Agency VS In-House

Agency VS In-House – Which One to Choose?

Your competition spends a generous 1/10th of their annual revenue on marketing. Businesses spread out their active marketing campaign over up to a dozen different channels. With thousands of options other than you for your customer to choose from, there is no question on whether to market-only how to. To help you decide if your business should hire its own marketing team to achieve your business growth goals, or use a site like AdWorldMasters to find a marketing agency, we have brought to you a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons of each solution.

You should read on if you:

  • Have a marketing budget but are not sure how to spend it
  • Need brand growth or need to expand to a new market
  • Want to increase brand awareness and stand out from competition
  • Do NOT have an effective strategy in place

Marketing Agencies


Marketing Agency Pros:

  • Experiences Specialists
  • Fresh Ideas
  • Cost Effective
  • Less Burden

Marketing Agency Cons:

  • Slower Communication
  • Disconnected From Brand Vision
  • Less control

An agency provides its services to another business in a specific field. In most cases, an agency will take
full responsibility in your marketing, including workforce, resources, technology and training. Usually,
your only role is to provide your brief, information, communication and funds. The agency handles the

Marketing Agency Pros

Having Access to Experienced Specialists

Your business can fully leverage the years of talent, experience, and combination of expert creative minds
by hiring a ready-made marketing team through an agency. This is a valuable tool for businesses who
have invested little in their marketing so far or don’t have a fully developed department in that sector.

Fresh Ideas

Working in the same environment and taking inspiration from the same concepts risks recycling your own
team’s creativity. A well-established company dedicated to marketing has most likely worked with many
types of businesses and has ample experience wracking their minds for fresh ideas. It is difficult for an
in-house team to reinvent the wheel on their current marketing strategy.
There is a specific job role dedicated entirely to coming up with ideas within agencies called the ‘creative
director’. A creative director is an experienced, out-of-the box thinking individual who makes sure the
output of their team is innovative, clever and stands out. This is a difficult role to define and recruit for
businesses that have not hired it before.

Cost Effective

Cost effective does not mean cheap. You may feel you could allocate members of your own staff to fulfil
the business’ marketing needs and save a lot of money in that venture, but cheaper does not mean better.
It takes businesses a lot of time to build a competent marketing team from start to finish. The average
time it takes to get just one new hire is 23 days! If there is a high drop-out rate on your team, or they are
unsuccessful, you may need to get a new batch of hires. That is around two months before you even start
to plan your marketing strategy!
Agencies have this all sorted out. As soon as you sign the contract, everything is ready to go. Time carries
value as well-not just money. Spending it to save time is a wise investment.

Less Burden

Occupational stress has risen by 20% from 2000 to 2020 for business managers and employees alike.
Many startups and smaller business owners neglect the impact of stress in the long-term wellbeing of their
corporate environment. Instead of squeezing additional work to an already busy schedule, allocating the
burden on an agency saves your organisation from a lot of potential stress. Any problem they may run
into does not concern you in any way-you pay an agency for the results only.
The world-renowned business expert Brian Tracy teaches his clients about the importance of task
delegation to managers. He explains that managers cannot focus on being an excellent leader and taking
higher positions if they are taking on more responsibilities instead of allocating them. In his words, “If
you want the job done right, you have to learn how to delegate it properly so that it can be done to the
proper standard.”

Marketing Agency Cons

Slower Communication

Working with an agency cannot replicate the ease of walking up to someone who works in the same building as you to deliver a message. If they have other accounts to focus on and are busier, they may not even accept phone calls unless it is an emergency and cannot give you as much time as you demand. Your business is not the agency’s biggest priority. When you’re used to hurrying things through each other without a barrier, it’s tedious to wait around for responses to your emails and updates on the progress. Within your own department, you can get near-constant updates on whichever project concerns you. Discussing communication terms before bringing an agency on board can resolve this issue to some
extent. However, seamless communication would remain an inevitable sacrifice when assigning your work to another company.

Disconnected From Brand Vision

A powerful vision and common goal connects your team to your brand. It motivates your team to work hard on producing excellent results. Your existing workforce understands everything your brand stands for: its voice, its presence, and its purpose. There are two fundamental things that motivate an agency: getting paid and creating a positive review for you to nurture their reputation. While there is nothing wrong with this, it means that you may need to revise a lot of things with the agency before you feel that they appreciate the vision you have for your brand and how your customers will perceive it.

