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Do you like the idea of growing a thriving, successful business? If the answer to that question is yes, then effective marketing may be exactly what you need. But how do you go about it? Do you hire a knowledgeable and experienced in-house team to work for your business exclusively? Or do you look externally and enlist the help of an agency? Well, both are viable options, but one may be better for you than the other…


What’s the difference between an in-house team and an external agency?

At the most basic level, the key difference between the two is that one works exclusively for your company, whilst the other, the agency, works from outside of it. An agency is essentially a separate entity to your business, but they still provide the same (and often more) services and capabilities as an in-house team.

Which is the best option for your business?

The option you choose is entirely down to the specific needs of you and your business. You could choose to create an in-house team entirely, or rely solely on a digital marketing agency. You could even utilise a healthy blend of both. It’s completely down to you.

But with that said, there are some deeper differences that have a significant impact on your company, many of which can be highly influential when it comes to making that decision…

Let's work together

If you want to talk to our specialist team about how we can help you with your digital marketing, talk to our team today.

The cost

You may have heard that hiring an agency is expensive. The truth is, it’s a lot more affordable than you may think.

If you compare the cost of agency assistance to the cost of hiring just a single in-house marketing specialist for an entire year, the cost differences could go either way. It all depends on a variety of things. From an in-house perspective, this includes:

  • The salary your team member would be getting paid (plus any other additional benefits)
  • The cost of any resources you require for the individual to work effectively (such as hardware and software, office space, training and so on)
  • Any initial recruitment costs such as ad costs, recruitment agency fees, and more

These are just a few examples of where the cost of in-house hiring for just a single employee start to stack up.

From the agency side of things, you simply have a single agreed cost that is determined beforehand that covers almost everything you’re going to need. This is often calculated based on the amount of time you require said agency to dedicate to your business each week/month/year. The only other costs that you may have to think about are additional campaign costs, such as paid media spend for PPC campaigns for example.

All in all, the cost of agency vs in-house is heavily determined by a business’ needs. A single employee working full-time would most definitely work out cheaper in the long run compared to hiring an agency to fill the same amount of time. But more often than not, unless you’re a large business that requires round-the-clock marketing work, you may find that you only require the services on a part-time basis. For example, you may find that hiring an agency for anywhere between 2 days and 10 days per month is more than enough to fill your requirements, and in that time you also have the assistance of a complete team of specialists that are able to cover all areas of marketing. As you can imagine, it can get extremely expensive when it comes to hiring an entire team of individuals to work in-house, including (but not limited to):

  • Content writers
  • Marketing managers
  • Paid ads/PPC specialists
  • Social media managers
  • SEO and analytics experts
  • Designers
  • Developers, and more

An agency will have all of these on hand already, as well as all of the resources (such as software) they need to get the job done. This, combined with the ability to work with an agency on a part-time basis (either a few days per month or even just throughout certain times of year), means that the cost of an agency suddenly becomes a much lower figure in comparison.

If you want to find out more about how much an agency could save you in comparison to hiring an in-house team, just get in touch with us here at Agency51.


“My business has grown considerably in the last 5 years, and the digital aspect had become increasingly difficult to manage. Online adverts and the ability ‘to be seen online’ constantly changes and evolves. I found it was taking up so much time and energy trying to keep ahead of the game and at the same time I could see that it was becoming more and more important to have a good online presence. I decided I needed help!

Being a small business employing in house was just not an option. In fact, I didn’t even consider it due to cost implications. We are a Landscaping Company, so our time needs to be ‘on the ground’ so to speak.

It has been a total game changer working with Agency51. They manage our Google Ads, update our website, have developed our blog and currently, are working on email issues (totally out of my skillset!). We started on a small budget and I soon saw the benefits. One of which, was they analysed our Google ads which resulted in reducing our spend with Google. They literally started paying for themselves with the amount we saved! Our analytics have improved, and we are far, far more visible. I would highly recommend outsourcing digital work.”

– Julia Harker, Perennials Gardening & Landscapes



The diversity and expertise

As we mentioned above, an agency consists of an entire team of specialists who work collaboratively to achieve the marketing goals of your business. They’re readily equipped with a diverse range of specialists and skillsets to tackle the majority of marketing and advertising tasks required by a business. The same extensive team can be created in an in-house environment, but again, it can be costly and take a large amount of time to get setup.

