Why an Internal Marketing Team Doesn’t Make Sense for Your Business

Your business is growing, and it’s time to make a bigger investment in your marketing. It’s time to start thinking, “Should I hire an internal marketing team or a marketing agency?”

There are certainly perks to having an internal team:

  • They can become deeply familiar with your business – Internal teams work among your employees for forty or more hours a week. They’ll learn your routines and garner a solid understanding of your company behind-the-scenes.
  • They can dedicate all their work hours to your company – Your internal workers can spend every minute of every working day concentrating solely on projects bound to your company.

But we’re partial, as you might expect, to hiring an agency to do your marketing for you – and we’ll show you why.

(This post has been updated from an earlier post written by the 2017 Leverage Marketing Content Team lead, Madeline Jacobson.)

You have too much work for a small in-house team to handle

purple sticky notes with to do everything

If you’re operating a startup, you may currently be dividing marketing responsibilities amongst a small team – even if marketing isn’t part of your employees’ primary duties. As you begin to ramp up your marketing efforts, the workload may become too heavy for your current employees to handle, which could lead to missed deadlines and – the ultimate profit-killer – burnout.

At this point, your options are to hire more employees and build up a marketing department or outsource your marketing to an agency.

You don’t have room in your marketing budget to hire a full in-house team

two hands sharing a half dollar representing overwork and underpayment

There’s more to a marketing team than you might initially think – but every team has to start somewhere. Let’s assume you want to assemble a team from the very beginning. At the bare minimum, an in-house digital marketing team typically includes:

  • An Analyst ($80,000 per year) – We’re being generous here. You should really have at least two analysts, one for paid search and advertising and another for search engine optimization to ensure that your efforts aren’t a waste.
  • A Content Creator ($65,000 per year) – There’s no internet without content, and you’ll need at least one professional to manage the creation of all your content so that you maintain a certain quality standard for search engines and customers.
  • A Social Media Manager ($51,000 per year) – Companies have a huge role to play in social media. It’s so huge, in fact, that you’ll need a full-time social media manager to keep up with only a few social media channels.

Salaries provided are estimates based on average salaries from Indeed and Payscale. That’s already almost $200,000 per year that you will be putting toward marketing. Plus, the number doesn’t factor in things like employee benefits and marketing software.

If the cost of in-house employee salaries alone will meet or exceed your marketing budget, you are better off making the cost-effective decision to work with an agency. Marketing agencies typically charge clients monthly, and services can often be tailored to meet the your budget.

You don’t have time for a lengthy hiring process

worker in shirt and tie representing hiring process

Your company is growing quickly and you know that you need to expand your marketing efforts, but you don’t have weeks on end to look for the ideal in-house candidates.

Even if you do make a hire relatively quickly, it will still take time for your new employee to receive training and become familiar with your company. And if you make a hire too hastily and end up with someone who can’t handle the job responsibilities, you have to go through the time-consuming and costly hiring process all over again.

Although the process of hiring an agency and familiarizing your dedicated team with your business also takes some effort, the time to hire is almost always significantly shorter. Agencies spend their entire working days creating marketing campaigns for their clients, and a professional agency will be able to pick up your marketing remarkably quickly.

You don’t have the right marketing talent in your geographic area

purple planet showing geography difference in marketing teams

If your business isn’t located in a major metropolitan area with a thriving marketing and communications industry, you may have trouble attracting qualified jobseekers to your open in-house marketing positions.

Fortunately, any quality digital marketing agency will have the resources necessary to effectively communicate with you from a remote location, so you can choose the best talent available with no geographic restrictions.

Your business has a lot of seasonal fluctuations

tree for seasonal marketing

If you have a busy season and an off season, your marketing budget may change significantly from quarter to quarter, and it might not make sense to have an in-house marketing team that is overworked part of the year and on standby when your marketing budget decreases. Your money is going to waste if you’re not using it to maintain or grow your business.

With a satellite marketing agency, you can easily scale your marketing efforts up or down by adding or decreasing the number of team members on your account.

You want to manage your marketing team less often

marketing team representing micromanagement

Sure, keeping your team in-house means you have them physically on hand when you need them. But a satellite marketing agency is only a phone call, message, or email away, and they don’t need to be micromanaged.

Marketing agencies are trained, experienced, and set up to handle marketing campaigns back-to-front with little or no management. Their job is to make marketing easy for you so you spend less time solving problems remotely and more time focusing on large-scale tasks.

The teams at agencies work hard to minimize meetings, maximize results, and make reporting simple and straightforward. If you enjoy working rather than managing, consider the perks of a strong marketing agency.

Want to learn more about why other businesses just like yours choose an off-site digital marketing team? Download our awesome In-House vs. Agency infographic right now!

Mobile Shopping: The New Norm

We originally published this post back in 2016. Since a lot can change in the online marketing landscape in a year, we’ve updated it for 2017.