Less control

A manager or business owner takes comfort in being ‘in the know’ of all the business activities taking place. Whether this is healthy behaviour is debatable, but having a complete outsider team manage your marketing can be nerve-wracking, especially because they are not answerable to you. There is another manager on that end taking the daily reports, assigning roles and setting targets that you have no influence over. Depending on how often the agency updates you, it can limit your ability to give feedback and request revisions.
If you make sure you agree on the key requirements before the project begins, both of the parties will be
more comfortable, but this does not guarantee full consolidation over having little control.

In-House Marketing


In-house Pros:

  • Faster results
  • Greater budget control
  • Deeper brand connection

In-House Cons

  • Time consuming
  • Risk of going over-budget
  • No Formal Marketing Plan
  • Poor Management

Faster Results

Once you do kick off your own marketing team, you can expect quicker results because your team only
needs to worry about your business. Marketing agencies have other clients that concern them and have to
divide their efforts and resources between you and other clients.

Greater Budget Control

You have full control over cost and resource allocation. There is a great opportunity to reduce costs. Forexample, you can utilise automation solutions by spending a one time fee on inexpensive management softwares to cut down workforce costs. Another way of reducing costs that businesses use is to hire only one experienced individual and pay them to train internal candidates for the new department. If you intend to spread your advertising over fewer channels than an agency would, you can manage with a smaller marketing team. Hiring one raining talented individuals internally is also less expensive. While there is a risk of compromising quality by opting for cheaper solutions, some clever planning can
overcome the gap by providing efficient training and setting clear goals for your team.

Deeper Brand Connection

Business owners and managers understand their target customer more than anyone else. They have spent the most amount of time and investment in doing so, to provide the best product they can for their demographic. Explaining what you know to a third party can be difficult. There are some things numbers and graphs can’t explain, such as what you want your customer to feel, and what type of personality your brand shows when it speaks to your customer. You can explain this to an agency, but they may interpret it completely differently than you. A team that is well connected to your brand can add that touch of personality and intimacy to the marketing material which shows that your business understands their customer.

In-House Cons

Time consuming

Your own team has the potential to give a quicker turnout than an agency can. That being said, building the team in the first place consumes a lot of time and resources. You will have already consumed a part of your budget and time on recruiting efforts, delegating a team manager, acquiring resources, and licensing softwares before your first hire. If this is the first time you are building a marketing, you’ll most likely guess the dropout rate of new hires which involves the risk of hiring too little or too many people to train.
The same problem arises for the training itself; there are no metrics or data available to determine how successful the training will be. You must draw on previous experience with other departments and some intelligent guesswork to create an effective training program.

Risk of going over-budget

Greater budget control doesn’t mean a lower budget. It means having full autonomy over costs, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. New ventures come with many ‘hidden costs’-expenses that you did not expect when planning your budget. Hidden costs include expenses such as rehiring because of high dropout, investing more in training because the previous training didn’t work, purchasing softwares you didn’t know you needed, and overtime pay to complete a higher workload on time, especially for managers.
You also have to consider the greatest risk of having a new team: generating an unsuccessful marketing campaign. This risk is lower with agencies because they have the experience and expertise needed; they have launched many successful campaigns before. Agencies are also fully accountable for their failure. Their business and chances of getting more clients is at stake. You may not lose your existing business if your campaign doesn’t generate the growth you aimed for, but it will mean having to reinvest a lot of money into creating a new campaign or, potentially, hiring a new manager.

No Formal Marketing Plan

Marketing agencies have ready-made formulas. You don’t. Your business will have to consume costly resources and valuable time on researching and finding the best marketing plans. This job usually goes to an existing manager, which will cause them stress and distract them from their current duties, or to a newly hired manager. It is difficult to put all your trust on a new hire to develop the plan which you expect to grow and expand your business. There is also no previous experience or result to draw from that can determine how effective the plan will be. You may end up in a ‘trial and error’ method to test and keep returning to the drawing board with different methods until you have found a content strategy that works. Each time you bring changes, the team will have to be briefed and you will have to allow them time to adjust before they can bring results.


Choosing between an in-house team and a marketing agency is not an easy decision to make. The two
best resources to consider are time, resources and risk. For many businesses, hiring an agency is
associated with less time, less resources and less risk but may be too expensive and hefty for smaller
business owners who are just starting out. Assess how much time, resource and risk each solution brings
to achieve your goals. But eventually in the long term it might be a mixture of both. Each business needs to find the delicate and most optimized balance.

If you need help finding an agency you can look for an agency using Ad World Masters search the platform is free to use, register today to save agency to shortlist and take chemistry test with agencies you are interested in.

We also offer consulting services with dedicate help to assess your marketing needs and present you the best agencies for you. Please consult our Consulting Services for more information.

Related articles