The Marketing Dilemma: Is in-house better than an agency?
Like most healthcare companies, you most likely have been re-evaluating your marketing strategy to best meet the new challenges of an ongoing pandemic life. Are you reaching your target market? Are they responding to your marketing message? Are your marketing budget dollars being spent in the best way? Is it time to switch from in-house marketing to an agency or vice versa? Let’s focus on that last question, in-house versus agency marketing, as it drives the answers for all the rest.
Is in-house marketing less expensive?
When comparing the salary of a dedicated marketing professional with that of an agency, at first glance, it would seem to support the argument that in-house is less expensive as the in-house monthly salary will almost always be less than the monthly fees of a marketing agency. To more accurately compare it, we need to look at the total expense of the in-house employee. This includes payroll taxes, insurance payments, retirement matching, PTO, and any other HR benefits provided as well as the infrastructure cost of an employee (e.g. office space, furniture, computer, phone). There are other in-house expenses to factor in, such as freelance contractors and any marketing software and industry subscriptions. All of a sudden, the real cost of the in-house marketing professional is looking a lot closer to the agency fee. In fact, in some cases, it might be more.
Another expense to factor in is the time and opportunity cost of employee turnover and training. Regular job movement is considered by many employees as a normal part of the career path which means more turnover and training for your business. With such a specialized position like that of a marketing professional, there is always a low-producing part of the learning curve that can last up to 3 months before they are operating at full capacity. Don’t get me wrong, this same turnover occurs for both your business and the marketing agency. The difference is the agency has a team approach and can more easily cover for missing or new people and usually without breaking stride.
Is there really a difference in quality?
Every good marketing effort consists of some very specific roles: project manager, strategist, content writer, graphic designer, SEO specialist, advertising manager, web developer, social media manager, and email marketing guru. Many in-house marketing specialists are phenomenal but essentially they have to be a jack of all trades. It is nearly impossible for even a small team to perform as experts in all these skills at the same time. Either production volume, quality, or both drop dramatically. An agency on the other hand has the luxury of drawing from many experts letting them each focus on one or two aspects of the project. This greatly increases the quality of the final product.
Quality is also affected distinctly by the exclusion or inclusion of multiple angles of input during the creative process. The team approach used by an agency allows different viewpoints to enhance the final outcome. Sometimes, the whole team may be leaning in one direction, but it’s that “out of the box” idea from one person that completely changes the project. The results are better and it’s loved by the client. Unfortunately, the in-house approach normally has just one or two viewpoints leading to an outcome that could be missing something vitally needed to make the campaign a success. Worse yet is the very real occurrence where the lack of additional voices in the process ends up alienating your target audience due to a slip up with wording or imagery.
What about creative control?
A common concern for many is giving up creative control by using an agency. This can be a real challenge as you want your values, vision, and voice to come through clearly in all your marketing. The truth is this can be a challenge whether you are using in-house or agency marketing. The key is clearly communicating your needs and requirements with your marketer. A good agency will continue to ask questions and elicit feedback until you are happy with the results. A great agency does this quickly, making the process easy on you and delivering an exceptional outcome.
Is it time to change your marketing approach?
What do you think? We think it is and we would like to help. Obviously, we are biased toward great marketing agencies, especially our own. This is for good reason. At ArchKATech, we are confident we can create a strong, dynamic, and appealing marketing plan for you that seamlessly ties together your online presence with social media, email, and thoughtful advertising to better connect with your market and enhance your brand.