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Making the Choice Between In-house and Outsourced Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

Many organizations outsource their digital marketing to external agencies because they have no choice. The resources, talent, and time needed to run successful digital marketing campaigns are often prohibitive. But it doesn’t mean that outsourcing is bad for your brand – in fact, it could be the best deal you ever got.

Apart from the usual reasons given for or against outsourcing, the past few years of change in digital marketing have revealed more compelling evidence. We try to make an objective case for both in-house and outsourced digital marketing.

The Case for In-House Marketing Teams

Organizations that invest the large amounts of resources required for a successful in-house digital marketing team are often looking to maintain control. Internal marketing teams can maintain most of their operations within internal systems, which enables them to do more in terms of achieving your organization’s mission and values.

An in-house team will be fully immersed in your company structure and culture. The people within your organization have the unique opportunity to dig deep into the brand and thus create something much more than an external agency can.

In addition, having staff on call at any time allows organizations to control the pace of work more closely. At the end of the day, most of the big brands do it for the same of minimizing brand exposure and keeping knowledge of internal systems on a closed-loop.

In-house digital marketing is possible and it certainly works. If you have the numbers and the people, you can run elaborate campaigns and meet your marketing objectives with very little need for external support.

Pros of In-Sourcing

  • Organizations maintain control over proprietary processes and information
  • You have a team you can call on at any time
  • The team is already immersed in your brand culture and values, so they have the capacity to creating more immersive content
  • Without being bound by restrictive contracts, in-house teams can be more creative and experiment more freely
  • In-house teams are more stable and don’t have to operate under as much pressure to perform. With the right strategy and results, this can lead to a more wholesome experience for your whole team

Cons of In-Sourcing

  • In-house teams are not challenged to become better every day. The lack of pressure to perform can lead to stagnation, which can a deal-breaker in the competitive world of digital marketing
  • It is expensive when you have to hire different people to handle tasks like website maintenance, graphic design, email marketing, lead generation, and more. The software tools used, licenses, data mining technology, and others can also get very costly
  • In-house teams have little incentive to stay on top of industry trends, thus losing their competitive edge
  • While it is an advantage to be immersed in the corporate culture, it also exposes your digital marketing to internal politics. Even worse, it denies them an objective, “forest for the trees” view of what is working for you and what needs to be changed.

The Case for Outsourced Digital Marketing Operations

In addition to its affordability, there are many reasons why organizations choose to outsource their digital marketing functions. One of the biggest is the access to a wide range of specialized talent.

Established digital marketing agencies hire or retain a wide range of talented experts handling everything from PPC marketing to copywriting and website design. They have the capacity to offer full-service solutions in one convenient package, which is what many businesses need when they are just starting out.

In addition to this, outsourced digital marketing puts the expertise of industry veterans into your hands. Whether it’s the experience of a webmaster or the creativity of freshly interned computer experts, you get the right mix of knowledge, innovation, and skills that could give you a critical edge in the market.

These experts will often have a diverse tech stack that enables them to perform their work efficiently and effectively. From AI-powered tools to expensive software licenses, an agency gives you access to cutting-edge technology that most in-house teams simply wouldn’t have due to their cost.

A more valuable lesson that we have learned in the past year is just how versatile and flexible digital marketers need to be. As people went online during the lockdown, the demand for a different type of content rose.

Only the most versatile teams could react fast enough to meet this need and turn a disaster into an opportunity. In-house digital marketing teams are rarely this flexible, responsive, or forward-thinking.

On the creative side, having the right digital marketing agency by your side can help you obtain fresh viewpoints in the form of constructive criticism and valuable insights. These people can give objective opinions on the direction your marketing programs are going and offer solutions, and that is often because digital marketing contracts are result-based.

Finally, digital marketing agencies are often under the pressure to perform no matter what. This is what keeps the folks at such agencies razor-sharp. They attend forums and events to learn about the latest trends, conduct independent research, and constantly push boundaries to be better.

On the face of it and often in execution, small businesses are better off outsourcing their digital marketing efforts than doing them in-house.

Pros of Outsourcing Digital Marketing

  • Better resources
  • Access to a diverse talent
  • Performance-based reviews and contracts
  • Much more affordable
  • Scalable to grow with your business
  • More creative and innovative

Cons of Outsourcing Digital Marketing Operations for Small Businesses

  • Partnering with the wrong agency could lead to a lot of regrets, including a lack of clear communication and bad results
  • External teams often don’t take the time to understand your brand, your products, your culture, and your values. Often, this is reflected in your marketing campaigns as well
  • Agencies are often bound by contracts and have very little leeway to experiment

Conclusion: What About a Hybrid System

Most brands end up adopting a hybrid system of in-house teams with outsourced functions. This doesn’t mean that outsourcing becomes ineffective; instead, outsourcing some of your more technical operations enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds.

That can certainly be the case when you work with experts like the team at Article Hub. Whether you are looking for link-building services, content marketing, among other services, please contact our team to get started on your most successful partnership yet.

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