If you’re a business owner or lead a sales or marketing team, chances are you already know that video is the present and future of content marketing.
Many well-meaning companies turn to third-party video production agencies to help them create marketing videos, thinking it’s too expensive or complicated to produce video in-house. Filming high-quality videos and editing them with enough production value to attract the attention of prospects can be intimidating, and you might not have the tools or skills to do so.
If this sounds like something you’ve struggled to get past with your team, you’re certainly not alone — but before you commit to outsourcing, you should consider the disadvantages of hiring a third-party video marketing agency.
IMPACT has worked with hundreds of businesses to create marketing videos in-house, and as a result, our clients have seen incredible inbound marketing results. We’ve also worked with third parties, so we often get asked why producing video via an agency is such a bad idea.
In this article, we’re going to explain the answer to this question, including:
Four common problems businesses face when working with a video production agency.
Reasons you should consider insourcing video instead.
This way, as you create more video content to grow your business, you know what to expect and can get ahead of the game.
4 reasons not to work with a third-party video production agency
While most businesses that hire a video production agency imagine the agency will take care of everything and make the video production process a breeze, this isn’t typically the case.
Though there are video marketing agencies out there that can create high-quality work, we’ve found that there are specific issues that often arise in the process that make insourcing a better option.
Here’s what to consider before you opt for an outsourced video marketing campaign.
1. Long creation process
This is something you may run into with a production company of any size.
There’s an estimated timeframe from when a client makes initial contact with a video production agency to when the final product is delivered (and everyone is popping bottles and high-fiving).
However, that estimated timeframe is likely longer than you think, for many reasons.
For one, the planning and pre-production process usually begins with one person acting as the contact for the production agency.
If pre-production is done sufficiently to ensure a deliverable schedule that’s properly aligned with your expectations, then there are usually anywhere from 3-6 meetings that need to take place.
These meetings are usually scheduled weeks apart and require much more prep work on your part, including example videos, creative asset gathering/sharing, internal coordinating, and decision-making about who will be a part of the video.
Then, even after pre-production and the production itself takes place, you’re on to the last stage of the creation process, which is almost always the bottleneck at every production agency: post-production and editing.
Many editors are consistently backlogged with other projects since it takes the longest time, relative to every other stage.
Editing also often requires a minimum of 2-3 revisions. The back and forth communication between you and the agency via email usually is several weeks more of time and effort.
God forbid you have more than a few people in your organization who need to approve the video. Then you’re tracking down your own people, trying to get feedback on each draft.
This long timeline can delay initiatives or other campaigns that rely on the content.
It also means that your team cannot create agile content that responds quickly to news or updates.
The last thing you want is to start pre-production for a video that’s obsolete by the time you actually get it out.
With all of this in mind, quality agencies, small or large, must often be contacted 6-8 months at a minimum prior to when the final video is needed.
It also requires you and your organization to do much of the heavy lifting as far as planning and communication go.
This brings us to a related problem…
2. Limited bandwidth and scope
No one wants to feel like they’re rushing their project just to hit a deadline. You want a perfect deliverable, not a “this is all we had time for” video.
The challenge with video production agencies is that you only have a certain amount of pre-production time allotted to define your goals.
Agencies of all sizes likely have multiple client projects they’re juggling at once. So, they will likely have to limit the amount of time spent in pre-production understanding your objectives and vision. This could lead to deliverables that only partially fulfill expectations.
For example, if you’re using the They Ask, You Answer approach to video marketing, you want to produce videos that have an immediate impact on your sales. We call these videos The Selling 7.
When you rely on a third-party video production company to create these videos instead of hiring an in-house videographer, these videos can take much longer to create. Furthermore, since the video production company doesn’t know your business as you do, it is even more difficult to create videos that truly resonate with your buyers.
Generally speaking, this means that you should be allocating ample time with your internal team to define exactly what you want so you can relay that to your production agency.
If you want a video to look, feel, and accomplish what you’re hoping it will, it’s more dependent on your team to articulate those variables than it is for the production team to extract them from you.
Don’t get me wrong, the success of video planning and pre-production is not solely on your shoulders as the client.
However, I believe it’s important for clients of video agencies to recognize that this burden is again more on the client than the agency, especially when the client acknowledges that the agency’s scope is small and spread across multiple projects at once.
This is why we always recommend our clients hire an in-house videographer. With a videographer embedded in your team, you will never have to wait for an agency to create and deliver your videos. You will have someone there who is constantly creating this content for your business.
Just keep in mind that while an in-house videographer is getting started, there is going to be a learning curve and they will need time to get to know your brand. Your videos won’t be perfect right away, but with the right videographer in your company, you can expect them to be producing two to three videos per week within their first month, compared to the six to eight months it can take for an agency to complete just one video.
