Agency vs. In-House: When to Hire a Creative & Marketing Agency

+ Agency vs. In-House: When to Hire a Creative & Marketing Agency
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Advertising is crucial to the success of a business, but how do you decide on the best route to take for marketing?

Writer: Daniel Kremsa

The two main options for companies looking to advertise are in-house representatives or the use of a third-party agency. Depending on your set-up, either option can work to your advantage or disadvantage.

Much of your decision will rely on the scope of your business. If you are a well-developed business, then chances are you have looked into in-house before. But having in-house creative does not always mean that your marketing strategies will be implemented in line with your company’s vision.

To compare, hiring an agency allows for your creative to be outsourced. With no overhead and your trust in a company whose main focus is genius creative, hiring an agency could potentially give you an upper-hand in an ever-changing market.

Before we dive into the pros and cons of these two options, let’s first look at what type of research you’ll need to do up front.

What Does Your Company Need?

When you are first looking for creative, you should have a few demos of the type of work you want to push. Both an in-house team and an agency will be able to adapt to your marketing strategy and could potentially develop one for you.

Additionally, make sure you clear about what your company needs. For example, if you can only afford one person as an in-house designer, but you need them to handle your copy, web design, and SEO, then things might move way slower than expected (if at all).

Additionally, you cannot expect your seasoned graphic designer to know how to handle SEO. These smaller details might be a drag depending on how much in-house you can afford.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but most companies will need all aspects of creative for an affective and well-rounded marketing campaign.

Even if you’re a smaller start-up, chances are you will still need all the resources of a large agency but you don’t want to justify the cost. This is where you can negotiate with an agency to try to find the best plan for your needs.
Similarly, a large company with a need for constant advertising, social media management, and creative input might weigh the cost of an in-house marketing team as a worthy expense. Just know that in this scenario, an agency can also work to your benefit.

Both Will Learn Your Brand

One of the bigger arguments for hiring in-house is that your team would know your brand first-hand. However, that is not always the case. Hiring an agency does not mean that that company cares less about your brand any moreso than an in-house team. In fact, they might end up caring a bit more. Often agencies are run on a contractual basis.Don’t you think they will work hard to produce amazing and relevant copy every single time?

The bottom line is that both will require some time to learn your brand. This won’t happen overnight, and that’s better for the long run.

The Pros and Cons

Now, let’s dive deeper into the differences between these two marketing options and how to choose what’s best for your company.

Your Hand-Picked Creative Agency

Using a creative advertising agency saves you the need of hiring, training and dolling out benefits and 401Ks to new staff. This also relieves the stress of providing constant work for an in-house team.
Additionally, it’s hard to find one person that fills all the shoes of a marketing agency, which will already have at its disposal a collection of multi-talented individuals working together as a team. This means you’ll have access to a graphic designer, a web designer, an SEO specialist, a writer, and more.

Broad Creative Selection

Creative marketing teams assign different employees to your case depending on your current needs. This equals out to fresh content and unique ads each time with minimal repetition.

Less contact

Having your marketing team as an external resource means having to reach out to them when you want to discuss something. This involves a bit more patience and contact may not be as prompt as you might like.

What In-House Will Give You

Easily the biggest benefit of hiring in-house, assuming that you’ve found the right personnel, is that you have a reliable team at your fingertips. Sometimes agencies do go through some turnover, which is not always bad for your creative. Having a team in-house means that you are more familiar with your personnel and they might feel more in-line with your brand vision.

Ease of contact

Not only is your team accessible, but you will can stay on top of it. It also means you can contact the marketing team for questions or changes at any time. You make the schedule, so you always know their availability. If your in-house team is mobile, though, this might be similar to hiring an agency and might mean your team is slightly less at your fingertips.


Unfortunately, the biggest downside to hiring on is the expense. An in-house team ultimately requires a team of at least five talented employees to manage, supervise, and work in their niche areas of expertise. This isn’t beneficial for every company, especially smaller firms, which don’t require marketing on a full-time basis.

Repetitive ads

Marketing is an extremely creative endeavor. You don’t want your ads to seem repetitive, spammy, or uninspiring. Having an in-house team consisting of the same employees for every project could cause campaigns to blend into one another.

Who Will Work Harder for You?

Oddly one of the biggest benefits of hiring in-house is that your creative is with your company all the time and will be privy to your vision. But this is not always the case. Both types of marketing companies will need frequent communication, and keeping your creative outside of your main hub could provide more creative insight.
Your agency will also feel a little bit of pressure to perform well to be hired on since most agencies are hired on a contractual basis. Therefore, it’s easy to see how an agency can work hard to get into your company’s head; and on the flip side, in-house could easy fall asleep at the wheel if their steady paycheck and surroundings are too familiar.

Which is Best for You?

The answer to this question is going to depend on a multitude of factors.
Most importantly, know that whichever you decide, hiring a team dedicated to your creative will save the headache of trying to hire a variety of contract workers. This is often a tactic used in up-and-coming businesses who don’t want to spend a lot of money on high-quality creative.
The problem with this work is that it is very inconsistent, and when you go to hire either an agency or in-house later on, much of the work must be completely re-done. Therefore, some companies end up accruing countless expenses on contract to try and save on employee overhead, whereas an agency can handle all of the work at once.

There is much to consider when looking for the best team to handle your marketing strategy. Hopefully this break-down helped you to compare some of the benefits and pitfalls of hiring in-house versus a creative agency.