In-House Marketing vs. Agency: Is Marketing In-House the Best Decision?

on Blog November 02nd, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, the marketing landscape is undergoing a transformative shift. Traditional methods of reaching audiences are being overshadowed by the dynamic realm of digital marketing.

As businesses strive to adapt, they’re met with a plethora of tools, platforms, and strategies, each promising to be the key to unlocking unparalleled growth.

The digital age, while offering boundless opportunities, also brings with it a web of complexities.

For businesses, this evolution presents a pressing dilemma: to build an in-house marketing team deeply embedded within the company’s ethos or to collaborate with specialized marketing agencies, bringing a wealth of diverse expertise to the table.

Each choice has its merits, and the decision is far from straightforward. As we delve deeper into this topic, we aim to shed light on this pivotal choice, helping businesses navigate the intricate pathways of modern marketing.


marketing inhouse

In-House Marketing vs Agency: Differences and Similarities

In the vast realm of marketing, there are two primary pathways a business can tread: in-house or agency. Let’s first delve into the differences between these two options.

What is In-House Marketing?

In-house marketing, as the name suggests, revolves around the concept of managing and executing marketing activities internally within the organization itself. It involves leveraging the company’s own resources, be it personnel, tools, or technology, to strategize and implement marketing campaigns.

An in-house marketing team is typically composed of employees who are dedicated to the company’s marketing efforts, working closely with other departments to ensure alignment with the overall business objectives.

Being deeply embedded within the company, the in-house team is inherently familiar with the brand’s identity, its mission, and its values.

They operate within the company’s ecosystem, collaborating directly with internal marketing teams, including product teams, sales departments, and other internal stakeholders.

This close-knit collaboration ensures that the marketing strategies and campaigns are in sync with the company’s broader goals and vision.

What is a Marketing Agency?

A marketing agency is an external organization that specializes in crafting and executing marketing strategies for businesses. When pondering, “What does a marketing agency do?” one can envision a hub of diverse professionals, each bringing a unique skill set to the table.

This collective expertise provides businesses with access to a broader range of tools and knowledge than they might have in-house.

One of the hallmarks of an external agency is its scalability and flexibility in services. Whether a business is looking to launch a comprehensive digital campaign or simply needs assistance with social media management, digital marketing agencies can tailor their offerings to meet varying demands.

This adaptability ensures that businesses can scale up or down based on their marketing needs. Additionally, opting to outsource marketing to an agency brings a fresh, external perspective to a company’s brand strategy.

Quick Summary of the Differences & Similarities of In-House vs. Agency Marketing

Navigating the marketing realm often presents businesses with a pivotal question: should they go in-house or hire an agency? In this section, we’ll distill the core differences and similarities between the two, providing a concise comparison to guide your decision-making process.

Dive into our table below for a snapshot of the key points.

inhouse marketing

The Pros & Cons of Hiring In-House Marketing

When considering whether to opt for an in-house marketing team, it’s essential to weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key pros and cons.


  • Deep Integration: Seamless alignment with the company’s culture and values, leading to a more cohesive marketing strategy.
  • Brand Familiarity: In-house teams are deeply familiar with the brand and its evolution, allowing them to make data-driven decisions that are well-aligned with the company’s objectives.
  • Faster Coordination & Decision-Making: As the team is on-site, it’s typically easier and faster to coordinate and make decisions.
  • Long-Term Economies: Over time, an in-house marketer can lead to significant cost savings, especially when considering recurring external agency fees.


  • Skillset Boundaries: The expertise is confined to the capabilities of the existing team members, limiting the diversity and range of skills available.
  • Resource & Infrastructure Costs: The company incurs all costs associated with building an in-house team, such as salary, benefits, training, software licenses, and more.
  • Limited Objectivity: As employees of the company, there may be biases or limitations that can prevent them from viewing marketing strategies objectively.
  • Trend Adaptability: Staying updated with the ever-evolving marketing landscape can be challenging without diverse external insights.

The Pros & Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the potential benefits of hiring a marketing agency and the drawbacks.


  • Expertise on Tap: Access to a diverse skillset, including marketing specialists and industry experts, providing a wide range of resources and knowledge to tap into.
  • Cost-Effective: By hiring an external agency, businesses can avoid the overhead costs associated with building an in-house marketing team.
  • Scalability & Flexibility: Agencies offer customizable services that are scalable as per a business’s changing marketing needs.
  • Fresh Perspective: An external perspective can provide valuable insights and fresh ideas, breathing new life into a business’s marketing strategy.


  • Lack of Familiarity: It may take time for an agency to get fully acquainted with a company’s brand, mission, and values.
  • Communication Barriers: With an external agency, communication may not be as seamless compared to an in-house team. Regular communication and updates may be required to ensure alignment with the company’s objectives.
  • Less Control: When outsourcing marketing, businesses have less control over the execution of campaigns, which can lead to concerns about brand representation.

