Whether you’re launching a new marketing plan from scratch, or simply revamping an existing strategy, one of the most common debates is whether to hire internal marketing staff or go with an outside agency partner. Each option has a few pros and cons that you’ll need to keep in mind when deciding which path is right for your business.

Hiring a Digital Agency

Working with a digital agency has many advantages. First of all, an agency offers unrivaled expertise; full teams are already in place, offering more-diverse skillsets which are difficult (if not impossible) to bring on with a single internal hire. Agencies also  have a much more diverse set of sites they work on  across multiple companies and industries, and more versatile marketing knowledge. Their use of marketing tactics across various verticals can often better inform the strategies you’re exploring to meet your digital marketing goals.

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From a resources standpoint, digital agencies likely have more to offer because they have multiple teams collaborating to produce results for your business, which frees up your internal teams’ bandwidth to focus on other marketing initiatives which require the deepest understanding of the intricacies of your particular business.

An agency’s account teams are designed to help you develop a digital marketing strategy that is efficient and scalable – they will be able to leverage the industry’s best tools and technology on your behalf, which you might not always have access to due to budgetary limitations.

Thought leadership is another key advantage to working with an outside digital agency. Because of their expertise, an agency is able to provide highly strategic direction, objective leadership, and even education.

For example, if Google makes an algorithm update effecting SEO for your site, agencies typically notice first because the change may impact multiple sites across their entire client base. On the other hand, an in-house SEO will be limited to the perspective of only one business’ site, and may not be able to determine the larger context for what’s happening with other sites across the web.

In-House Marketing

One benefit of having in-house marketing staff is that you have direct access to them at all times, which does allow better day-to-day integration into your marketing program as a whole.. They can interface directly with digital and offline media projects, which is highly advantageous in instances when those internal teams need to collaborate closely on a larger marketing goal for the entire business.

Financially, the argument can be made that in-house marketing could be either more or less expensive than hiring an agency. It will depend on your digital marketing needs and the size of your business. For example, the average salary of a full-time SEO expert is approximately $70,000; the cost of hiring an agency will vary, again depending on the services required. In addition to cost, other factors to consider include the time and effort required to find, hire, and train the right talent in-house rather than bringing in a seasoned agency from the start.

Ultimately, the path you choose depends on your business:  where you are today, where you want to go, and the resources you have available. Many times, a blend of both in-house and agency resources proves to be most effective when both internal and external teams can work collaboratively to produce better results for your business.

Interested in learning more about what an agency provides? Check out our eBook ‘Paid Media Agency Research Guide‘.