Digital Marketing Agency vs. In-House Marketing: Considerations & Benefits

Digital Marketing
plus and minus separation for digital marketing agency and in-house marketing

Deciding between in-house marketing or working with a digital marketing agency is a big decision for large and small brands alike. Your goals and budget impact your decision, but there are many more aspects to consider.

When we talk with brands who are considering partnering with us, we always pride ourselves on being honest and transparent about every facet of this decision. We want every brand to feel ready and comfortable to work with us. Now, we’re sharing our insights here to help you determine whether a digital marketing agency or in-house marketing is right for your brand.

Agency vs. In-House Marketing: Considerations

As we said before, there’s a lot that goes into determining working with a marketing agency vs. in-house marketing. We have found that goals, budget, and bandwidth are the three primary facets brands consider in the decision-making process.

In-House vs. Agency: Goals

First things first, your marketing goals impact your decision to work with an agency or keep your marketing in-house. If your goal is to maintain branded coverage and decrease abandoned carts, you might be able to keep your marketing in-house. However, if you’re looking to actively scale your overall sales and drastically increase your advertising budget, working with an agency partner could be a great decision to help you reach your goals.

In-House Marketing vs. Agency: Budget

This consideration is often the most prominent deciding factor for brands, and rightly so — working with an agency can seem like a considerable expense. And, truth be told, there are agencies that you pay to do work that is comparable to the one you could do in-house. However, when you work with an experienced and data-driven agency, you get what you pay for. 

So, when considering budgetary constraints, be sure to take into account the cost associated with having the full staff of experts who are strategizing, executing, and analyzing — the ROI should match the cost. If you’re a small brand that’s just starting out, you might not have the budget some agencies require, in which case, it might be the right decision to hire an in-house marketing expert to get the ball rolling on your advertising efforts.

In-House vs. Agency: Bandwidth & Skillset

Your existing marketing team’s internal bandwidth and skillset certainly impact this decision. Marketing teams are often small but mighty jack-of-all-trades, which means you likely have someone on your team with some advertising experience.

However, hiring people to tackle your marketing efforts, including advertising, creative, email marketing, social media, influencer marketing, and more, can mean these areas aren’t optimized to their full potential. We love scrappy marketing teams who make it work, but most brands encounter a time when they want to outsource some or all aspects to an agency partner.

Benefits of Working with a Digital Marketing & Advertising Agency

As we’ve mentioned, there are many benefits to working with a digital marketing agency. Here are some of the main benefits to consider when deciding on in-house vs. agency marketing.

Digital Marketing Expertise

Digital marketing agencies have experts in nearly every area, from paid search to organic social media. This extremely specialized expertise allows them to go deep into each area of your marketing, allowing you to scale more quickly and effectively. Their specialists are usually divided into different teams, with each focusing on specific aspects of digital marketing efforts. It can be challenging for a brand to compete with its in-house team against a digital marketing agency, both in terms of the number of people and their level of professional experience.

Additionally, marketing agencies have access to the latest technologies, data, and trends that they use to grow their partners. They also serve as an intermediary between you and the platforms you’re on to ensure everything is running smoothly at all times.

Access to Premium Tools & Technology

A major benefit of choosing a digital marketing agency over your in-house marketing team is that an experienced agency can leverage cutting-edge technology and specialized tools to enhance campaign performance and deliver better results. It might take years for your in-house team members to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively use said technology and tools in everyday work. You may not even have a budget in place to support their training and yearly or monthly payments for the necessary tools and software.  

On the other hand, digital marketing agencies invest in advanced marketing tools and software, many of which may be cost-prohibitive for individual brands. These tools enable precise targeting, data analysis, and automation, leading to more effective campaigns and higher returns on investment. Blue Wheel is an omni-channel eCommerce agency, and we have various tools at our disposal to help you grow throughout your brand evolution. 

This includes our proprietary technology, Companion, built on our search term isolation bidding philosophy, as well as data analytics and insights tools such as Triple Whale and SimilarWeb. If you are interested in brand protection, we utilize TrackStreet, which monitors your brand across the web — helping us to enforce policies and track down unauthorized sellers.

Ahead of Trends & Continuous Improvement

Agencies stay up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing technology. This is something your in-house team might not prioritize to the same degree as an agency would. By partnering with an experienced digital marketing agency, you gain access to these insights and tools, ensuring your campaigns remain competitive and aligned with industry best practices.

With access to sophisticated analytics platforms, your marketing agency partner can track the performance of your campaigns in real time and make data-driven adjustments on the fly. This iterative optimization approach maximizes results and ensures your marketing efforts remain agile and responsive to market changes.

Cost-Effectiveness & Cost Predictability

We previously mentioned the budget as one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to deciding between in-house marketing vs agency. The fact is that partnering with a digital marketing agency can offer significant cost-effectiveness advantages over maintaining an in-house marketing team. Working with an agency typically involves agreed-upon contracts and pricing, providing a level of cost predictability that can be helpful for your marketing budget planning. This transparency helps you avoid unexpected expenses associated with hiring new people and managing an in-house team.

Flexibility & Resource Optimization

Digital marketing agencies often offer flexible pricing structures tailored to your brand’s specific needs and budget. This scalability allows you to adjust services based on fluctuations in demand or business objectives, ensuring you pay for what you need when you need it. As we said before, marketing agencies operate with specialized teams, allowing for efficient resource allocation. So, instead of hiring multiple full-time employees with various skill sets for your in-house marketing, you can access a diverse range of expertise through a marketing agency partner. This way, you will optimize costs associated with salaries, benefits, and training.

Holistic Marketing & Advertising Strategy

If you decide to work with an omni-channel agency, they can create a holistic strategy for your brand, ensuring all of your marketing efforts are working in tandem. An omni-channel philosophy ensures that all of your efforts are contributing to increased sales across the board. This approach isn’t adopted by all agencies, so in the consideration process, ask if their teams communicate across departments and collaborate on various marketing and advertising services. 

Free Up Internal Team

Partnering with an agency allows your existing in-house marketing team to focus more on other efforts, such as developing campaigns, launching new products, and developing brand strategy. This, in turn, will only help your agency partner in their work. Additionally, this frees up your team to really dig into the data of all your campaigns, including evergreen and holiday, to better understand how you can improve your efforts. Oftentimes, brands overlook the analysis phase of advertising because you’re so bogged down with new campaigns, so a digital marketing agency can help alleviate that.

Questions to Ask

Here are some questions we encourage our potential clients to ask themselves when they’re debating keeping their marketing in-house or outsourcing to a digital marketing agency partner:

  • What are our marketing/revenue goals?
  • What is our internal team’s bandwidth?
  • What is our budget? Is it realistic for our goals?
  • How would working with an agency support our in-house team?
  • Are we willing to relinquish some control to trust the experts at the agency?

Final Thoughts 

Deciding between in-house marketing and partnering with a digital marketing agency is pivotal for any brand's success. While goals, budget, and team bandwidth are key considerations, other factors come into play. We've emphasized the importance of aligning goals with the decision to keep marketing in-house or engage with an agency. Budget constraints should be weighed against the value and expertise agencies provide.

If you choose to partner with a digital marketing agency, such as Blue Wheel, you will gain access to specialized expertise, cutting-edge technology, and agility in adapting to market trends. Working with a digital agency can provide cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and holistic strategies to your brand.

Regardless of your choice, assess your goals, in-house marketing resources, and readiness to trust external expertise. At Blue Wheel, we have an omni-channel approach and are committed to helping brands achieve their marketing objectives.

If you're interested in exploring how we can support your brand's growth, reach out to our team today!

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