In-House department or marketing agency: which is best for your company

01 December 2019
Read time: 7 minutes
in-house marketing

At a certain period of development of any modern business, the inevitable question will arise to create your own Internet marketing department or use the services of a specialized agency. It’s quite difficult to unequivocally answer this question, since it depends on many factors directly related to the size and specifics of your business, and how you are going to develop it in the future.


First, let's look at the main differences between the internal team and the agency.


The in-house team is hired by people who develop Internet marketing exclusively within the framework of your company's goals. Usually they work on an ongoing basis and receive a certain salary and bonuses for fulfilling the set KPIs.

To create a serious internal team for Internet marketing, it is necessary to bring together people with different skills and positions.

The minimum in-house staff of the company's Internet marketing department should include:

  • marketing manager (head of department);

  • copywriter;

  • SEO and analytics expert;

  • social media manager;

  • contextual advertising specialist;

  • designer;

  • programmer.

The presence of a team consisting of several people who will be fully involved in the process of building and implementing the promotion of a business on the Internet will be crucial for ultimate success.

The agency will consist of hired experts. Regardless of whether the agency specializes in PR, design, content marketing, digital marketing, etc. it can be an indispensable resource that is cheaper than many business leaders believe.

In this case, it is possible to use a combined strategy, in which part of the tasks are performed by an internal team, and part by an agency.


What are the main criteria for comparing in-house and agency.

Skill set

Own team


Employees are paid to literally live and breathe your brand, and also have a deep understanding of your industry. They are also personally verified and selected by your business.

However, it is very rare to find an internal marketer who understands all aspects of digital marketing. And even if they are, then for one person or a small group of people this may be too much work to successfully cope with it.




It is necessary that the agency shares the values of your brand and knows the nuances of your business. Therefore, the agency should have specialists who already have experience working with your industry and have proven themselves to be the best.

In order to find the agency that is best for you, you need to conduct research and prepare a presentation of what exactly you want to get as a result. You may need to work with several boutique agencies that specialize in a narrow niche, rather than with one universal, to get the desired results.

In a skill set, an agency usually has a large selection of experienced people on the team. Although this does not necessarily mean that their skills are more developed than those of in-house specialists.


Which skills are better?


It totally depends on your business. If you can afford to hire a lot of people with different skill sets and you have enough work for everyone, then your own marketing team will be the best choice. If you need expertise in only one aspect of digital marketing, such as contextual advertising, then hiring one full-time employee will also work well. If you want to develop a complete marketing strategy from and to, in this case, the choice in favor of the agency may make more sense.


Own team


A marketer is usually a creative profession that requires a variety of tasks, otherwise such a specialist will get bored quickly.

Having your own team that constantly works in only one industry and on one task can lead to stagnation of creative thinking and reduce the effectiveness of specialists, given that they are focused on one project, and not several.

At the same time, your marketers will better understand your direct competitors.



An Internet marketing agency usually has several clients from different domains with which they work daily. This prevents specialists from focusing on one task. Therefore, agency employees are usually more creative, given that they are open to a wide range of enterprises and industries.

On the other hand, it is possible that the agency has similar clients that are direct competitors for you, and this can lead to a conflict of interest.


Who's better at creativity?


There is no clear winner again. If you notice that your internal team is in a difficult situation, or if you want to develop a campaign that is not suitable for the skills of your internal team, then choosing an agency is a good option.

Task execution speed

Own team


Better communication and quick adaptation to changes is one of the main advantages of an in-house team that allows you to complete a task quickly.

You can quickly and efficiently change the priority of tasks and bring them to the team.

However, an internal team can be overloaded if it is given too many high-priority tasks at the same time. However, you can more flexibly manage the deadlines and your full-time employee will be able to complete the task from start to finish, keeping within them.




Although an agency may work slower than its own team, depending on its workload and customer list, it may have a profitable long-term perspective.

You may need to wait your turn, given that there are other customers on their list.

Coordination of tasks usually occurs between the representative of your company and the representative of the agency. This is the best way to communicate quickly.


Who is better at speed?


Speed is relative and will be determined by the project. If ongoing communication is at the top of your agenda, and if you suspect that your project or campaign is changing frequently, it is best to create your own team.

Cost of work

Own team


To calculate the profitability of hiring an internal team, take the average annual salary of the head of the marketing department and multiply by the number of specialists you are going to hire for a full time job.

The cost of such a department for each campaign will depend entirely on your marketing needs. So first add up your numbers before deciding on an internal team.

For your marketing strategy, it may seem less costly to hire one employee who will always be at hand, but expect a long process of hiring, training and ensuring that the person will be suitable for a certain period of time.

In addition to wages, you will budget for office expenses, computers and programs, etc.




When it comes to choosing an agency, there is a pre-set and negotiated price.

The agency pays for its own software, tools, technologies and training, which reduces additional costs on your part.


Who is better at a cost?


The cost will depend on your company. However, hiring an agency, although considered more expensive, may actually be a cheaper option in the long run, depending on your goals and required skills.


Break down your goals, your needs and know that you can always use both options at the same time.

Focus on the size of the marketing budget you are managing. If it is already large enough and exceeds $ 50,000 per month, you definitely need to think about creating an internal team.

Open communication with your own internal team, improving their skills and outsourcing when you need more fresh ideas is a great prospect when choosing between internal and agent marketing.

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