Throughout the last decade, mobile and online shopping has been on the rise, pushing brick-and-mortar businesses to compete harder for their share of consumers’ dollars. During the 2017 holiday season, eMarketer expects ecommerce sales to grow 15.8%, with total retail growth limited to 2%. The National Retail Federation (NRF) believes overall retail growth will be around 3.7-4.2% in 2017, while online retail will grow 8-12% alone. It’s clear that mobile shopping on smartphones and tablets, rather than brick and mortar shopping, is the new norm.

In the United States, consumers are increasingly using their smartphones more hours during the day for shopping, social media, and other activities. Mobile ad spending is on the rise, as marketers realize they need to target mobile consumers even more than through traditional advertising avenues. As mobile data and the online shopping industry grow, vendors and retailers will need to come up with innovative ways to target consumers.

As fewer consumers purchase laptops or rely on them as a primary device, tablets and smartphones will increasingly become the primary devices for purchasing, with 31 million US Internet users only using a mobile device to go online in 2016.

mobile online shopping

Amazon and Walmart

Comparing two retail giants—Amazon and Walmart—shows the chasm widening between online and brick-and-mortar sales. Amazon posted $82.7 billion in sales for the last 12 months, while Walmart, with its massive physical presence, only posted $12.5 billion. With ecommerce juggernauts like Amazon driving more sales through programs like Amazon Prime, online sales will continue to eclipse traditional brick-and-mortar options, and the online shopping industry will grow.

Both these companies are working hard to break into each other’s markets, with Walmart strengthening its ecommerce skills and Amazon its brick-and-mortar abilities. Walmart has purchased Amazon, however, announced its intention to purchase organic food giant Whole Foods and has been opening up retail bookstores in NYC and other locations. These two massive companies make it clear that ecommerce is the future, but brick-and-mortar isn’t dead either.

Demographics: Who Shops Mobile?

New data shows that younger buyers, especially those with smartphones, are more likely to use mobile devices for shopping compared to older consumers. In a 2016 Bronto survey of over 1000 people, 65% of adults ages 18-24 say they use their smartphones for shopping, as do 63% of those ages 25-34, and 58% of those aged 35-44, with the numbers dropping significantly as age increases. 35-44-year-old people are more likely to purchase on tablets, with younger consumers not using those devices as frequently. As age increases over 44, these numbers decline.

What these statistics suggest is that most mobile commerce growth is driven by the 18-34-year-old segment of the population, with less push from older American adults. As an increasing number of millennials accrue wealth and enter the workforce, mobile sales will continue to grow and overtake online sales from computers and eventually brick-and-mortar entirely.

Online shopping growth, especially on mobile, is a force that will only increase as the conveniences of shopping from your home and online-only deals eclipse any advantages brick-and-mortar stores retain. Millennial shoppers are pushing this evolution, and the next generation will only further it.smartphone graph new


Consumer trends suggest that mobile sales are the new norm. Mobile devices, especially smartphones, are convenient to use and able to fit in your pocket, and retailers are providing seamless app experiences for purchasing on their platforms. Tablets are also a significant part of this growth, to a lesser extent, among adults in the 35-44-year old range.

Mobile commerce growth is inevitable, and it will overtake brick-and-mortar. The only question is when. With giants like Amazon reporting close to $100 billion in annual sales and growing, retailers and advertisers must pursue solutions to engage with mobile consumers in innovative ways. While brick and mortar stores are still relevant for the foreseeable future, Walmart and similar large retailers must continue to adapt to stay in business.

At Leverage Marketing, we employ pioneering techniques to further your company’s digital marketing efforts We can help your ecommerce business create a mobile-friendly design that adapts to smartphone and tablet design. Learn more about our web design services and contact us today.

How Your Company Can Team Up with Your Marketing Agency

Marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams don’t have to be like oil and water. In fact, a good partnership between agency and in-house team members can be more of a peanut butter and jelly relationship.

Food idioms aside, it’s becoming more and more common for startups and large corporations alike to partner with marketing agencies, even if they already have an in-house marketing department. That’s because agencies can bring in additional resources and skill sets that might not exist in-house—and handle some of the time- and labor-intensive marketing activities that may be eating up too many company hours.

If you’re considering bringing in an agency as an extension of your own team, there are steps you can take to ensure that your marketing campaigns run like butter (that’s the last food cliché, I promise). When meeting with your new agency partner, you’ll need to determine how and when you’ll communicate, what tools you’ll use to collaborate, and how your team members will exchange knowledge.

Establishing Communication

You don’t want to feel like you’re shouting into a void whenever you reach out to your marketing agency, and your agency team members don’t want to feel that way, either. To avoid unnecessary frustration, it’s important to establish a communication plan early on.

It’s a good idea to set up a recurring monthly meeting to touch base, discuss strategy, and review the past month’s efforts. If you and your agency are working on a particularly big campaign, you may even want to meet weekly or bi-monthly.

Face-to-face meetings can be beneficial, but they’re not essential (especially if your agency is located halfway across the country). At Leverage, we use Sococo (a virtual office space) and GoToMeeting (a video conferencing tool) to meet with many of our clients. Both these tools allow us to have multiple people on a call share screens so that we can all look at the same presentations.