You don’t want to be spending money on a third-party video that will take much longer to complete and is doomed to be ineffective from the start.
3. Changing talent pool
How do you know that your team is experienced not only with the gear, but also with each other?
It’s very common for agencies, especially smaller ones, to fill the additional hands required on a shoot with freelance video professionals (which can be a detriment to your video success… – more on this later). Small agencies commonly do this, particularly when the agency is not local to your business.
If your company is asking the agency to travel for production, it’s more cost-effective for the agency to hire local freelancers rather than fly a second cameraperson out with them.
Freelancers can keep costs low for the agency — and also for you — but problems arise when the contracted team members producing your content have different experience levels.
Freelancers are typically chosen based on convenience, availability, and cost long before the level of team compatibility is considered.
This sets up a quality variability that you don’t want to show through on your end deliverable, particularly if you’ve made multiple projects with the same agency. You will want the same hands working on your content to maintain consistency across creativity and expertise.
The same can be said if the crew working on your project hasn’t collaborated before.
There’s a real collaborative rhythm required on a shoot to make near-perfect content, and that rhythm requires a serious level of understanding and gelling between all involved.
It’s important to ask if the agency has worked with the freelancer(s) in the past, and how often. Ask for example footage that was created by the same team so you know what to expect.
Otherwise, you’re going to feel like the agency is acting as the “middleman” between you and the local freelancers for hire.
If you had someone in-house, however, who was dedicated to sharing information about your business — who was part of revenue team meetings and owning the process from start to finish — this wouldn’t be an issue.
4. High cost per video
When you combine both the time and money investment required to create each video with an agency, you’re looking at a big-ticket cost no matter how you cut the cake. You need to pay for another company to hire a crew and purchase or rent equipment.
The cost of using an agency 3-4 times each year is equivalent to hiring an effective videographer in-house (starting at roughly $45,000 salary plus benefits), but minus the flexibility.
Every organization wants to save money, and you might think that outsourcing your video production is a way to do so, but as you can see, if your business is planning to make video a regular part of its content marketing efforts (or even just check the boxes with The Selling 7), the costs can add up quickly.
Should you outsource video production?
Even though you can avoid these common problems with hiring a video production agency, is it beneficial to your business to hire one?
After years of working with hundreds of clients — and at one time even doing the video production agency work ourselves — we can tell you that time and time again, our clients earn the biggest ROI when they embrace a culture of producing video in-house.
No one knows your company, your vision, and your goals better than your own team.
To get the best possible results with your video marketing strategy, you must hire a full-time videographer to own your business’s video production process. Otherwise, you’ll be spending far too much for a deliverable that barely makes a difference to your bottom line.
You might be thinking, “Why would my business need a full-time videographer? There’s no way we need someone working on this 40 hours per week.”
But the truth is, our clients would tell you that if you could experience the business growth that hiring a full-time videographer has on your sales and marketing numbers, you wouldn’t hesitate. Sure there are challenges to hiring in-house, such as some of our clients who get in their own way by striving for perfection, when they should just start publishing. Others don’t explain why they’re hiring a videographer to the rest of the team, and buy-in is lacking.
But again our clients would tell you the results are certainly worth it.
Of course, there may be instances where you want to outsource for a one-off video, but if video content is going to be a staple of your strategy, in-house is the way to go.
Grow your business with video in-house
We’ve helped hundreds of B2B and B2C businesses like yours create winning video strategies that build trust with prospects and enable sales teams to sell better than ever.
The best part is this growth can happen for you in months — not years.
Examples of businesses using this approach to bringing video in-house (as outlined in Marcus Sheridan — co-owner and principal here at IMPACT — and Tyler Lessard’s The Visual Sale) include:
Mazzella Companies: After creating The Lifting and Rigging Channel with this process, they now have over 4,000 YouTube subscribers and have generated over $20 million in revenue.
Lucidchart: Since it kicked off its Lucidchart Explains the Internet channel, this B2B company that provides diagramming, data visualization, and team collaboration software has reached over 20 million viewers and gained over 400,000 YouTube subscribers.
Loyola University: By hiring an in-house videographer, the university created an acceptance video that received more than 15,000 views from almost 12,000 people, along with over 4,000 online reviews. Because of their video program, Loyola had record-breaking attendance for first-year students.
Once you have the right person in place, creating lots of videos for your small business will be a piece of cake. You will be amazed at the dramatic increase in traffic, leads, and sales — and wonder why on earth you didn’t hire an in-house video production team sooner.