At, we prioritize prompt communication and are committed to responding to client emails within 24 hours. This holds particularly true for urgent situations. Our dedication to timely and efficient communication sets us apart.

How Much Do They Cost?

When it comes to marketing, understanding the financial implications is crucial. Whether you’re considering building an in-house team or partnering with an agency, here’s a brief overview of the costs involved:

In-House Marketing Costs:


Building an in-house team means hiring professionals. The average salaries for various marketing roles can range from $48,000 for roles like SEO Specialist or Social Media Marketing Specialist to $65,000 for a Digital Marketing Manager.

Additional Employee Costs:

Beyond the base salary, there are other expenses such as taxes, insurance, retirement plans, and equipment. On average, these can add 40-100% to an employee’s salary.

For instance, an SEO specialist with an average salary of $48,000 might cost a company upwards of $67,000 annually when these additional costs are factored in.

Tools & Training:

In-house marketing teams also require tools for their marketing campaigns. This includes SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush and potentially freelance services for specialized tasks.

While some tools might still be needed when working with an agency, agencies typically have their own set of tools that they leverage for their clients.

Agency Pricing Models:


Imagine having a dedicated team of experts at your beck and calling for a fixed monthly or yearly fee.

On average, for about $5,000 a month, you gain access to a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services, from SEO to PPC and content marketing. It’s like having an entire marketing department without the overheads.


Need a specific project executed flawlessly? With project-based pricing, you’re looking at a one-time investment, say around $15,000, for a state-of-the-art website redesign. No recurring costs, just one-time excellence tailored to your needs.


Flexibility is the name of the game. For specialized tasks that don’t require a full-time commitment, an average rate of $100 per hour ensures you’re only paying for what you need in real-time when you need it. It’s efficiency and expertise rolled into one.

The Agency Advantage:

Diverse Expertise:

With agencies, you’re not just hiring a team; you’re accessing a reservoir of cross-industry knowledge. They’ve seen it all, from healthcare to e-commerce, ensuring you benefit from tried and tested strategies.

Cutting-Edge Tools:

Why invest heavily in premium tools when agencies already have them? Tools like SEMrush or HubSpot, which might set you back hundreds monthly, come as part of the package with agencies. You get the best without the hefty price tag.

Scalability on Demand:

Launching a new product? Want to dial down post-launch? Agencies can adjust their efforts in real time, ensuring you’re always market-ready without the rigidity of fixed in-house teams.

When to Build an In-House Marketing Team

Ultimately, the decision to build an in-house team or partner with an agency depends on your specific needs and resources. Here are a few scenarios where building an in-house marketing team may be the best option:

Consistent High Volume Work

When the workload is not just consistent but also voluminous, especially tasks demanding specialized expertise, the scales tip in favor of in-house hiring; consider content creation, for instance.

Engaging dedicated writers for such consistent demands can translate to substantial cost savings over time, offering both quality and quantity.

Complex In-House Processes

Certain industries come with their labyrinth of internal processes, often too intricate for an external agency to navigate seamlessly.

If your business operates within such a maze, especially in sectors bound by stringent regulations and compliance mandates, an in-house team can prove invaluable. Their innate understanding of the company’s operations ensures efficiency and adherence to industry norms.

Long-Term Strategy Alignment

A vision that stretches into the distant future demands unwavering commitment and specialized expertise.

When your digital marketing strategy is a marathon and not a sprint, an internal marketing team can align more holistically with the company’s ethos, ensuring that every effort resonates with the brand’s long-term goals and values.

When Should You Hire a Marketing Agency

Seeking Diverse Expertise:

The vast expanse of marketing encompasses myriad specialties. If your brand seeks prowess across multiple marketing domains, an agency, with its diverse talent pool, can be the answer. They bring a melange of expertise, ensuring every facet of marketing is addressed with finesse.

Scalability and Flexibility

Business needs are dynamic, often requiring rapid scaling up or down. Marketing agencies, with their flexible models, can adapt to these changing demands, ensuring your brand remains agile and responsive to market fluctuations.

Staying Abreast of Trends

The marketing realm is ever-evolving, with trends fleeting and new ones emerging. Partnering with a marketing agency ensures your brand remains at the forefront, leveraging the latest strategies and tools to stay ahead of the curve.

Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

Marketing agencies often invest in the latest tools and software to stay competitive.

By partnering with them, businesses can leverage these advanced technologies without the overhead of purchasing and maintaining them. This ensures campaigns are optimized with the best tools available.

Cost-Effective Solutions

While there’s an upfront cost associated with hiring an agency, it can often be more cost-effective in the long run. Consider the expenses of hiring full-time professionals, training, benefits, and tools. An agency consolidates these costs and offers a team of experts at a fraction of the price.

