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In-House Advertising vs. Agency: Why Agencies Do It Better

By: Featured Author

There’s much debate on whether it’s optimal to perform marketing in-house or outsource to an agency. For many mid-sized B2B companies, including those in the healthcare sector, it’s often thought that an agency won’t have the subject-matter expertise to carry out effective marketing. On the contrary, there are many marketing agencies that possess niche expertise in areas as specific as biotech and pharma, clinical research and even EHRs. More than that, agencies also have the advantage of focusing acutely on marketing trends and optimization day in and day out, offering a level of focus and cutting-edge knowledge that’s often impossible for an in-house team to maintain.

When weighing your advertising options, consider these five distinct benefits of employing a marketing agency, amassed from the vantage point of marketing professionals with both in-house and agency expertise.

Benefit 1: Instant Access to Integrated Marketing Services & Expertise

Most mid-sized B2B companies’ in-house marketing departments consist of less than 20 people, the majority of whom are pulled in a variety of directions every day to serve their company. This leads to foundational marketing exercises such as strategic planning and brand cohesion falling by the wayside. Additionally, department-heads who hold the most marketing expertise often don’t have the time or resources to effectively cross-train all other team members to achieve peak performance on every marketing channel.

An agency however, employs strategic planning and oversight to ensure all marketing communications are consistent and provides clients access to integrated marketing capabilities supported by certified expertise:

  • Branding including strategy, identity, launch and graphic design
  • Digital including web development, SEO, SEM, email marketing and video marketing
  • PR and social including content marketing and product launch
  • Traditional marketing including advertising & media, direct marketing, event marketing and collateral
  • Integrated marketing including planning, analytics and marketing automation

Benefit 2: Complimentary Access to Exclusive Platforms & Partners

Acquiring an arsenal of necessary tools, platforms and relationships to carry out strategic marketing can cost an in-house marketing department hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the time and energy it takes to learn program usage, cross-train a team and build partnerships. Managing all of these strategies will either blow your marketing budget out of the water or leave you without the use of necessary tools.

Conversely, an integrated agency typically includes the fees of its platforms and partners within its hourly rate, giving clients discounted access to special features and functionalities. In addition to the platforms themselves, an agency adds another layer of expertise and support to tools like:

  • HubSpot: Marketing and sales software that helps attract visitors, convert leads and close deals
  • Cision: Public relations software that provides access to thought leaders and media outlets
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: Collection of tools including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator
  • Google Partner: Partnership that provides exclusive access to Google industry research, training and certifications

Benefit 3: Passionate Certified Marketing Professionals

Although many talented and driven marketing professionals work in-house, their marketing experience is much different from professionals working at marketing agencies. One of the key differences in experience is the level of dedication to their field in the form of continuing education and professional growth.

Agencies often budget for personnel to attend educational marketing events, knowing that knowledgeable resources are available to step in to handle tasks for those out of the office. But in-house marketing teams don’t always have the luxury of taking the time to gain new skills or become educated in the latest marketing trends and tips. In addition to meeting agency requirements of maintaining certifications and learning multiple marketing disciplines, agency professionals also better serve clients through the latest in marketing intelligence education, such as:

  • HubSpot Academy classes and certifications
  • Google Partner events and Google Analytics certifications
  • Internal cross-training lunch-and-learn sessions
  • INBOUND marketing conferences and more

Benefit 4: Getting So Much More for Your Marketing Budget

Creating an in-house marketing department that matches the size, scope and level of expertise of a marketing agency would be a monumental investment. In addition to the costs of platforms and partnerships, an in-house team would also have to account for the full-time salaries of more than 20 educated and certified marketing professionals and cover ongoing education opportunities.

If your company doesn’t have the resources to provide for all the items above, the resources you do have will likely be stretched thin, with limited time to focus on forward-thinking strategies. However, when you partner with an agency, your monthly or annual fixed costs typically include:

  • Complimentary access to exclusive platforms and partners
  • An entire team of marketing professionals with focused attention and certifications
  • The latest marketing intelligence, insights, trends and knowledge
  • Advisory and insight to avoid costly marketing mistakes

Benefit 5: Proven Processes that Ensure Consistency

Creating successful marketing processes take time and experience to create and properly execute. For in-house departments, it can take years of trial and error to find the right processes – and by that time, they’re probably already outdated.

Agencies on the other hand, have done the legwork – and a proven process centered on strategy can mean the difference between successful marketing and reactive, knee-jerk tactics. Consider Sagefrog’s top-down, step-wise process for marketing success, JumpStartTM. It begins with strategy, moves on to developing the necessary tools and then implements the right marketing programs. The process is optimized on an ongoing basis to ensure clients get the most out of their budget and program.

Want to dive deeper into everything a marketing agency can do for you? To help you in this process, download The Ultimate Checklist for Choosing the Right Marketing Agency to use as a strategic tool.

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Are you interested in B2B healthcare marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.