In-house Marketing vs. Agency: Pros & Cons

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What is in-house marketing?

A strong marketing strategy is crucial for every company in today’s highly competitive business world. No matter the size or industry, standing out and attracting customers is necessary. Entrepreneurs often face a big question as businesses grow: Should they handle marketing in-house or bring in a marketing agency?
We bring you a brief overview of the differences between in-house marketing and working with a marketing agency.
In-house marketing involves the company’s employees managing all marketing activities. Building an effective in-house marketing team entails several steps, including identifying your company’s needs, defining roles, creating job descriptions, recruiting candidates, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new employees. Essential positions for an in-house marketing team typically include a marketing manager, SEO manager, graphic designer, and marketing data analyst. An in-house team offers numerous benefits, such as control over marketing efforts and potential cost savings.

What is a marketing agency?

A marketing agency is a company that provides marketing services to clients across various industries. These agencies aim to grow their clients’ businesses and increase revenue by helping them achieve business goals. They promote products or services through diverse channels, including advertising, branding, public relations, and social media. Marketing agencies offer specialized expertise and can provide comprehensive marketing solutions tailored to business needs.

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Pros of in-house marketing

  • Brand familiarity: No one knows your brand like you. You know best how to position the product on the market, how your loyal customers think, and how to highlight its advantages over the competition.
  • Decision-making: With an in-house team, the company’s management can easily participate in marketing operations, ensuring that all activities align with the company’s overall vision. This close involvement allows better interconnection and strategic alignment.
  • Communication: Implementing decisions is faster with in-house marketing because your colleague in charge of a specific marketing segment sits next to you. This enables more rapid adjustments to strategies, communication messages, and responses to market changes.
  • Workflow: An in-house marketing team focuses entirely on the company’s growth, leading to more efficient task completion and faster workflow. Team members are dedicated exclusively to the company’s goals, ensuring that all efforts are concentrated on achieving those objectives.
  • Collaboration: Effective collaboration between the marketing and sales departments is crucial for business success. Clear goals and expectations for each project promote teamwork, keeping the company ahead of competitors by ensuring both departments have up-to-date information for strategic planning.
  • Better control: In-house marketing provides complete control over marketing efforts. Companies can direct their teams, set priorities, and closely monitor the progress of marketing campaigns. This control also allows the creation of customized processes tailored to the company’s needs.
  • More trust: Some marketing content production processes require disclosing sensitive information. An in-house team minimizes the risk of third-party access to sensitive data, protecting the brand’s integrity.
  • Data security: With an in-house team, all data remains within the organization, enhancing data security. This control over data allows for better insights and more suitable content creation, which can lead to higher customer conversion rates.

Cons of in-house marketing

  • Capabilities: Smaller companies with small marketing teams may need more support due to insufficient experts and restricted skill sets. However, with prior marketing experience, managing marketing activities in-house can be easy.
  • Employee costs: Hiring new employees, especially for new positions, is time-consuming and costly. The recruitment process requires significant investment in time, money, and effort. Moreover, skilled talent comes with high salary expectations, adding to the financial burden.
  • Software costs: Advanced marketing tools are often necessary for effective data collection and analysis. Free tools may not provide the required insights, and investing in sophisticated tools requires additional expertise to interpret the data accurately.
  • Scalability: In-house teams have limited resources and personnel. Scaling marketing efforts requires either reallocating existing resources or hiring additional staff, which can take time and effort.
  • Lack of creativity: Over time, working with the same team can lead to a need for more fresh ideas and creativity. When confined to the same framework, thinking outside the box and adopting new perspectives can be challenging.

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Pros for a marketing agency

  • Expertise: Marketing agencies have teams of experts with specialized knowledge and experience in various marketing areas. They invest in the latest tools and education to stay competitive, allowing them to work on larger projects, follow trends, and define strategies more effectively. Their broad experience with multiple clients provides valuable insights into strategic planning and market trends.
  • Flexibility: Agencies can quickly scale marketing efforts up or down based on business needs and market conditions, offering flexibility that is difficult to achieve in-house. They can adjust their services to meet your business’s evolving requirements without additional hiring.
  • Creativity: External agencies bring new ideas and creativity to advertising campaigns and strategies. As outsiders, they can provide a broad perspective on your business and offer suggestions and ideas that an in-house team may not have considered.
  • Resource: Marketing agencies offer flexibility in resource allocation. They can quickly adjust their team size and resources based on your needs, providing a faster, more time-effective way to implement marketing plans.
  • Cost: Outsourcing to a marketing agency can be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team. You only pay for the services you need without incurring the overhead costs associated with salaries, benefits, and other employee expenses.

