The latest tips, insights and thought leadership from the brilliant minds that brought you Ouma.

In-house marketing vs outsourced - which is right for you?

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Marketing: every business needs it - that's common knowledge. It's the very core of your business operations, putting your ideas, products and services in front of consumers. It's what drives traffic to your site or venue whilst raising brand awareness as you reap the benefits of a healthy and profitable turnover.

So, you know you need it, but here's the age-old question - Do you outsource your marketing needs to a professional, specialist agency or do you forego the task of your marketing development, in-house?

As with anything, there's a fair argument for both options and the decision to do either is weighted on your current business success and future objectives. How does your marketing look right now? Are you generating enough leads and seeing through a reasonable and substantial amount of conversions? Can your business afford to upscale marketing activity and is it genuinely most cost-effective to branch that out in-house?

We won't leave you weighing up the pros and cons of each; getting your marketing right is absolutely essential, so here's our guide to the benefits of in-house marketing vs outsourced.

Cost: Ultimately, money matters. You've invested so much into securing the profits made from your business, that you don't want to spend out unnecessarily for little to no result. Great marketing doesn't come cheap, but it shouldn't leave your pockets empty either. Outsourcing may be the most cost-effective business decision you'll make, as you'll save financial resource on funding an additional salary, in most cases, paying a fixed fee and monthly retainer for the work you need.

Initial onboarding costs of a new hire are scrapped too, leaving you with more budget to allocate towards results-driven campaigns. Keeping your marketing efforts in-house will come with added expenses such as cost-heavy specialist software solutions that allow you to organise, schedule and monitor your marketing activity and progress. Many of these platforms require some level of expertise to manage effectively, so you could also cut costs on lengthy training programmes when choosing to outsource.

Remember, onboarding costs are simply a drop in the ocean when it comes to recruitment finances. Marketing is an every-day activity that requires on-going personnel to manage. Bringing your marketing in-house will mean needing to find the financial allowance for holidays, sick pay and other variables of absence and leave. Insurance and taxes are also part of the budget needed when recruiting in-house. Outsourcing means all these overheads are covered, meaning you're good to go for less than a part-time monthly wage.

So, that's cost covered, but what about expertise? Of course, nobody knows your business quite like those within it, so it can often seem the most obvious choice to transition a current employee to an in-house marketing position. Potentially, with no reason to brief on your business mission and objectives, hiring in-house will seemingly be a quicker and more efficient way to kickstart your campaigns. However, marketing takes knowledge and it's much more complex than showing off your brand and hoping people will buy into you. A solid marketing strategy encompasses an array of creative elements combined with several strategic steps such as market research, analysis and audits, alongside having a general understanding of the most popular ways to marketing including PPC, social media management and email campaigns.

With most marketing agencies, you can expect specialists within each department, who can confidently develop strategic marketing solutions that truly deliver on impactful results. The breadth of diversity within the marketing industry means it could be almost impossible for one sole person to effectively manage the many variables of even just one campaign, but by outsourcing to a professional agency, you'll have direct access to a team of skilled specialists who have spent years perfecting their unique set of marketing skills.

Return on investment. Sure, you can take care of marketing - you may have great ideas and to some degree, even with minimal experience, you may be able to execute them. However, do you have the tools and knowledge to monitor and analyse your return on investment? By outsourcing, you're not tied in and committed, but your chosen marketing firm are committed to getting you results. Part of your retained package may include monthly reports on your marketing activity, demonstrating key insights into how your campaigns are performing. You'll have transparency from the team you work with, allowing you and them to make informative decisions that will strengthen your business success.

Honest viewpoints. When a business is your own, it's easy to become invested in the day-to-day running that you're marketing ideas become clouded. By outsourcing, you’ll have the scope to gain invaluable unbiased opinions from a specialist perspective. It's likely that experienced marketing professionals may suggest things to you that as a business owner, you might not have considered. They'll continually look for room for improvement and growth, developing strategic plans that should eliminate any gaps and spaces within your marketing activity, and what's more - they'll take full accountability for the projects they take on. Should a campaign fail or under-perform, you'll save yourself the difficult conversation needed to be had in-house should you choose to recruit internally, and you'll have the provision to openly express your concerns to the agency you’ve entrusted.

There's no definitive right or wrong route to market, and choosing to outsource or branch in-house is a personal decision for every business. There are pros and cons to both, but generally, outsourcing can provide plentiful benefits that could potentially be more difficult to achieve without the professional, specialist opinions and knowledge that are often required.

Ross' viewpoints.

"It's easy for me to sit here and say that outsourcing your marketing is the best option for your business, because in reality, that may not be the case. We've worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, and we've found that it isn't the size of the business that matters, it's the mentality of the leadership team.
Some business owners just want some social activity, company relevant updates, minor website changes and basic design work e.g. leaflets or menus, in which case, it's often best to bring in a general marketing executive in-house, particularly if the business needs quick-turnaround, tactical marketing output.
If however, you're looking to take your business to the next level, strategically grow your market share, enhance your brand or looking for game-changing innovations, then outsourcing to a team of marketing specialists is certainly the way to go."

Ouma successfully market for a vast and varied range of clients. For a conversation on how we could help your business too, call our team today on 01792 792654.