We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.
It probably goes without saying that one of the main factors to consider when working out the correct balance of digital marketing agency vs in-house resources is the cost involved and how it can best be managed for maximum efficiency. There’s a lot of unpacking to do when it comes to this particular topic. At the most basic, you are looking at the differences between the prices of a digital agency’s services versus the cost of hiring in-house personnel. It is actually more complicated than that, however, because there is a range of costs and benefits to compare on either side of the equation. There are also the potential costs involved with making a wrong decision either way. For example, will hiring the wrong person for a role cost you more or less in the long run than enlisting the services of an agency?
Calculating the cost of in-house staff
The hard costs of hiring marketing staff are easy to calculate. Your marketing budget might provide for, say, $50,000 a year to pay the salary of an in-house marketing specialist. This will come with onboarding and training costs in the form of the time taken to orient the new staff member into the role. Assuming that you’ve made the right choice, these costs should pay off in the form of successful marketing campaigns. Then again, if you’ve made a bad hire (as almost every company does from time to time), what additional, unforeseen costs might result? You could fail to meet your marketing goals – and thus, your business goals. Failure to meet your business goals could stunt your growth. You could even lose clients. It is always best to be slow to hire and quick to fire in order to keep these costs low. You want the cost of your staff to be an investment, not a liability.
There is a perception that the prices of digital agencies are inordinately high compared to in-house staff. Considering the costs we’ve just outlined, it seems pretty clear that this is not the case. An agency provides incredible value compared to in-house hiring. With an agency, you have access to multiple skill sets and tried-and-tested marketing expertise. Whereas a bad in-house hire would require damage control and the expense of finding a replacement, a digital agency can simply rethink and change tactics that aren’t working without necessarily incurring additional costs.
Again, we are not proposing a digital agency as an alternative to in-house marketing staff. What we are saying is that an agency offers a great value proposition that you wouldn’t get from in-house staff alone, even if you hire the right person. Combining the right individual in your team with the right digital marketing agency is the best way to get the most out of your marketing spend.