Ask any experienced marketeer this question and each of them will give you a different answer as to whether to go in-house or not and this is because there are huge numbers of variables that come into play when looking at assessing your options. That goes much further than financials.
In this feature, we’ll look at some of the considerations that come into play when evaluating whether to go in-house.
Now is the time many businesses will be feeling more than a pinch as a result of the implications surrounding the pandemic and, quite rightly, a large number will be re-evaluating their third party agreements and looking at where they can reduce costs. Unfortunately for agencies this means trouble.
Looking through an affiliate lens it’s worth evaluating what you’re getting for your money when you factor in override costs. More and more businesses are moving their affiliate models in-house to SaaS providers like, Partnerize in order to avoid these pricey additional costs.
Once you’ve factored in these costs it’s also worth weighing up the annual salary of a marketing professional in order to fill the void created from moving away from third parties.
COVID has ripped families apart and caused widespread problems across the globe in 2020. As well as the much documented impact on physical and mental health it’s also brought increased unemployment and job insecurity.
However despite all the disruption it’s also brought happiness to a number of families. Research from the University of Essex found that a quarter of the 5’500 parents studied reported that their relationship with their children had improved since the government enforced lockdown. More and more of us are getting used to working from home and it’s making for a healthier work-life balance.
Getting back to what this means from a recruitment perspective is that you can effectively work anywhere you want now. Digital marketing roles are notoriously difficult to recruit for with more data savvy role requirements making it harder than ever but in our post COVID world it should get a lot easier to find square pegs for square holes as we’re now longer tied down by location.
Let’s be clear on this; strategy should always come from in-house. It’s the role of the agency to challenge that strategy and shape it into something that both parties agree on. If you’re relying on an agency for the strategy then it’s time to re-evaluate your business goals and objectives.
This is also where an agency can be incredibly effective as a tool in executing such a strategy. For larger projects for example an agency is able to call upon a number of resources at their disposal whereas in-house would have to go through far more hurdles in order to get things going; creative always being a massive challenge.
This is where things can get a little blurry as many agencies have software partners they work with in order to assist in marketing efforts but there are also SaaS platforms that offer fully supported solutions as well as ‘in-house’ solutions.
Whilst both can be attractive propositions it’s important to evaluate what is achievable in-house and what needs to be outsourced. The dream of a financial controller would be not to see marketing funds disappear to third parties but the reality of this is that it’s just not possible and this is certainly the case in the affiliate space with very few e-commerce businesses offering their own affiliate marketing platform.
Where agencies often excel is being at the forefront of technological and strategic advancements. Those agencies who partner with Google, for example, are privy to the latest updates months before many other businesses and with competition as tough as ever this is a pretty sizable advantage.
In our experience we’ve found that many of our business partners, be they a major brand or an influencer, like to have that direct relationship with our business and building those relationships has been integral in the growth that we’ve seen over the last few years. Being able to pick up the phone and talk directly to partners has made such a difference in how we strategise but also meant that we can tailor our offers far more effectively than ever before.
From a brand perspective they like it because it builds trust and this is key when trying to cultivate new and existing streams of revenue.
In-house all the way then is it?
Well, whilst this is a dream for many, it takes an awful lot of hard work to get to this point and quite simply not all businesses have the time in order to undertake this body of work. This is where the pre-existing relationships that an agency can offer is a one that is an attractive proposition for brands that need scale at speed. As well as this when trying to market internationally an agency can offer translation services on top of pre-existing ties which, particularly for brands starting up in new markets, can prove invaluable.
What cannot be surpassed however is the knowledge of an in-house expert. You could have the finest agency employee who’s as passionate about your brand as you are, and we’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a few of them, but they’re never going to have more knowledge of your brand, and your customers, as you are and so that’s very important consideration when planning out strategy in this area.
In our experience we would always advocate going in-house and building your expertise within your team whenever possible. Yes this is the longer term objective but one that will pay dividends. Of course though, this is just our experience and every business has different targets and objectives and every business is different therefore what might work well for us might be completely different for someone else.
It’s a bit like PCP v HP, when looking at cars. What’s right for you, might not be for someone else and there’s hundreds of variables at play so it’s important to do your research before committing.