Digital Marketing Agency vs DIY

Catalyst Marketing Agency - Should you do your own marketing or hire an agency?

Digital marketing agency vs DIY?

Digital marketing – we all need it, but it often gets neglected or falls by the wayside.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone if this sounds like you, but we highly recommend investing in marketing to:

  • Expose more people to your brand
  • Drive warm, qualified and ready-to-convert leads
  • Grow your business’ revenue
  • Get a significant return on your investment

So, the choice is, do it yourself or hire an agency, what’s the best route for your business?

Time and time again we’ve seen SMEs where the business owner or sales team try to handle marketing on top of their day job.

What happens next? 

Marketing gets neglected, every time. 

As a business owner, you should be focused on your day job (you’ve already got enough on your plate), and your sales team should be focusing on closing leads, not generating them. 

Of course, the other option is building your own marketing team, which is great if you can afford it. Here’s the pros and cons of doing marketing yourself vs hiring an experienced agency to handle things for you:


1. Limited experience

In-house marketing teams may lack certain specialised knowledge that external marketing agencies provide. It’s also impossible to get a single person who is a specialist in search, copy, design and strategy – that person simply doesn’t exist (trust us, we’ve been looking!). 

Agencies live and breathe marketing, and usually have people who have been working in marketing for decades at the helm. 

It’s going to be incredibly hard for you to find someone with this level of experience to work in-house, and if you do, they’re going to cost you an arm and a leg!

Choosing to partner with a marketing agency gives you access to this experience at a significantly lower cost. 


2. Higher costs

The costs of hiring a marketing agency:

  • Onboarding
  • Ongoing monthly fee

The costs of hiring an internal marketing team:

  • Recruitment
  • PAYE
  • National Insurance
  • Onboarding
  • Ongoing training and development
  • Regular wage increases
  • Holidays
  • Sickness

It’s significantly cheaper, and you gain access to more specialists if you opt for a marketing agency. You can also easily scale what you’re paying up and down depending on requirements. 


3. Time-consuming recruitment

Recruitment is a faff, and finding the right people who are going to do right by your business takes time.

The more time you waste recruiting, the less time you’ll spend marketing. Not only this, but the turnover of in-house staff can disrupt your marketing efforts – not something you want when you’re in the middle of a campaign!

Hiring an agency, on the other hand, gives you instant access to a team of professionals.


4. Limited perspectives

Many in-house marketers are naturally insular, it makes sense, as they only work on a single account – yours.

An agency will be working on a wide range of clients, giving them a variety of perspectives; broader insights and experiences that may well influence how they approach and improve on your marketing strategy. Anything a marketing agency suggests will be tried and tested – they’ll already have tried and perfected the strategy with other clients.

It’s difficult for an in-house team to bring this much experience to the table. 


5. Inability to scale quickly

If you experience sudden growth, is your internal team able to keep up with your appetite for marketing?

Probably not.

External agencies often have the resources required to quickly adapt to your changing needs, meaning that your marketing can scale as quickly as you need it to, allowing you to keep up your momentum.


6. Risk of tunnel vision

It’s incredibly hard to market your own business.

Take us, for example. Digital marketing’s what we do, and we deliver fantastic results for our clients, but we’ve definitely suffered from tunnel vision on our own marketing before; we’re too close to it. 

It’s very easy for in-house teams to become too focused on internal company dynamics and culture, potentially losing sight of customer needs and market trends. By taking a step back and trusting your marketing to a competent marketing agency, you’re ensuring that your marketing follows a more objective and data-driven methodology. 

Not only that, but internal marketing teams tend to be risk averse; they often don’t want to try new things in case they don’t work. Agencies have been there, done that – they’ll already have a better idea if a technique will work for your business. 


7. Limited network and connections

External marketing agencies often have well-established networks and industry connections that can be beneficial for launching campaigns, securing partnerships, and reaching a broader audience. 

In-house teams may not have access to the same level of connections.


8. Difficulty in keeping up with trends

Digital marketing is constantly changing. Something that works one year might be old news the next. New platforms and technologies emerge constantly.

It’s an agency’s job to keep up with all of these changes, whereas in-house teams often don’t have time keeping up with the constant developments in the industry. 

An agency will keep you as up to date as feasibly possible, ensuring you’re always at the cutting edge of marketing. 


How to make the right decision for you

For many businesses, a blend of the two is actually the best choice. Many SMEs find success with small marketing teams, or a single marketing manager who liaises with their external marketing agency.

This means that you’ve got someone internally handling everything, but you have the wider skillsets and expertise of the external agency backing you up. Win-win!

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. We do urge you to make a decision quickly, however, as your competitors are likely investing in marketing right now. If you don’t make a move, you run the risk of falling behind.

Need advice? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts today. We’re happy to offer advice for free, and are ready to answer any questions you might have.

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About the author

Paul Houston has been in sales and marketing for 25 long years.

In that time, he’s learned a thing or two about sales and marketing. Now, he’s imparting some of that wisdom through his crack team of marketing masterminds. He’s gathered the best talent across copy, design, SEO, PPC and strategy, providing you with the most cost-efficient way to grow your business and thrive. 

Outside of work, you’ll find Paul either at the gym, or treating himself to a well-deserved pint of Guinness at his local. He’ll take any opportunity he can to spend time with family and friends (but would usually prefer to be with Dave, his dog!).

Paul Houston