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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin McCoy

Agency vs. in-house marketing (and the third option you didn’t know you needed)

You’re a purpose-led brand reimagining the world. You have a big, powerful message to share—but how do you get it “out there”?

A question we consistently hear is “How do I know whether I should work with an agency or hire in-house for marketing?” The answer is: it depends.

Let’s explore when you should hire an agency; hire in-house; or our personal favorite, connect your in-house team with an agency.

Hiring an agency

When you’re a small business, early-stage startup, or solopreneur (as many passion-led brands are at first), you’re used to doing everything yourself. You are the CEO, Director of Operations, Account Manager, and potentially Accountant as well as many other titles. You’ve likely started getting word of mouth out about your business yourself—but depending on your background and level of experience with marketing, you may choose to outsource this aspect of your business early on.

This is when it’s the right move to hire an agency that can strategically align your goals with your vision and create a marketing plan to accomplish those goals.

You’ll want to look for an agency that shares your own personal and business values and has the acumen on their side to accomplish what will move your brand and business forward.

Hiring in-house

Hiring an in-house person, if you’re that early-stage business owner, is a wonderful way to get needed tasks accomplished while acknowledging that you’re only one person and cannot do it all.

If this is your first hire, you’re likely accustomed to doing many marketing tasks yourself, and so you can work with your new in-house employee or contractor to create a scope of work for each desired project or ongoing marketing work.

If you’re a growing company building a marketing team and know you’ll have the bandwidth to fund marketing efforts consistently, hiring an in-house marketing team that you know will only add to your company culture is a great idea.

Ensure that when you hire in-house, you give your marketing employee(s) the support they need. We often see companies (even large ones) so focused on the bottom line for each hire that they hire marketing roles to accomplish many disparate tasks in one 40-hour workweek: from video editing to social media creation and management; sometimes donor and client relations to fundraising and blog writing; even down to administrative tasks, like ordering company pens in bulk. When hiring an in-house role in this way, it’s difficult for the marketing employee to have the space to keep the bigger picture in mind. That’s when it’s time for our favorite option—hiring an agency to support your in-house marketing person or team.

Hiring an agency to support in-house

Imagine your in-house marketing person or team with all the support they need to see the big picture and how everything in the business is working together. When you hire an agency to support your in-house marketer(s)—through consulting, coaching, or even additional content creation—you’re setting your team and business up for the utmost success.

Marketers tend to come from many different backgrounds and many have specialties in different areas of all the tasks that can come under the umbrella of marketing. By partnering with an agency team, you’re able to get that 30,000 ft. view of whatever goal or objective your marketing efforts will achieve, all while tying your in-house marketer’s valuable perspective into any created efforts.

Is your in-house marketer more of a social media expert? Great! An agency can provide recommendations to tie those social media posts to business goals, and focus on an email strategy that will drive readers to your social feeds.

Is your in-house marketer more of a paid ads expert? Great! An agency can provide an organic content strategy that will help the brand grow with time and consistency, and show where paid ads can have the most impact with a robust messaging framework.

Is your in-house marketer more of a generalist? Great! An agency can piece in the structures that keep the many tasks they’re responsible for on track with the vision of where your brand is headed and fill in with any technical help where needed.

Embracing coaching + strategy

At Brilliant Marketing, we love to provide our clients with coaching as well as strategy for their marketing plans to further their business goals. We’ve found this unique combination to be a meaningful investment both in your brand but also in yourself or your marketing team.

Providing bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly marketing coaching helps our clients commit to their visions while learning and growing their marketing skills. Coupled with strategic marketing insights and recommendations, you can be sure your passion for your business will be carried through.

Whether you’re just starting out with your business or growing rapidly, we are excited to see how you reimagine the world.

Looking for help with an agency to support your in-house team? Contact us.


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