Marketing: In-House, Outsource or Both?

March 23, 2023

Table of Contents:

In-House Marketing vs. a Marketing Agency

The Power of a Fresh Perspective

Working with a Wellness Marketing Agency

We’re at a time when all-too-familiar economic words are inflating boardrooms across the nation. To make breathing room, many company’s finance teams and CFOs are eyeballing budgets. One of the biggest mistakes that companies make in times of economic uncertainty is cutting their marketing budget instead of optimizing it. As the saying goes, “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad (or uncertain), you must advertise.” Is marketing on the chopping block for your budget? Before you take a slice, ask yourself these three questions:

“Am I getting the marketing results I want?”

“Are we getting a good enough ROI on the invested resources?”

“Are we creating additional long-term brand value?”

First, the answers to these questions shouldn’t be hard to find – information about how your campaigns are performing should be a readily available resource to you. The latest CMO Survey finds that marketing analytics are used to guide nearly 50% of all marketing decisions. If you find that the answer to any of these questions, from results to long-term brand value on your marketing, is less than satisfactory, the issue may be resource allocation. Not budget. Which leads to an even bigger question: should you go for in-house marketing or hire a marketing agency?

Senior marketing person discussing ideas with two other marketing professionals sitting around a table

In-House Marketing vs. a Marketing Agency

In times of change and economic uncertainty, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether it’s best to have the marketing function done in-house or outsource it to a marketing agency. “Over my 28 years in the industry, I’ve seen the trends ebb and flow from outsourcing marketing to building in-house marketing divisions and even taking a hybrid approach. From my perspective, there are reasons for each strategy,” Orange Label President Rochelle Reiter says. Here’s what she outlines for each avenue.

Keep marketing in-house when:

  1. Your band is in its infancy stage: Most start-ups have limited capital to invest. During this time, brands can grow in a grass-roots way using word of mouth and connections to generate awareness and activity. This is a great time to test messaging and branding, and work through initial tactics to determine what sticks. Consulting services may be an affordable option for those seeking outside help and guidance, before generating the income to go all in with a marketing agency.
  2. You have task-oriented marketing work: Work that is routine and task-oriented in nature AND is enough to keep a staff member busy full time may create efficiencies when brought in-house. Examples of this can include proposal writing, newsletters and internal communications.
  3. You have one primary communication vehicle for driving sales: If you rely solely on one channel for sales, you can hire a uniquely skilled individual to do only that and focus their efforts on being that specific guru for your organization.

You want hands-on 100% control and are willing to pay for it: This is a viable approach when an organization wants their team to be exclusively immersed in their brand and has the financial resources to support a fully expressed, highly creative and skilled in-house team.

A marketing professional on a laptop reviewing marketing reports while sitting at their desk

Outsource marketing when:

  1. You want experts in your industry or niche: Experts provide a strategic approach to tackling challenges similar to yours. They quickly bring solutions because they have experienced industry nuances and specific marketing challenges and solved them in the past.
  2. You want an expert with a particular skill set: Most agencies invest in ongoing skill and training development to keep up with the changes in the fast-paced marketing environment. When working with an agency, you have the benefit of deep skill in a variety of disciplines across the agency team. For example, Orange Label provides six key services including, Design, Content, Social Media, Strategy, Data Analytics and Media. With these services, you benefit from an entire team of experts working as an extension of your team.
  3. You want top talent that is not readily willing or available to work for you full-time: Great talent can be hard to find. Many creative individuals desire variety in the projects they work on, rather than working on one brand day in and day out. Agencies provide that. In addition, having the perspective of someone that has solved creative challenges in a variety of ways gives you access to additional insight and innovative solutions. You also remove the unrealistic expectation of hiring a single digital marketing specialist to fulfill all of your marketing needs, from strategy and art direction to implementation and reporting. This process of hiring one person to fulfill the role of many is a common issue that we see businesses go through that can lead to satisfactory results, missed opportunities, employee burnout and more.
  4. You want the flexibility of using a highly skilled team without the headache of a large in-house staff: Assembling a team of in-house resources is difficult, time consuming and costly. It also involves taking on the burden of managing these additional resources full-time and providing benefits, which presents a greater risk from an HR perspective. Acting as an unofficial part of your team, marketing agencies allow you to connect with a team of dedicated designers, copywriters, social media strategists and more, without having to account for, hire, train and manage a handful or more of full-time team members.