Fresh Perspective

An external agency brings a fresh set of eyes to your marketing strategy. They can offer unbiased feedback, introduce innovative ideas, and challenge existing norms, leading to more effective campaigns.

Time Savings

Time is a precious commodity. By outsourcing marketing efforts, businesses can focus on their core competencies, leaving the intricacies of marketing campaigns to seasoned professionals. This saves time and allows for a more efficient use of resources.

Adaptable Resources

Marketing needs can fluctuate based on various factors like seasonality, market trends, or business growth. Agencies can quickly ramp up or scale down resources as required, ensuring optimal results without the rigidity of fixed teams.

Expertise in Multiple Channels

The digital landscape is vast, encompassing channels like SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, and more. Marketing agencies typically have specialists in each of these areas, ensuring each channel is optimized for maximum ROI.

Continuous Learning and Development

Agencies are in the thick of the marketing world. They’re constantly updating their knowledge, attending workshops, and gaining certifications. This continuous learning ensures that they’re always using the best and latest strategies for their clients.

Performance Analysis

With their finger on the pulse of analytics, agencies provide regular performance reports, ensuring transparency and allowing for data-driven decisions. They have the expertise to interpret data and adjust strategies for optimal results.

Another Option: A Hybrid Approach

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, businesses are often faced with the dilemma of choosing between an in-house team and an external agency.

However, there’s a third option that’s gaining traction: the hybrid approach. This model combines the strengths of both in-house and agency teams, offering a balanced and flexible solution.

Benefits of Combining In-House and Agency Expertise

The hybrid approach brings together the best of both worlds. By leveraging in-house expertise, businesses can ensure that marketing efforts are closely aligned with their brand values and company culture.

On the other hand, agencies bring a wealth of external experience, tools, and fresh perspectives. This combination can lead to more innovative and effective campaigns tailored to a company’s unique needs.

Collaboration Between In-House Marketing Managers and Agencies

An in-house Marketing Manager plays a pivotal role in the hybrid model. They act as the bridge between the internal team and the external agency, ensuring seamless communication and collaboration.

With a clear understanding of the company’s goals and values, the Marketing Manager can provide direction to the agency, ensuring that campaigns are on-brand and aligned with business objectives.

At the same time, they can leverage the agency’s expertise to introduce new strategies and tools to the in-house team.

The Role of an Outsourced Fractional CMO

For businesses that aren’t ready to invest in a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) but recognize the need for strategic guidance, an outsourced Fractional CMO can be the answer. This professional offers the expertise of a seasoned CMO but works on a part-time or project basis.

They can provide direction to the in-house team, set strategic goals, and ensure that both the internal team and external agency are working in harmony.

By offering high-level insights and strategies, a Fractional CMO can drive significant ROI, ensuring that marketing efforts are cohesive, effective, and aligned with the broader business strategy.

Agency vs. In-house Marketing. So Which Is Better?

The choice between an in-house marketing team and a marketing agency largely depends on your company’s unique goals, resources, and marketing needs. Both paths have distinct strengths and weaknesses, offering different avenues to achieve your marketing objectives.

However, leaning towards a marketing agency can open up a realm of diverse expertise, flexibility, and fresh perspectives. The scalability and the ability to stay ahead with evolving market trends offered by agencies can be enticing.

The key is to find the balance that aligns well with your business strategy, fostering a relationship that propels your brand towards its goals.

A thorough exploration reflecting on your long-term business trajectory and marketing demands will guide the decision. Often, the multifaceted advantages of a marketing agency align well with strategic outlooks, making it an attractive option.

Let Us Help You Find What Options Fit Your Business Best

Navigating marketing requires expertise, strategic foresight, and an understanding of your business’s unique needs. When leaning towards a marketing agency, selecting the right partner is crucial for your brand’s growth. is a prime choice for those seeking a marketing agency’s expertise. Our seasoned team crafts strategies that resonate with your brand’s ethos and objectives.

Making an informed decision is pivotal. It’s about aligning with a partner who translates your vision into actionable, results-driven strategies. At Fannit, we offer a personalized approach that propels your brand towards sustained growth.

Your journey towards impactful marketing begins with the right partnership. Reach out for personalized guidance from Fannit and explore marketing solutions that align seamlessly with your business’s aspirations. With Fannit, you’re gaining a partner vested in your brand’s success.

Keith Eneix

My brother Neil and I founded Fannit in 2010 and set out to help entrepreneurs just like us achieve their dreams of being successful business owners. It’s been a rewarding journey for us, and we love every day of it. Inside of Fannit, I work with both our internal team and our clients to make sure that we have everybody working the right roles and we’re being as efficient as possible as a team. I’m always happy to step in whenever there is a difficult SEO challenge at hand... it’s the element of marketing that I’m most passionate about. We’re all here to get better and grow, and that’s what gets me up in the morning! Connect with me on LinkedIn >