paid media should you hire in house or outsource to an agency

In the fast-paced digital marketing landscape, many brands face a pivotal decision: should you build an in-house marketing team or outsource to a specialized agency?

In paid search and social media advertising especially, this choice impacts operational efficiency, agility in execution, and the overall success of paid marketing campaigns. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach, plus a third option: a Hybrid model, where responsibilities are shared between internal and external teams.

In-House Marketing Team

An in-house team is not just employees; they are the custodians of your brand. Their focus on your brand’s objectives and intimate understanding of your products make them a potent force. However, this comes with its own set of challenges, from the significant investment required to assemble a top-tier team to the scalability constraints in changing market dynamics.

Pros of an In-House Team:

Instant Updates and Seamless Communication

An in-house team guarantees swift communication, facilitating immediate adjustments based on analytics and market changes. The streamlined process enhances efficiency and ensures that all marketing activities are perfectly in sync with the latest data insights.

Rapid Decision-Making and Approvals

With the marketing team on-site, decisions and approvals can be expedited, allowing for agile responses to strategic opportunities. Proximity allows for a more dynamic marketing approach, where strategies can be altered or intensified quickly to capitalize on immediate opportunities or to mitigate emerging threats. Taken together, this may mean greater potential for high returns on investment.

Integrated Collaboration Across Departments

An internal team ensures that marketing efforts are closely aligned with the broader company objectives through direct collaboration with other departments, leading to more cohesive and strategic campaign management. This integration fosters a unified approach to achieving business goals, leveraging insights and expertise from across the organization to inform and optimize marketing strategies.

Cons of an In-House Team:

Operational Costs

Establishing a skilled in-house team involves substantial costs related to hiring, salaries, training, and technology, which might exceed budget constraints or mean less budget available to campaigns. The financial implications of building and maintaining a comprehensive in-house team necessitate a careful evaluation of ROI, as these investments can significantly impact the company’s overall budget.

Limited Range of Expertise

Relying solely on an internal team may prevent you from having access to a wider spectrum of skills and innovative solutions typically offered by external agencies. The diversity and effectiveness of marketing strategies may therefore suffer. This limitation can hinder a company’s ability to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, where varied expertise and creativity drive success.

Challenges in Scaling Efforts

Expanding the reach and intensity of paid search and social media campaigns swiftly can be difficult without the addition of specialized personnel—making it challenging to scale marketing efforts in line with growth opportunities. As market demands and opportunities grow, the need for a scalable marketing strategy becomes crucial, and the inability to quickly adapt and expand efforts can result in missed opportunities and diminished competitiveness.

paid media in house

Outsourcing to a Marketing Agency

Outsourcing to an agency offers a plug-and-play solution with immediate access to a diverse pool of expertise and cutting-edge technology—a pool that includes talent that most SMBs might not have access to otherwise

Agencies bring a fresh perspective—injecting innovation and creative strategies that have been proven across industries. But this model may sometimes lack a nuanced understanding of your brand’s core identity and values, leading to potential misalignments.

Pros of Hiring an Agency:

Budget and ROI

It’s essential to evaluate the cost implications of both options in relation to expected ROI, particularly for paid search and social campaigns where efficiency and expertise directly impact performance. 

  • The salary for a single digital marketing manager can range from $90,000 to $200,000 annually, depending on their level of experience. This translates to a monthly expense of approximately $10,000 to $20,000 once benefits, taxes, and the need for ongoing training are accounted for. Choosing a marketing agency, however, presents a more cost-effective alternative.
  • Monthly fees for agency services can range from $5,000 for smaller programs to over $30,000, depending on the project’s size and scope. The major difference is that this investment provides access to a comprehensive team of experts specializing in various aspects of digital marketing, such as SEO, PPC, social media marketing, design, and analytics.

Access to the Agency’s Broader Team

Choosing an agency for your paid media means tapping into a pool of expertise that often spans the entire digital marketing landscape. 

