In-house or outsourced? That is the question

Published March 1, 2017

The marketing industry is well known for being fickle. One minute the focus is on reducing headcount in the marketing department, outsourcing everything to agencies and making it easy to turn marketing spend on and off when needed. The next minute, we’re bringing resource back in-house to save money and give stakeholders a more responsive service.

So, which IS the right way to approach it? In or out – what works better?

Obviously, the answer depends on the need of the business and the volume of work coming into the marketing department. Where the demands are frequent, urgent and require low levels of creativity, recruiting a digital designer in-house who knows your brand well is probably a great approach. For example, when you need multiple resizes of digital banner ads, having an in-house resource means that they can swiftly respond to quick turnaround requests.

However, where the demands of the department are for more complex, problem solving and require fresh, creative ideas, it can be difficult to deliver in-house where you’re often living in a brand ‘bubble’. This is where agencies who work across multiple businesses with a breadth of challenges can be a great asset to bring in, and disrupt thinking.

Equally it’s important to think about the variety of expertise required for your business. If, like most marketing departments, you find yourselves managing multiple channels from online advertising, SEM and social to events, print and email, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest best practice and trends. It can also be expensive to have experts for each channel in-house, so it might be better to have some experienced generalist marketers in-house, whilst leaning on external agency expertise for specific channels.

The reality is, like most things, a blend of both in-house resource and external expertise is often the best solution. We’ll be debating exactly how to make that blend work at our Big Lowdown workshop this month.

We will take a good look at how to communicate across internal and external teams, and how to work with a range of agencies without causing repetitive briefing and duplicating your efforts. Feel free to join the debate and get some tips for how to make workflows smoother in your business. If you can’t make the workshop, get in touch and we’ll keep you posted on all the great advice that comes from the discussion.

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