In addition to scheduling regular meetings, you should also establish a plan for communicating whenever something pressing comes up. Make sure you know who your point people are at your marketing agency and in-house so that you always have a clear channel of communication. Both in-house and agency team members should make it a goal to respond to emails within at least one business day.

Choosing Tools for Collaboration

Online collaboration tools make it easy for agencies and in-house marketing departments to collaborate and share documents, and the good news is, most marketing agencies already invest in some collaboration and project management tools.

At Leverage, for example, we use the project management system Teamwork to collaborate internally, but we can also give our clients access so that they can view specific files, notes, and task lists for their business. (Basecamp is another popular tool that some agencies and in-house marketing departments use.)

When it comes to file sharing, there are fortunately several free options available. Basic Dropbox is free, and if you need more advanced sharing features and additional storage, you can get Dropbox Pro or Business for a small monthly fee. Google Drive also provides another simple and free way for agencies and in-house departments to share text documents, graphics, spreadsheets, videos, and presentations.

If you’re looking for even more collaboration tools to meet the needs of a specific campaign or your company’s project management style, Hubspot has a list of 18 good ones.

Exchanging Knowledge (and Resources)

Complementary knowledge is one of the ultimate benefits of an agency teaming up with an in-house marketing department. An agency may have access to enterprise software, such as Marin (a cross-channel advertising platform), that they can use to help your business make better-informed marketing decisions. Your agency team members may also bring with them a more advanced knowledge of Google Analytics and other tools that your company is already using, allowing your company to use those tools more effectively.

Meanwhile, your in-house marketing team brings to the table a deeper understanding of your company, your competitors, your target audience, and your industry. In order to make sure your marketing agency succeeds in their responsibilities, your in-house team needs to be able to successfully share their knowledge, whether that’s through reports, presentations, interviews, or even making products available for agency team members to test.

Here are a few other things your internal team should be sharing with your marketing agency:

  • Existing content style guides or notes on your brand voice
  • Your marketing initiatives calendar
  • Media files (e.g. company photos, videos, slideshow, or webinars that you want to promote)
  • Updates on your product launches, technology advances, upcoming webinars or talks you’re presenting, and other company news
  • Sales and lead data (so your agency knows how their campaigns are doing)

Agency and In-House: Together at Last

There’s no reason that marketing agencies and in-house marketing teams need to be at odds, especially with the wide range of communication and collaboration tools available. Both in-house and agency team members can provide different strengths, allowing your company to expand your digital marketing efforts in a cost-effective manner.

Want to learn more about how Leverage Marketing collaborates with in-house marketing teams? Contact us, and we’ll schedule a call at a time that works for you.

How to Get More Out of Your Marketing Team on a Budget

Maybe you’re considering incorporating another marketing tactic into your company’s arsenal, or you wish you could launch one more campaign for the next season…but your current team is already stretched too thin. Project calendars are loaded and your staff barely has time to eat lunch. If only you could hire one more team member to add to your marketing department, but the budget is tight. What to do? Here are a few tips to get your team back on track in no time and boost conversion rates without feeling overworked:

Minimize repetitive work, maximize brain power

brain-powerThere are so many platforms you can utilize to make your team more efficient, and budget doesn’t have to be an issue. Project management tools such as Teamwork, Mavenlink and Basecamp will speed up workflow and increase communication without breaking the bank. Password manager tools can also be a time-saver. Secure tools such as LastPass store your team’s passwords for all your different platforms and so that no one ever has to waste time digging for a forgotten password again. There are also a wealth of other tools available to help automate paid search bids, social media posts and ad campaigns, and reporting. Read more about some of the digital marketing tools that make our team more efficient. Your team doesn’t need to waste time on repetitive activities. Let the tools do the robotic work while your team utilizes their creative and strategic powers.

Outsource some marketing activities, accomplish more

outsource marketing to boost output

Outsourcing can be a great help when it comes to managing a certain marketing skill your team may lack. It’s also the ideal solution for getting projects done during your busiest seasons. This way the company only pays to get work done when it is needed and doesn’t have to pay an extra salary plus benefits during slow times.

By outsourcing, I’m not referring to shipping the work overseas to someone you may never communicate with or who may not even speak English. I mean finding an agency team that will act as though they were an extension of your own team, just not in the same building. We call this a satellite team, learn more about that here.

Ask the team for feedback, find your groove

Ask team members what makes them the most productive. Some people may feel hindered by a working style or environment imposed upon them. It may be possible that some of your team members could be more productive if they had more alone time to focus, while others may prefer a collaborative environment or group work. Also, some may be more productive on a slightly different schedule. Flexible schedules or working at home to address family matters or household issues provides a clear head and peace of mind to concentrate on work. It’s also possible that some employees may be able to take on more work with a flexible schedule.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to take an anonymous survey to get feedback from your team about how they feel in their work environment and the work load in addition to talking to them face to face. You may get a slightly different idea of what is needed and then draw your conclusions from both the survey and your face to face talks.