Many businesses struggle with the choice of choosing an agency vs. doing the inbound marketing in-house. There are definitely factors that impact the success that each option can have on your marketing. However, what most businesses fail to take into account is cost.
When we discuss cost, we don’t necessarily mean the monetary costs of running an inbound campaign (though that certainly is a component). We mean non-monetary costs like time, resources, staff training, etc. Knowing the significance of these costs on an organization is challenging when deciding which option is best for you.
To understand this, you must first know what your costs are or will be.
Hiring and Training a Marketing Team
Perhaps the largest cost to companies looking to do inbound marketing in-house is staffing. This impacts teams without a marketing department, as well as those with an established one. The biggest concern businesses face is bringing a team on board to use a new strategy like inbound, or finding the talent that can implement it.
If you already have a marketing team, it means spending money on training. And the training and transition of your team to inbound methods can easily take months. If you do not already have a team, it means hiring and onboarding new staff to implement your plan.
Additionally, adding staff salaries is pricey. The average national salary for a marketing manager is $80,898, per Glassdoor. If you choose to hire a marketing director, that salary can run you $121,744. Then you have to account for the rest of the team — designers, copywriters, strategists, and developers.
Factor in the two to three months it will take for onboarding, and add that to those costs. Then consider turnover, additional hiring as needed, and additional training.
Quality and Quantity of In-House Marketing
Another factor to consider when bringing inbound marketing in-house is understanding the costs related to workflow variance. There are busy times and lulls, which will impact your team’s efficiency and productivity. This can affect the overall return on your marketing investment.
Quality is trickier to directly quantify or put a number value to, however, it is an equally important cost. The quality of your marketing efforts impacts the effectiveness of your strategy. With a newer team, a dip in quality will recover over time but may cost you leads or require additional efforts to meet goals. Ultimately, this means more time spent on the campaign than originally budgeted.
An agency will have a number of proven inbound marketing resources, services, and software that are efficient to their processes. Usually, the agency covers the costs of these and will split and pass the cost amongst each client. When doing inbound marketing in-house you will be forced to learn which resources work for you, and cover the entire cost yourself. This will likely be more overall than what the agency charges you for their resources.
The reasons for this are widespread. First, you’ll likely have more trial and error associated with these resources as you learn the effectiveness of different tools over time. In addition, while an agency will pay a large cost for a high-level tool, that cost spread among a lot of clients will mean a small cost to you. There’s also the cost of learning and developing processes for a tool. Finally, the time that goes into finding and researching a tool, learning that tool, and training staff is a cost to you.
Know Your Capabilities
While all these costs aren’t necessarily deterrents from bringing inbound marketing in-house, they are often overlooked. When calculating the value of an agency vs. taking your inbound marketing in-house, it’s important to analyze the cost and time factors in order to figure out the true impact to your company. Only then will you truly capture the differential and determine which method is most effective.
The key to success with digital marketing is to have an integrated strategy that speaks to your customer in ways they want. Download our infographic to see how an integrated strategy like inbound marketing can benefit you.