Cons for a marketing agency

  • Unfamiliarity of business: Initially, marketing agencies may require time to fully understand your brand and business goals. However, a good agency will quickly learn your needs and how to highlight your unique selling propositions (USPs). They can also identify opportunities that may be absent from your in-house team, thanks to their experience with similar projects in your industry.
  • Communication: Communication with an external agency can sometimes be slow and unclear, mainly via email. Establishing an efficient communication rhythm is essential to avoid delays and misunderstandings.
  • Transparency: The main difference between using an agency and doing it in-house is that you pay for the time spent by a person in the agency, which covers their business costs and the agency’s profit. If you consider this, employing someone directly over employing an agency may appear more economical.
  • Control: When you work with an agency, remember that you might not have complete control over the marketing plans and execution. Depending on your agreement with the agency, the agency will base its decisions on expertise, which may not always align with the company’s goals.
  • Multiple clients: The fact that digital marketing agencies work with different companies sometimes makes businesses feel neglected. However, when you work with an experienced, client-focused agency, you shouldn’t feel this way. Your account manager should make you feel like they are part of your team.

illustration of networking with two people in suits shaking hands and with silhouettes of business people behind them

Hybrid Approach

Combining in-house and marketing agencies, a hybrid approach can be an effective solution for businesses without the budget to hire a fully staffed marketing team. By hiring a digital marketing agency, companies can access a range of experts while retaining some in-house capabilities. For instance, with the salary of a social media manager, you could hire a professional social media firm, gaining access to various digital marketing specialists. As the business grows, a hybrid model allows for a blend of in-house expertise and outsourced agency services. This approach ensures that the company’s voice is consistently represented while benefiting from the fresh ideas and strategies an external agency provides. Core marketing activities can be managed internally, while specialized tasks, such as social media management or advanced analytics, can be outsourced to experts.

Tips for in-house marketing

  • Hire Key Roles: Essential positions include marketing manager, SEO manager, graphic designer, and marketing data analyst.
  • Align Goals: Ensure all team members understand and align with your company’s goals.
  • Identify Target Audience: Clearly define your target audience before creating any content.
  • Develop a Content Strategy: Create content that aligns with your brand’s tone of voice and values.

Tips for Working with a Marketing Agency

  • Establish Clear Roles: Assign a primary point of contact within your company to liaise with the agency.
  • Set Clear Goals: Define specific KPIs and metrics to measure success.
  • Expectations: Ensure your team and the agency have clearly defined roles and expectations.


The choice between in-house marketing and hiring a marketing agency depends on various factors, including budget, specific needs, and long-term business goals.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and a hybrid model can often provide the best of both worlds. By carefully evaluating your company’s needs and resources, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your strategic goals. Deciding between in-house marketing and hiring a marketing agency can be challenging, but understanding each option’s benefits and drawbacks can help guide you to the best choice for your business.

In-house marketing teams offer greater control, brand familiarity, and faster communication but may need more specialized expertise and scalability than agencies provide. On the other hand, marketing agencies bring specialized skills, fresh perspectives, and cost-effectiveness but might initially need help with brand familiarity and seamless communication.

The best approach for your company will depend on your specific circumstances, goals, and resources. A hybrid model can offer a balanced solution, allowing you to leverage the strengths of both in-house teams and external agencies. By strategically combining these approaches, you can create a robust marketing strategy that drives growth and success in a competitive business environment. By thoroughly assessing the pros and cons of each option and considering a hybrid approach, you can develop a marketing strategy that meets your immediate needs and positions your company for long-term success. With the right balance of in-house capabilities and external expertise, your business can thrive, attract new customers, and stay ahead of the competition.