In-House vs. Agency: The Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
How aggressive are your goals?
The most important aspect of any inbound campaign is defining clear and realistic goals. What are you hoping to achieve through your campaign? Are you looking for moderate revenue growth of 10-15% in the year; or are your goals to aggressively grow your revenue by 25% or more in that same time frame?
The aggressiveness of your goals should be a crucial factor in deciding on tackling your inbound campaign in-house or through an agency, since it will influence the resources required for success. Small or moderate goals may be attainable with a sizeable marketing team that understands the inbound marketing process, whereas aggressive goals will require specialized individuals with an extensive knowledge of inbound marketing.
Don’t let your in-house resources determine your goals. Objectively determine what your business wants to achieve, and then decide if you can reasonably attain those goals with your in-house resources. If you are struggling to define the goals of your inbound campaign, keep in mind that an inbound marketing agency will work with you to define suitable goals for your business.
Do you have the personnel available to execute a campaign to meet those goals?
Once you have decided on how aggressive your goals are, you will need to see if you have the staff available to meet those goals. Keep in mind that for an effective inbound marketing campaign you will need marketers, designers, developers, and content writers.
If your team is lacking expertise in any of those areas, your campaign will be very unlikely to meet its goals. It would be unreasonable to expect one or two people to manage all of those responsibilities, even if they miraculously have a background in all four fields. Hiring an inbound marketing agency will provide you with individuals who are specially trained in all four areas, and could save your marketing staff a few headaches.
If not, do you have the marketing budget to hire marketers, designers, developers, and content writers?
If you are lacking expertise in any part of your inbound campaign and still want to keep it in-house, be mindful of your marketing budget. How much money are you willing to invest in your campaign to reach the goals that you have defined?
Best case scenario you only need to hire one specialized individual to minimize training costs. That means you are looking at a base salary for a marketing director of roughly $75,000. For one employee that may seem like a worthwhile investment to keep your operations in-house, but be mindful that is a rough cost for each employee that you hire.
So the big question is, at what point are you spending more on employees than you would spend on an agency? A typical marketing agency will have set pricing structures that are based on your company’s goals. Moderate goals can be achieved with plans that cost under $70,000 per year, and aggressive goals can be achieved for roughly $175,000. Keep in mind that the employees gained through an inbound agency are pre-trained, which should translate into a quicker ROI.
Does your company have the time and resources to execute the campaign themselves?
Even if you have the employees in place to manage an inbound campaign, do they have the time to balance the campaign with day-to-day operations? At a minimum your team will need to post 3 blogs per week, consistently engage in and update all of your social media outlets, create new offers and matching landing pages, perform keyword analyses, and monitor SEO. And that is only if you are looking to achieve moderate goals.
There are various types of software available to assist you in this process, but does your company have access to this software? More importantly, are your employees trained to use it? Any inbound marketing agency worth their salt will have employees versed in the most useful software, and could significantly cut down on training time.
Can you objectively identify how to improve your marketing?
You know that your company needs to generate more leads for you business, but do you know what you need to do to generate more leads? It can be very difficult to set aside personal biases when brainstorming ways to improve your marketing efforts, since this is what you are constantly exposed to. It is very difficult for somebody on the inside to take a step back and thoroughly examine your marketing efforts.
It may be beneficial to hire a marketing agency just to have somebody on the outside take a look at your marketing efforts. An agency can help to provide you with a clear vision of the big picture, and can work with you to improve your processes. A good marketing agency will provide you with a customized game plan to set goals, define problems and solutions, and set forth a plan of action.
Stop for a moment and holistically assess your situation. Are you ready to tackle an entire inbound marketing campaign with your in-house personnel and resources?
If the answer is yes, you still don’t have to go at it alone. There are plenty of resources created by inbound marketing professionals available to assist your team and help drive your success.
If you are a little less confident in tackling an entire inbound marketing campaign alone, there are plenty of experienced marketing agencies available. Understand that hiring an agency does not completely remove your control over your process. Any good marketing agency will have an open two-way channel of communication, and will work with you to meet your marketing goals within a specified budget.
Launching an inbound campaign may seem like an overwhelming task, but remember that whether you choose to keep it in-house or bring in an external agency, there is always help available.
Still not sure if you should hire an agency or not?
For more answers on whether you should keep your inbound marketing campaign in house or hire an agency, check out our newest ebook. You'll find all of the answers that you're looking for!