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In-house vs Agency Marketing Campaigns

In-house versus agency marketing campaigns

Every business needs to market their products or services, but do you Do it Yourself or outsource to a third-party?  Do you create and build your own in-house marketing team, potentially a more considerable investment, or will you choose to outsource your marketing to an agency?

What is a marketing agency?

It’s essential to understand what a marketing agency is and what they might offer your business. There are lots of different types of agencies, each specialising in areas that might help your brand. Here are some of the most common you will come across:

Branding and design

If your business is still in its infancy, or perhaps you’re looking to re-brand, then a branding firm would be your “go-to”. In these types of agencies, you will find not only graphic designers but a host of creative minds who will help develop your business into the brand that you’ve always dreamed of. This can include the business name, logo, tone of voice and even where you should aim to be in the market.

Digital marketing

A digital marketing agency will focus on how well you are seen and perceived online. These agencies will focus on improving your rank on search engines, bringing more visitors to your website and how to engage with your customers more.

As well as social media, SEO, content and PPC experts, you will also find back-end developers and designers who will seek to make your website look better and be responsive.

Offline marketing

The opposite of a digital firm, your offline branding agency will seek to improve your brand and identity in ‘offline’ methods. This will include market research, advertising (such as newspapers or radio) and editorial coverage. There might also be event marketing experts.

What can you expect from in-house marketing?

Rather than hiring an agency for your marketing campaigns, by choosing in-house marketing, you will employ your own experts to create and implement various marketing campaigns. How many people you hire will depend on the budget and marketing needs of your business.

Generally, a relatively small business will look to employ 1 to 3 marketers who are versatile and can adapt to all your marketing needs.

Which has the better skill set?

For businesses, whether you choose an agency or in-house will come down to who can provide a more successful marketing operation. In most cases, a better campaign can be attributed to the skills available.

In-house pros and cons

  • When you employ a marketer(s), that employee will learn your business in and out. That person will be enthusiastic about the company and want it to succeed, as that success will keep them in a job
  • In-house marketers have been personally vetted by you and have a large body of skills, which makes them versatile to help with both digital and offline campaigns
  • Although you have a versatile in-house marketer for your campaign, it is hard to match this to an agency who has a large employee base of marketers who are experts in their field

Agency pros and cons

  • You will usually find an expert at whatever you need, may this be social media, SEO or advertising. These specialisms are something you are very unlikely to get in-house. However, these experts will also be working with other companies, which can dilute the impact.
  • You may need multiple agencies for one campaign. For instance, a digital agency for your online marketing and an offline agency for advertising and PR. This can be time-consuming, as you will need to listen to multiple pitches from agencies and bring them all to speed on what you’re looking for and what your business is all about.

Which is more cost-effective?

Skills aside, for most businesses, the cost of picking either an agency or using in-house employees will be the deciding factor in your choice.


  • Most businesses assume that an employee’s salary will be far more expensive than an agency. However, with retainers for the larger agencies ranging from £5-50k a month, it can actually be far more effective to pay a monthly salary.
  • Marketing managers are expensive, but you don’t need to employ a manager straight away. Instead, use an executive and promote them as the business grows.
  • Although building your own marketing team can be time-consuming and take you away from other business needs, this process can be more cost-effective than merely choosing an agency, as you are likely to get more output from an in-house team.
  • You can choose to employ graduates on lower salaries. Although this is risky, as they have less experience, graduates are often keen to learn and have lots of new and exciting ideas.


  • The price you pay is for a campaign, rather than an employee. This means you are paying for a large number of experts who you could not afford in-house. The price they quote you is also negotiable, which may save you some money.
  • An agency will pay for their own office, software and training, which means you won’t need to pay these costs.


At the end of the day, whether you choose an agency or in-house marketing team will depend on the budget, and time, that you have available to you. There’s no denying that, by selecting an agency, you will have access to a wide array of marketing experts that you couldn’t afford to employ yourself.

However, by building your own in-house marketing team you will have a focussed staff, keen to make your marketing campaign a success, which is extremely cost-effective.




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About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

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