advertising agency or in-house marketing team?

Advertising Agency Or In-house Marketing Team?

Founding my company has taught me many things. And if you are a founder yourself, you are already aware of the importance of marketing when growing your business. 

From the very beginning of my journey with Nanos, I asked myself the following question: should we hire an advertising agency or an in-house marketing team? 

I’ll tell you upfront: at Nanos we decided on an in-house team. Nanos is a technology for the creation and management of online advertising campaigns. As our product is directly related to marketing, it was important for us to have people with deep marketing expert knowledge supporting the development and machine-learning teams.   

It was crucial for us to build an outbound marketing and sales team that would engage long-term with Nanos. I believe that having the right team is what propels your business further. Therefore it was clear to me that I wanted to have someone working in-house. Someone who would constantly improve our marketing efforts, learn new things, and find new ways of reaching out to our potential clients. 

I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy finding the right people for the job. It took me a long time and it required a lot of energy, going through hundreds of calls, interviews, and unsuccessful trial periods.

Hiring an advertising agency or an in-house marketing expert depends a lot on your business, industry, and resources available. And if you are asking yourself this question right now, maybe my experience can help. 

Marketing is a sea of options  


This might sound funny, but marketing is truly broad and englobes many different approaches: SEO, SEA, Email, Social Media, Affiliate, just to name a few. When working on your business plan you have to clearly outline the reach and support techniques you want to focus on. This is easier said than done, especially if you don’t have a marketing background. 

This outline will determine what kind of person you need to do the job. At the beginning stages of your startup, you might not have the resources to hire multiple marketing experts for your company. If you decide to hire an in-house marketing person, be aware that this person won’t have deep knowledge of all marketing aspects (no expert can realistically know everything about the whole marketing field), nor will she be able to dedicate time to all of them. 

By hiring an advertising agency, on the other hand, you will be hiring a complete marketing team with complementary marketing skills. They will be able to cover all your marketing needs. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be clear on what you want to focus on, but means that they have the capacity and skills to focus on more than one aspect at the same time. 

The Driving Force Behind Your Business 


I am a firm believer that it’s your team that builds your business. Having dedicated people who are engaged and believe in your business idea is the force that drives your business’ growth. 

By hiring an in-house marketing professional, you will be hiring someone who will be part of the team and engage with your business. This is something no one should underestimate. But more so, you will also be hiring someone who will acquire a deep understanding of your business and its industry. This is something that a marketing agency won’t be able to provide. Although they have knowledge of several industries, they won’t have the time to really go deep into understanding your business and they will never build the same relationship with it, compared to an in-house employee. 

Your employee will be around full-time working on growing your business, and therefore communication will also flow differently. An advertising agency will be fast in delivering, but your communication will not be as fluid, as they won’t be able to jump on a quick meeting with you at any time.

Another aspect to consider is how much control you want to have over the results, in terms of creatives etc. 

Working with a good advertising agency will ensure that you get high-quality marketing approaches fast, but you also won’t be part of every single step and decision-making. You won’t be able to work on creatives hands-on. If you don’t have the time, knowledge, or interests to do so, a marketing agency might be a good option. But if you are someone who wants to be involved at every step of the way, an in-house marketing team would make more sense. 

New Ideas and Innovation 


An advertising agency is structured in a way that employees are always looking for new, creative approaches to marketing. The whole agency ecosystem is also built on pitches and feedback, which means that there is more than one person coming up with new ideas and solutions. Having different perspectives and living a feedback culture is important for new ideas and innovation, as well as personal and professional development. 

If you hire one marketing employee this person will most likely be the only one responsible for many different things, especially in a startup. The lack of having a full team to communicate with about approaches might result in a tunnel vision of things. A fresh perspective is important. You can overcome this by offering an environment that supports your people’s development. Motivate them to learn, take courses etc. Ideally courses with other experts in the same field, so that they can have that interaction and feedback, which is important. 

The Investment You Make 


An advertising agency is not cheap, but finding the right employee and investing in them isn’t either. But once you find the right employee, you will have someone who will actively contribute to your business for over a period of time. Having incentives is a great way to make them stay even longer. 

Ultimately, employees are your most valuable asset.