your team is unable to review content promptly, or if the agency is juggling multiple clients, your projects may experience significant hold-ups 
  3. Divided Attention: Your business is one of many clients an agency services. This means that the attention, time, and resources dedicated to your brand can fluctuate, especially if the agency prioritises clients based on size or urgency over yours 
  4. Dependency on the Agency: When you stop paying the retainer, the marketing efforts cease. This creates a dependency on the agency for continued marketing success, as your internal team does not develop the skills or knowledge needed to take over 
  5. Long-term Cost Concerns: While initially more affordable, outsourcing can become costly in the long term. The ongoing retainer fees can add up, especially if the agency keeps you in a perpetual state of needing their services for growth, rather than building towards self-sufficiency 

In essence, outsourcing your marketing can offer a swift and comprehensive solution to your digital marketing needs, especially in the short term.  

However, it’s crucial to weigh these benefits against the potential for slower execution times, challenges in maintaining brand authenticity, and the long-term financial and strategic implications of dependency on an external agency. 

Which is Right for My Company? 

Deciding whether to keep your marketing efforts in-house or to outsource them to an agency is a pivotal decision that hinges on several factors unique to your business. Both approaches offer distinct advantages and drawbacks, as detailed in the previous sections.  

The optimal choice for your company depends on a mix of strategic, financial, and operational considerations. Here’s how to evaluate which path aligns best with your business goals and circumstances. 

If the following is true, then keeping your marketing in house is probably right for you  

  • Your company generates more than $2.5M in gross revenue  
  • Your company has a marketing team already (yes even 1 person marketing teams!) and can afford to invest in adding 1-2 people to this team overtime  
  • Your company believes in investing in the skill and professional development of its employees  
  • You’ve tried traditional agencies in the past and have either been burned or are underwhelmed  
  • You may already be paying a SEO or digital marketing agency you could divert funds away from to train your team  
  • You have a CRM (we recommend HubSpot) or are open to investing in a CRM/automation system like HubSpot  
  • Your company has a sales team that leadership is open to train on modern selling techniques such as better use of CRM, using video and content in sales  

If the following things are true, then outsourcing your marketing is probably right for you  

  • Your company does not have the budget to employ a full-time senior marketer  
  • Your company generates less than $2.5M in gross revenue  
  • You don’t need to work on long term in-house capacity right now  
  • Your company does not have a sales function  
  • You aren’t interested in investing time in training new marketing hires  

In short, if you have a sales team, and if your company is big enough to invest in an in-house marketing team, then taking your marketing in-house is probably right for you. 

On the other hand, if your company is not big enough to invest in an entire in-house team but is comfortable paying one salary, then outsourcing your marketing is probably for your company.   

How to Get Started With Outsourcing Your Marketing 

Once you’ve recognised you need to outsource your marketing, you’ll need to pick an agency to work with.  

To determine which agency is best, you’ll want to keep these green and red flags in mind:  

  • Green Flags:  
    • Self-promotion: they use the same strategies they’re selling to their clients. For example, if they sell advertising services but aren’t advertising their own brand, then they’re probably not all they are cut out to be 
    • Higher prices: More expensive agencies typically offer a comprehensive service and dedicate more hours to your campaigns, providing you with better value in the long run. You should also keep in mind that if the agency’s ideal client profile is larger corporations that have big budgets, they may charge more because the in-house experience required may be higher  
    • Performance (in terms of revenue growth) and proof: They should be able to show you case studies or examples of their work that demonstrate revenue growth for their clients 
    • Account management: When you’re looking to work with an agency, ask them how many clients each account manager handles on average. A good agency ensures each account manager has a manageable number of clients (hint: in our experience, each manager should handle between 6-8 clients only) 
  • Red Flags 
    • Account Management: An account manager handling more than 8 clients   
    • LinkedIn Information: A lack of team information on LinkedIn is also a red flag 
    • Lack of Reviews: Glowing self-promotion on their website, but lack of third-party reviews from websites like Google Reviews   
    • No partnerships: A lack of partnerships with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Google   
    • An excessively large team: depending on how many clients their account managers handle and how big your business is, this may be a red flag. If you’re a smaller business, you’re better off working with a smaller team who will care more about you 
    • Suspiciously low prices: If prices are very low, that may be because the expertise they’ve got to work on your project isn’t as high as a company that charges a higher price 

How to Get Started With Doing Marketing Internally 

In order to take your digital marketing in house, you must achieve a few things:   

  1. Systems and processes must be built for all marketing related activities in the business 
  2. Your team must be trained on how to execute all of these systems and processes 
  3. Your company leadership must be bought into the idea of taking your marketing in house 
  4. Your sales team and marketing team must be willing to collaborate and work together. This can be achieved by forming a formal revenue team 

The easiest way to achieve these four things is to implement ‘They Ask, You Answer’ (TAYA) in your business. To do this, you can either work with a TAYA Partner like RedPandas or do it yourself.  

However, there are some common problems you’ll want to avoid if you do decide to do it yourself. You can find out about these in the below article.  

Read:The Problem With Doing TAYA Yourself

cta featured image of blog

So, What’s Next? 

Decide whether you want to outsource your marketing or take it in-house.  

If you want to outsource your marketing, keep in mind the green flags and red flags we shared when choosing your agency. If you’d like to learn more about outsourcing your marketing to RedPandas, get in touch with us here. 

If you want to take your marketing in-house, the next step is to learn about ‘They Ask, You Answer’ and then decide whether you’ll do it yourself or hire a coach like us to help you with a proven framework. Learn about They Ask, You Answer here. 

cta featured image of blog

Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter
Get the best content marketing insights right in your inbox!