There comes a time in the life of every business owner, CEO, and CMO when they are plagued with the question: do I hire an in-house marketing team – or work with a creative agency? This decision can be one of the most important strategic decisions a marketing leader will make, hence the confusion and indecisiveness are all the more natural.
No matter what, it is safe to assume that hiring both internal and external teams are a big branding investment. A full in-house creative team comprises a significant increase in funding in terms of budget for employees, office space, and a tedious recruiting process, etc. Whereas an external agency can be one of the largest items in a marketing budget, and a vulnerable target during internal budget negotiations.
…So, what should you do?
Well, there is no right answer, both the approaches have their pros and cons, it solely depends on your future business objectives and more importantly, what’s right for your business.
In this article, we will have a critical look at both In-house and creative agency to help you understand what’s better for you.
Benefits Of An In-House Team
Familiarity With Company’s Culture
One of the most valuable aspects of having an internal branding team is its deep connection with the company's mission, values, and culture. It is their passion for fulfilling the company's goal that is hard to recreate with people who are not immersed in the organization 24x7.
However, the trick is to understand the relation of your company's mission to the value it provides to your employees. Is your company something that creative people will be passionate about? Or is your company a more profit-centric or shareholder-value-driven one?
If your mission satisfies the soul of the creatives, you will witness a deep connection but if it is not mission-driven, deeper cultural understanding is hard to achieve.
Deeper Understanding Of Brand
An in-house team lives with the product every day and spends hours shaping and strategizing its path to success. So, it is natural to have a nuanced understanding and a deep sense of responsibility towards the company.
Among other things, an -house team works close to each other, regularly so the communication is more streamlined. This streamlined communication allows for faster decision-making, increased adaptability, and a lesser chance of a creative faux pass.
Sense Of Ownership & Creative Control
Hiring an in-house marketing team lowers the risk of conflict of interest because they share a common goal of effectively building the company and marketing it to the best of their abilities.
To achieve that goal the in-house team uses their deep understanding of the brand and has a clear idea about what to design when to design them.
In a nutshell, the success of a product matters more to an in-house team as they feel a sense of responsibility and ownership towards the company.
Setbacks Of An In-House Team
Not A Cheaper Alternative To Creative Agency
Hiring full-time employees with significant experience and skill sets can be expensive and time-consuming. It is a fair possibility that you may not find the people with the required marketing skills. No matter how great the term 'in-house' team sounds it comprises expansive roles such as – writing, editing, design, social media, SEO, advertising, etc. That may mean you would still be dependent on contractors, and freelancers.
A deep connection to the company is one of the biggest assets of an in-house team but it can prove to be a fatal limitation. In-house marketing teams, by their nature, are very focused on your industry. Although that can be a great thing, it also means they are not exposed to other ideas outside of your company or industry. This focused approach may limit them from seeing the bigger picture and could make your marketing strategies rigid and branding stale.
Benefits Of A Creative Agency
One of the biggest advantages of working with a Creative/branding agency is the depth of knowledge and expertise that follows. they bring an outside perspective to your business and at times identify trouble spots or opportunities that an in-house team might miss because of their closeness to the business. Along with that, they curate a team of creatives that are dynamic, experienced, and well-informed.
Broader Skill Set
A competent in-house team is not a team of one. When you recruit internally you pick the skillset you hire. But with a creative agency, you’ll have access to all of those skills. A typical agency always comprises designers, writers editors, web developers, brand managers, etc and their work will be more refined and coordinated than if you were to just brief a new employee or contract the work to freelancers.
It is an efficient way to save money and time for services you might not need on a full-time basis.
Another key benefit of working with an agency is the flexibility of managing your budget. An internal creative team in difficult times can make a huge dent in a company's fortune or if budgets need to be cut temporarily, it can lead to very difficult decisions about letting people go.
With an agency, it is very easy to scale an engagement up or down. If you have a big launch ahead, you can scale up the agency work to support it and when the event is over, you can reduce your investment and spend that money in other places.
Additionally, you don’t have to pay for office space, training, recruiting, and individual salary, etc.
Setbacks Of A Creative Agency
Takes Time To Understand Your Brand
Unlike your in-house team, a creative agency works on multiple accounts and cannot afford to give undivided attention to your brand, hence they might not have a nuanced understanding of your brand, and intended audience so they can take time to understand the trends of your industry.
Though this issue could be resolved in detailed meetings and sending over brand guidelines, you would require to be patient.
Less Control Over The Content
As the agency is not on-site, you won't have the same access and sense of control as you would have over your employees. Although the approval will be in your hand, they see projects from start to finish.
It all depends on the amount of time and money you are willing to spare. If you’re growing, don’t spend time hiring creatives, it is an expensive and time-consuming affair.
For a startup or small business, we recommend hiring an agency as you don’t have to worry about letting people go, and you have a better hold over your finances. When you reach stability, then try a blended approach. Have a robust in-house team and fuse it with a competent creative agency.
If you wish to rebrand your own business whether it is a logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.