If you are investing material dollars in marketing campaigns, more often than not, you have considered engaging, or have engaged, an advertising agency to assist you with those efforts. Those decisions whether or not to manage your marketing campaigns with in-house teams vs. third party agencies are typically not easy decisions. And, if you decide to outsource to an agency, the selection process can be overwhelming, with the thousands of agencies out there to choose from. This post will help make those decisions easier for you.
In-House Teams vs. Third Party Agencies
The decision to manage campaigns internally vs. externally often comes down to the following things: (1) the size of your media budgets; (2) the complexities/channels of the campaign; and (3) the skills of your team and the analytics tools you have to work with. Over time, my leaning on this decision has changed. I used to want to run everything internally, to save the costs vs. an agency (which can often be 15-20% higher including their fees). And, I used to want to find disparate agencies with a specific expertise (e.g., one agency for search engines, another agency for social media).
But, as the advertising industry has evolved over time, my opinion on this topic has shifted 180 degrees. Today, I am a proponent of outsourcing this work to an agency, and preferably one cross-channel agency that can manage all desired channels through one partner. The reason for this are: (1) the agencies have materially evolved from being single-channel experts to multi-channel experts; (2) strategically, it is better to have all strategies and budgets managed centrally, to easily shift dollars between channels and get cross-channel attribution tracking all in one place; (3) the optimization technologies the best agencies are using, and their direct relationships with Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, are heads and shoulders better than anything your internal team would be doing; and (4) finding a team of good internal marketers is hard to find and manage, as opposed to leaning on an agency’s team and their recruiting and training processes. Especially since the techniques that work best each year can rapidly change, and you want to benefit from the most recent learnings (not hire someone with yesterday’s playbook). So, don’t be a penny wise and a pound foolish here, as a good agency should more than cover their additional fees, with materially higher revenue performance from their efforts than you most likely could generate with an internal team.