Agencies also tend to have an extensive network behind them, meaning that other services can usually be made available very easily without your business having to do any of the leg work to source them. This is ideal for certain situations, such as needing occasional video work or mobile app development for example (if the agency doesn’t already have specialists in those areas working within them).

Aside from the specialism diversity available from agencies, you also gain instant access to a wider perspective. Specialists and experts within agencies have generally worked across a wide variety of industries and areas and carried out tasks and services that cover a broad range of ideas. That perspective diversity can help solve problems quickly and efficiently whilst tapping into a large pool or creativity.

The flexibility and agility

Flexibility goes hand in hand with diversity when it comes to agencies. Your marketing strategy might only revolve around 1 or 2 different channels at any particular time, such as social media and PPC for example. However, because you have that aforementioned team of specialists to work with, your strategy can be adapted at any time to meet different needs or change your approach.

To do this in-house would mean hiring new talent to take the job on, or training existing team members to carry it out, all of which could result in additional costs and more time spent getting everything set up. Particularly in a digital world where effective marketing often requires agility and quick reactions, this could put a bit of a dent in your efforts and potentially hinder the performance of your strategy.

The flexible nature of working with an agency gets rid of that problem, meaning your business and the agency you’re partnered with will always be ready to take on anything you need at any time – it’s straightforward to scale up your marketing when working with an agency.


“In an industry that evolves as rapidly as ours, the ability to adapt and react at a moment’s notice is invaluable. Those industry changes can have a profound effect on operations, and working alongside an agency has enabled us to focus our efforts on both sides to reflect them.

Throughout the time that we’ve worked with Agency51, we’ve taken our strategy in various directions to encompass a multitude of different channels. Without that adaptability in our arsenal, we would have had to invest a significant amount of time into sourcing the right talent to develop our strategies and take them forward. That time investment (along with the costs involved) would have meant missing key opportunities to develop our brand and continue serving new and existing customers with the care and agility that we pride ourselves on.”

– Mark Williams, Flexed Short Term Car Leases


Let's work together

If you want to talk to our specialist team about how we can help you with your digital marketing, talk to our team today.

The transparency

Hiring the assistance of an agency is a lot like looking for a new in-house team member in a way. You want to ensure that they’re fit for the job and your needs, so you want to be able to see their work and their results. In an in-house setting, this revolves around seeing an individual’s CV, portfolio and their responses during interviews or pre-employment tests/situations. Sometimes it’s difficult to generate a true image of an individual from this alone however, and sometimes all you have to go by are their words and any potential references. Most of the time, people are honest and trustworthy, but the last thing you want is to have to deal with the fallout of someone who maybe wasn’t quite what you were expecting before you hired them.

Agencies on the other hand wear their reputation on their sleeve. After all, an agency is a business too, and they acquire clients much in the same way as a restaurant would build its customer-base. Businesses look for reviews, for evidence of their work and results, feedback from others, their personality and branding, and so much more.

If a client has a poor experience with an agency’s performance, it’s often vocalised. For example, it’s much easier for a client to leave a negative review of an agency than it would be for an aspiring employee’s reference to give a negative overview of that individual (particularly due to the law in these cases). On the flip side, it’s also much easier to see the positive feedback and the work that an agency has completed, including case studies and existing clients that the agency in question works with/has worked with in the past.

Having the ability to vet an agency with complete transparency means choosing a trustworthy team to work with is significantly more straightforward. Plus, it gives you much greater peace of mind that you’re enlisting the help of the right team. You can even go as far as selecting an agency based on their track record in a particular industry.

Want to know more?

Want to find out just how beneficial working with an agency could be for your business? Talk to us today and we can discuss your needs and how we can help!

Daniel Martin-Lemmon

Daniel Martin-Lemmon

Daniel Martin-Lemmon is a Content and Digital Marketing Executive at Agency51 with a passion for all things writing and marketing-related. From adverts and email campaigns, to long-form blog posts and instructional guides - he’s spent the first part of his career crafting engaging copy in an e-commerce environment, and now spends his time developing a diverse range of long and short-form content for a variety of different industries.

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