Take a hybrid marketing approach when:

Keep in mind that it’s not necessarily an either/or approach. It’s common for a brand to have too much work for one person, but not enough to hire several positions. Take social media, for example. The process of staying atop social media changes, creating content, posting, boosting, fulfilling community engagement and reporting on results leaves little room for other marketing ventures and focuses only on organic social – not paid social media campaigns that can highlight specific initiatives and increase targeted awareness.

All this to say, you don’t have to choose between in-house or outsourced marketing – you can implement a mixture of both. We’ve seen brands take a hybrid approach where in-house marketing teams collaborate with an outside agency or outside resources. In this case, individuals from your marketing team act as a liaison between the marketing agency and your internal marketing team. No matter the mix, it’s important to focus on the results. Reviewing and analyzing your marketing KPIs to see what’s working, what’s not and why will provide you with the viable solution you desire.

A marketing professional holding a tablet

The Power of a Fresh Perspective

So often we encounter clients who seek us out for the fresh perspective Orange Label provides. They’ve analyzed their marketing ROI and seen stagnation, or worse, decline. In search of fresh creative materials and a fresh perspective, they’ve found themselves on the phone with Rochelle or in our marketing agency in Costa Mesa amongst her, our Client Services Director Michelle Komala, Client Success Manager Aubrey Closson and Social Media Manager Samantha Hernandez. In these meetings, here’s what happens: the Orange Label team conducts an audit of your marketing efforts and social media presence and analyzes the competition. We then talk to you directly about where you’re at with your marketing and where you want to be. Not only is this fact-finding research meeting a great opportunity to identify fresh ways to bring your brand’s marketing to life, it’s a chance to discuss strategies that you may not have considered. Additionally, with our expertise in working with wellness brands that seek to improve people’s physical, emotional and social well-being, we know how to create long-term results and relationships with your audiences so that they feel a greater sense of connection to your product or service.

Working with a Wellness Marketing Agency

“People aren’t spending as much.” This is a viable concern for all companies and one where a marketing agency that works with clients in various industries can help. What we’ve seen throughout our 50+ years in business is that it’s valuable to have an outside perspective to challenge and question the status quo. Many times, brands are so close to their product/service, they miss key opportunities or get stuck in doing what they’ve always done. An outside perspective allows you to view challenges and opportunities in new and creative ways.

At Orange Label, our Marketing Analytics Manager Mike bounces between conducting performance analysis on paid campaigns from a client in medical devices to one in specialty coffee. What do both of these brands have in common, you might ask, other than the need for data and marketing analytics? They create products and services that seek to better their audiences’ quality of life. Research from our partners finds that despite inflation, 71% of Americans will not cut wellness spending and 24% have increased wellness spending over the past three years. With a pulse on the market, not just one client’s specific niche, our wellness marketing agency brings forth a plethora of information such as this and uses it to provide strategic recommendations to wellness brands in Orange County, California and across the United States.

From financial wellness to physical and mental well-being, our marketing agency provides a team of creative, strategic individuals ready to partner with a brand’s marketing department, act as a brand’s external marketing team or even guide brands through the decision of whether to stick to in-house marketing. If you’ve come to a fork in the road where you’re trying to choose between resourcing your marketing in-house or hiring a marketing agency, follow the words of late poet Robert Frost and “take the road less traveled by.” Meaning, do what’s best for you and your business. Contact Orange Label President Rochelle Reiter today to see which direction is best for you.

Written By: Ashley Ruiz
Contributors: Rochelle ReiterMichelle Komala

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