Help Me, Help You

Why Bringing Your Marketing In-House May Be the Worst Business Decision You Can Make

It’s a tale as old as time. A company is born. It outsources its marketing to an experienced agency that helps the company increase revenue and scale business. The company continues to see results from the marketing efforts of that agency and grows bigger. Everyone is happy.

And then the company reaches a point where it feels obligated to bring its marketing internal.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do right?” says the company. The company brings its marketing in-house and tries to replicate what that fully-staffed, expertly trained agency was able to do with a few new, in-house team members. It doesn’t work out great. Growth stalls. The company loses revenue and has to cut back on its marketing budget.

In my years in the marketing industry, I’ve seen this exact situation unfold numerous times. It’s normal for companies to grow, mature, and want to bring all their efforts internal. But I’m not sure when it became accepted as a best practice for companies to reach a certain level of success and deem it necessary to bring all their marketing in-house. I’ve personally seen dozens of companies make that mistake and then lose access to all of the market insight an agency brings to the table.

[To read more of Erik Huberman’s thought leadership click here]

On average, at my company, Hawke Media, our clients’ revenue increases by 274% within the first six months when we step in and take over marketing efforts. You know why? Because it’s literally what we are paid to do. And the low-hanging fruit that enable us to produce such incredible results so quickly aren’t seen by the internal team because they lack that outsider perspective.

Again, I’m not saying that companies aren’t capable or shouldn’t market themselves. But this misplaced obligation companies feel when it comes to bringing marketing in-house as some sort of right-of-passage can create some serious pitfalls in the long-run. Here’s why.

Companies don’t have the resources to train and develop a team.

Most, if not all, CEOs know at least some basic marketing. But to truly get the best results, you want your marketing strategy to be handled by experts. With an agency, you’re able to have a team of professionals who are experts, not just in marketing in general, but within specific facets of marketing like email, media buying, or social.

Companies attempting to bring all of their marketing in-house seriously struggle with finding talent and 71% of in-house creative leaders say they don’t even have enough time to develop team members. This means that most in-house teams aren’t going to be anywhere near as trained, knowledgeable, efficient, and experienced as an external agency. Hiring an outside team allows companies the ability to fill that team with individuals who are experts specifically in the areas in which the marketing is focused.

In-house marketers often have to be Jacks-of-all-trades, whereas marketing agencies devote resources into continually educating their employees to keep them on the cutting edge of their specific marketing niche. At Hawke, we pay for our employees to attend General Assembly classes to freshen up or expand their skills, industry conferences so that they know all the latest research in the field, and any other ways they find to continue to develop professionally.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t have that kind of budget to spend on their marketing, which puts the in-house marketing team at a serious disadvantage. In fact, 75% of marketers believe that their lack of skills is impacting revenue. Agencies satisfy this issue by providing a diverse team with the education and experience to get the job done.

Their budgets become rigid and flexible.

A static budget is not an adaptable budget. This is the real world. Things aren’t always going to go to plan. Flexible budgets are able to adjust when that change inevitably happens. The Motley Fool said it best: “A flexible budget can handle that reality and better position a company for the challenges of the marketplace.”

At Hawke, we understand the tumultuous nature of the ecommerce industry and we don’t want our clients to feel like they’re trapped into these long, expensive contracts. That’s why we offer all our services a la carte and on a month-to-month basis. Clients are able to adjust budget and add or take away services without any contractual obligations. If they need to cut back on marketing efforts during their slower months, they can. If sales have been incredible and they’re ready to scale up, they can do that too.

Companies need to be ready and able to adapt at a moment’s notice. Having an outsourced marketing team allows for immediate mobilization because you have instant access to a team of specialized, experienced marketers. It also allows brands the opportunity to be bolder and more creative since there’s no long-term commitment.

They struggle to see the forest from the trees.

Agencies have an outside perspective and are going to be much less biased than an in-house team. In order to successfully market to current and prospective audiences, you’re going to need to be able to put yourself in their shoes in order to assess what exactly they need. An agency is going to provide a much more objective perspective.

Additionally, marketers at marketing agencies are in the trenches day in and day out. They work with numerous clients and have a large network of vendors and channels. These people know what they’re talking about and have the experience to prove it.

In fact, even companies that have in-house marketing teams will work with outside agencies. According to the 2018 In-House Creative Industry Report, at least 77% of in-house teams partner with external agencies, which tells you that even solid internal creative teams need outsider advice to keep that needle moving.

And they lose valuable time and resources in the process.

Time is money. Literally.

An outsourced team is going to provide a faster speed to market than an in-house team since marketing agencies have larger staffs, a plethora of resources and the expertise to churn out quality deliverables quickly. Agencies have to be efficient, as they are results-driven, and employees are used to juggling and prioritizing the needs of different clients. The processes already established at these agencies allow them to produce high-quality work on deadline and within budget.

Additionally, hiring an outside team is exponentially cheaper than recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and paying an in-house team. Bringing on a firm makes it easier for companies to scale up if things are going well, as well as cut back or go a different route if the company isn’t happy with the agency’s results.

The proof is in the pudding

Outsourced marketing teams are built specifically to deliver exceptional results in an efficient manner

At Hawke, we’ve seen client revenue per day grow by as much as 3,500%. Even with an established brand like Tamara Mellon, we were able to make an impact – increasing the brand’s revenue per day by 280% and overall revenues by 50%.

The allure to owning and bringing all your efforts in-house may be tempting, but it just doesn’t make sense. Of course, the decision to outsource or not must be addressed on a case-by-case basis and influenced by your company’s specific needs, but we’ve all heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If you’re seeing great results with your outsourced marketing agency, there’s no rule that states you must transition to in-house just because you’re finally seeing some success. Stick to what you’re great at and let the experts handle the rest.

[For more insight from Hawke Media click here]