  • The agency’s broad knowledge base can provide a strategic edge across your digital marketing endeavors. 
  • Gain access to additional marketing tools and industry insights—resources that would otherwise come at an additional expense. 
  • The diverse skills and innovative strategies through an agency can be particularly beneficial for paid search and social media marketing because these are areas that constantly evolve with technology and user behavior.

Exclusive Platform Partnerships

Marketing agencies often boast privileged relationships with key figures at major digital platforms, ranging from Google and Bing to social giants like Facebook and LinkedIn. These connections facilitate swift resolutions during technical snags or when reaching out to customer support and place businesses at the forefront of platform innovations and updates.

Agencies’ elevated status with search engine and social media platforms frequently grants them early access to beta features, allowing them to test new campaign types and automation that might benefit your business in the future.

Flexibility and Speed

The need for agility in optimizing campaigns and responding to analytics suggests that the flexibility provided by agencies can be highly valuable, especially in dynamic market conditions.

Expertise and Innovation

Agencies uphold rigorous benchmarks and standards to remain at the pinnacle of a highly competitive market. This commitment ensures that agency professionals are consistently abreast of the latest certifications, educational advancements, and trends. Plus, your agency teams are working across more than one business and often across industries, giving them valuable insight into trends at a broader level.

Cons of Hiring an Agency:

Reduced Direct Control

Working with an agency means less control over the day-to-day management of campaigns, which may concern some businesses. This reduction in oversight can make it more challenging to ensure that every aspect of a campaign reflects the company’s immediate priorities and nuanced branding strategies.

Risk of Misalignment

There’s a potential risk of campaigns failing to fully align with company objectives due to the external team’s less intimate understanding of your business. This distance can sometimes lead to strategies that, while effective in general, may resonate less with your target audience.

Communication Challenges

Effective coordination with an external team requires clear communication, which can sometimes introduce delays in campaign adjustments or strategy shifts. These delays can be critical in a fast-paced market environment where timing and rapid response to trends can significantly impact campaign success.

paid media team looking at graphs

The Hybrid Advantage

In the complex and competitive landscape of enterprise-level marketing, the one-size-fits-all approach needs to be revised. Recognizing this, at Intrepid Digital, we advocate for a hybrid marketing strategy that synergizes the strengths of in-house capabilities with the agility and expertise of outsourced agencies. 

Here’s one way it could work:

  • The in-house team retains core strategy and brand messaging to ensure marketing initiatives align with the brand’s core identity and long-term goals. The internal team sets the overall marketing direction and key messaging and maintains control over the brand voice. 
  • The agency team owns operational execution, including campaign management and activations, drawing on their expertise in best practices. This approach provides the in-house team with agility and scalability not previously available to them.

This partnership allows the brand to dynamically adjust marketing efforts, swiftly tackling high-impact, time-sensitive projects, while the agency infuses fresh, innovative ideas into the day-to-day campaign execution.

Here are some benefits of this approach:

Strategic Flexibility

A hybrid model offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing brands to maintain core marketing activities in-house while outsourcing specific, high-impact projects or seasonal campaigns. This adaptability is crucial in responding to market changes or capitalizing on emerging opportunities with speed and precision.

Cost Efficiency

By strategically outsourcing certain tasks, companies can optimize their budgets, focusing in-house resources on areas where they have the strongest impact while minimizing the fixed costs associated with a larger internal team.

Fresh Insight

External agencies like Intrepid Digital bring fresh perspectives, diverse industry insights, and innovative strategies that can rejuvenate your marketing efforts. This infusion of new ideas can be the catalyst for breakthrough campaigns and initiatives.

Scalability on Demand

The ability to scale marketing efforts up or down without the constraints of internal resource limitations is a game-changer. A hybrid model provides the elasticity to expand your marketing reach or dial back, aligning perfectly with business cycles and budget considerations.

Advanced Analytics

This collaborative dynamic extends to reporting and data analysis as well. Agencies deploy advanced analytics tools to gauge campaign performance, providing insights that—when combined with the in-house team’s expertise—can guide refinements and informed decision-making.

Interested in an agency approach that adapts to your evolving needs? 

Let’s explore the hybrid model between your in-house capabilities and our agency’s dynamic resources. Get started here

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