Advertising Agency vs In House Marketing: Which Is Best?

Ad agencies or in-house marketing teams: which works best for your business? See the pros and cons of each and determine which lines up with your company's values and goals!

When you're in the process of building your brand, you need to make a lot of important decisions. Which logo do you use? Which color scheme works for the site? What search optimization efforts should you pursue? These questions plague every business owner at some point. A great way to maximize your profits and outreach is through effective paid advertising.

The only problem? You have your choice between advertising agencies and in-house marketing teams. But when it comes to an advertising agency vs. in-house marketing teams, there are some significant pros and cons. Let's see which you should opt for when crafting your ambitious multi-dimensional brand.

What Is An Advertising Agency?

An ad agency is a business that specializes in crafting advertising and digital marketing strategies for its clients. This could range from merely managing social media accounts to completely revamping a business’s website and existing ads. These external professionals meet with clients to discuss a company’s pain points, craft winning ad campaign strategies and get things done.

What Is An In-House Digital Marketing Team?

An existing company hires an in-house marketing team to dedicate themselves entirely to said company. These could be, for example, full-time employees that the company depends on for all digital marketing and advertising endeavors. They’re all internal and controlled by the company.

Advertising Agency vs. an In-House Marketing Agency: Pros and Cons

Let’s examine the pros and cons of both of these digital marketing teams and techniques. 

Ad Agency Pros

  • You’re Saving Money. Hiring the talents of an ad agency provides you with a lower price tag. Where in-house marketing teams can quickly run up costs six figures, an ad agency can cost significantly less. Instead of $200,000 with an in-house marketing team, an ad agency can go as low as $20,000. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about software costs, either.
  • You’re Hiring Experts in the Field. Ad agency team members usually have a broad set of skills gleaned from years of experience. This is a great benefit for small businesses as an ad agency can cover many of your bases. It could be custom website design, search engine optimization efforts, or PPC ads. 
  • Always on the Move. There's simply no downtime. Things are always busy for ad agency professionals. Whether it's improving old SEO articles, performing in-depth marketing analysis, or working on a website, an ad agency is constantly enhancing and revising content.

Ad Agency Cons

  • Slowing Things Down. Feedback may be slower than in-house marketing. With in-house marketing, you usually share the same space as the rest of the team so that feedback can take minutes. With an ad agency, especially one working remotely, it could take longer.
  • Lack of Control. An ad agency could present some issues if you’re a business owner who wants complete creative control over your ad campaigns. An ad agency will, of course, consult with you during ad campaigns, but for the most part, they work independently of your business. 

In-House Digital Marketing Agency Pros

  • Getting Things Done Quick. On-demand feedback. Since you're working within your company, you'll likely get quick feedback for each branding move. Getting immediate feedback on projects is a great benefit, as projects can, ideally, move more quickly and adapt to new ideas.
  • You Know The Brand. When it comes to the expertise of an in-house marketing team, it’s simple. They simply know the brand better. Since they work for the parent company, they should inherently understand its values, goals, and vision. Knowing a company and everything about its values can make work more straightforward.
  • Eye on the Prize. Where an ad agency can end up juggling multiple clients at once, an in-house marketing team is constantly working on the goals of one client. This focus can be a huge pro in considering hiring an advertising agency vs. in-house marketing teams.

In-House Digital Marketing Agency Cons

  • Breaking The Bank. Very simply, in-house marketing is more expensive. Costs can become astronomical. As mentioned above, in-house marketers can easily cost six figures to set up. Also, think about the additional costs that go into maintaining any team. We’re talking about employee benefits, travel expenses, and more. 
  • Quantity Over Quality. You need a big team to make sure you have specialists in each vertical. We’re talking about hiring separate digital marketing managers, specialists, SEM and SEO specialists, and more. Unsurprisingly, this adds up quickly. The hiring process itself could eat up a huge chunk of valuable time used for advertising and marketing
  • There Is A Lack of Work. There's usually a lot of downtime because there isn't enough work for them. If a company decides to put a pause on certain advertising efforts, certain employees simply won’t have enough work to justify their budgets. 
  • Things Might Get Stale. No new ideas as it gets stale without being able to bounce ideas with people. Unfortunately for in-house marketers, there isn't a diverse cast of characters. This means that, inevitably, you won’t have different voices and perspectives chiming in to offer new and exciting ideas. 

A Quick Note On Remote Work

Now that remote work is firmly in the digital marketing zeitgeist, the response time from an ad agency and in-house marketing should, ideally, be about the same. With this in mind, it's helpful to weigh once again the pros and cons of both an advertising agency vs. in-house digital marketing. Which one fits your workflow?

The Final Word on Advertising Agency vs. In-House Marketing

After consulting the pros and cons of a digital marketing agency vs. an in-house marketing team, which one fits your workflow best? It depends on your company size, budget, and values. Are you a massive company bent on hiring a team of in-house marketers? Then that might be your best bet. But if you’re a small business that needs to be aware of every cost, wants to have a more stress-free experience in marketing, then an ad agency is easily your best bet. 

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