It’s an age-old question that inevitably pops up every time a business needs a sales boost, a brand refresh, or some snazzy new online content. Is it better to hire an in-house marketing person or team? Or an agency, with the know-how and resources to really get things done?

There’s no simple answer to this, as it depends on several factors that will change from one company to the next. But it definitely pays to consider your options and weigh the impact that your choice will have down the road. Luckily, we’ve done some research for you in advance (you’re very welcome), so here are some solid-gold facts about internal vs. external marketing, and how you can decide on the best method for your organization.

 

The Draw (and Drawbacks) of Internal Marketing Managers

It seems to be a no-brainer: to nail down your exact messaging, your brand’s tone of voice, and your photos for a share-friendly Instagram feed, you want someone who’s working right there beside you, inside the company. And it’s true – communication is a little easier when you can wander over to someone’s desk in the morning and catch up. There is a higher degree of instant accountability as well, as you can directly supervise the work being done on a daily basis. Plus, since they are only focused on your company, that work is generally done faster.

With that said, though, finding one individual who can do everything modern marketing requires is a bit of a gamble. Graphic design, copywriting, branding, website building, social campaigns, public relations, digital ads, search engine optimization, video and photo editing, strategy creation – it’s all involved, and each of those could be a full-time role in itself! And if you throw too much at one person, they will likely be just average at everything (at best), rather than good at anything.

You might be thinking, “What about hiring a team?” That is an obvious solution, but it’s an expensive one. You’ll be paying the salaries of several people, even when times are slow and “no marketing” is being done.

And in one of the grandest ironies of all, your dedicated team might find themselves stuck in a creative rut because they are right up close to your product or service all day, every day. This “creative exhaustion” can become costly and often leads to demoralization, too.

internal vs. external marketing

High Marks for Hiring Marketing Agencies

By now, you’re probably frantically searching “local marketing agencies” in order to sign up with the first result that shows up on Google. Hold up! There are a few things to know when looking for an agency that really suits you.

First, you may be tempted to think that the cost is too high – but as it turns out, the hourly breakdown is pretty much the same. You also get the added bonus of only paying for the time you need, rather than a full-time salary over the course of the year. So unless you’re doing a full brand overhaul, launching digital campaigns, and building a sparkling new website every January, you’re still saving in the long run.

The communication may be a bit slower, as phone calls, emails, and Zoom connections just can’t compare to deskside chats for speed. And there will be a bit of a learning curve as the agency picks up on your company’s processes, services, and internal slang terms, and goes through a comprehensive discovery period to ensure everything is aligned with your ultimate goals. But that’s hardly a bad thing, right? Most communication is in writing – always a plus – and long-term goals are plain from the beginning.

In return, you get access to a full team of people who can do everything in that list above, and probably some extras as well. You only pay for the work that is completed, which is usually of a higher quality too, since agencies are eager to prove they are worth your investment. You get less stress to worry about, fresh perspectives on your offerings, and a direct pipeline to people who keep up with the latest trends and most effective tactics in the world of marketing.

The Big Decision: Internal Marketing vs. Marketing Agencies

While we can’t say exactly what you should do, we can give you the tools to use in making your decision. You’ll need to consider:

  • Your Goals: what are your ultimate goals, and what are you trying to accomplish? If you’ve got your sights set on total market domination, a bigger team with a bigger toolbox is sure to be an asset.
  • Your Workload: Do you have enough work to justify a full-time team, or even a manager? Even when it’s slow and business drops off? If you’ve hired someone and now they’re just twiddling thumbs for 7 hours a day, it may be time to reconsider.
  • Your Budget: Can you afford to pay an internal marketing manager or team? Think about what kind of return you want on your investment – will an internal spend make it happen?

Average salary for a marketing manager in Canada is $50,000-$150,000 annually

Average cost for marketing agency in Canada is $50,000-$100,000 annually – but it can vary depending on what exactly you need for your business!

The final decision is up to you – but if you’d like a bit of extra advice, and some excellent examples of how an agency can help, we’re always here and ready to talk about your marketing needs!