How to Maximise Marketing Investment? Agency or In-House?

Written by James Self

Aug 25 2016

maximise marketing investment

To make the most of marketing investment, you need to consider the best implementation option for your organisation. So what are the benefits of hiring an agency vs implementing in-house?

Keeping abreast of the latest marketing trends and technologies - and how they fit into an Inbound Marketing strategy - can be a substantial challenge for many companies.

When considering Inbound, it’s not uncommon for those holding the corporate purse strings to want to contain investment by spreading the load between existing staff or new marketing hires. But complete Inbound strategies can be complex. To secure ROI campaigns must be correctly planned, implemented and monitored. As a result running a campaign in-house, vs hiring an Inbound Marketing agency, is not always the most efficient option.

But what should organisations expect when undertaking a campaign in-house vs. hiring an Inbound Agency?

Make The Most of Marketing Investment

At the Planning Stage

At the initial campaign planning stage, it is crucial that Inbound campaigns are structured correctly to achieve goals and ROI. Activity and KPIs must be based on data-backed research, and both marketing and sales should be aligned on responsibilities.

If you hire an agency

A reputable Inbound agency will be able to provide the expertise on every aspect of campaign planning and will implement all activity around your best-fit buyer personas. Web development and optimisation, content planning, social media activity, site optimisation, buyer persona development will all be considered and planned by dedicated agency experts, within your set budget and time frame.

If you implement in-house

Implementing in-house can be an attractive option, but if staff are unfamiliar with Inbound, or if you have a limited marketing department, it can be hard to get an effective campaign off the ground. Be aware that training and alignment of all team members (marketing and sales) will be required before planning or implementing; especially if your organisation is moving from a traditional to an inbound approach.

Impact on investment

 Hiring an agency often means that less time (and money) will be spent on training current staff to adopt a new marketing strategy. Plus, you can immediately tap into an agency’s infrastructure and experience for a speedy start to your campaign.

2.  At the Implementation Stage

If you understand who your ideal buyers are, know your realistic goals and have your campaign planned, it’s time to implement. At this stage there are a lot of moving parts to align and consider; implementing a marketing automation platform, creating content, planning campaign ads and promotion, preparing a lead nurture plan, ensuring your site is optimised and more.

If you hire an agency

At this stage agency technical experts can help set up and implement any new platforms you need, and content writers can help develop content to resonate with your target audience at the right stage in their buyer’s journey (from blogs to eBooks to whitepapers etc). Account managers will start to bring all the moving parts together, and will identify the best digital channels for campaign promotion for your audience. With the benefit of experienced analytics monitoring, you can quickly adapt and react to keep your campaign on track.

If you implement in-house

Implementing the tech, and creating the volume of content needed to support a full Inbound campaign can be a challenge for smaller marketing teams, so it’s wise to be aware of all the aspects you’ll need before pressing go. Remember, at a basic level, you’ll need to create regular buyer-mapped content that supports each stage of purchase journey, will need well optimised landing pages to capture leads, and must have a buyer-relevant promotion strategy planned for best reach.

Impact on investment

By using Inbound long term, resources can be lessened as the activity you undertake will be more focussed, and the leads you spend time with will be more likely to purchase. However in the initial ramp-up/ implementation stages, be aware that it can take time to get campaign infrastructure in place.  

3.  At the Nurturing Stage

Seeing more visitors convert on your site is likely one of your key goals. But are those leads a good-fit for your product/ service? Are they likely to convert into good customers? A well implemented Inbound campaign will start to bring in quality leads, not just quantity, and start to nurture those leads toward a solution.

If you hire an agency

An Inbound agency will already have the structure in place to help you qualify and nurture the best leads. Account managers will help you establish automated email nurture workflows to immediately react to opportunities, build trust with good fit leads. Knowing what content to nurture with is important here, as is understanding what defines a quality lead for your organisation. Inbound agencies who offer early stage sales follow up/ Inbound sales services can also work with your sales team to ensure they are able to follow up with Sales Qualified Leads - following an Inbound sales approach.  

If you implement in-house

Be aware that lead nurture can be a full time responsibility, and must be prioritised to built timely trust with prospects. Make sure both your marketing and Sales teams have an exact profile of what defines a Marketing Qualified Lead, and a Sales Qualified Lead for you, and are aligned on their individual nurture and follow up responsibilities.

Impact on investment

Effective nurture is integral to achieve ROI, as unless leads are well qualified and nurtured, you risk sabotaging your hard work implementing and investing in your campaign.

4.  At the Sales Stage

Inbound means no more unqualified leads for Sales. When an Inbound campaign is implemented correctly, efficiencies are realised from conception to completion. With correct Marketing and Sales alignment, your organisation will have best access to business intelligence over each lead’s history - allowing sales reps to have a complete understanding of the buyer and their challenges.

If you hire an agency

An agency’s role in Inbound is to support your campaign from start to finish. If you choose an agency offering Inbound Sales services, this can include sales support and training to ensure your organisation is following the best approach to close leads generated into customers.

If you implement in-house

If your marketing and sales alignment is strong, you should have a good base of qualified, nurtured leads to build trust with from your Inbound marketing efforts. When it comes to sale follow up, it’s wise to get everyone in your sales teams trained to follow the Inbound Sales methodology as traditional and legacy sales methods are decreasing in effectiveness.

Impact on investment

With sales receiving the best qualified leads from your Inbound marketing team, and following an Inbound Sales approach, you’ll be best positioned to prioritise, progress and close the highest value clients for your organisation.

Agency or In-house?

Understanding the importance of well structured and monitored Inbound and sales campaigns cannot be underestimated. Before considering a campaign, it’s important to think realistically about how you can support and manage each aspect efficiently.

By hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency, it can be more straightford to control and cut costs, and take advantage of the following benefits:

  • No need to hire more staff
  • No need to retrain existing staff
  • Staff can concentrate on your core business and other revenue streams
  • Campaign costs will cover only the resources you need at any one time
  • You will have fixed monthly costs
  • Regular reporting and campaign adjustment can be easily made as your campaign progresses
  • Agencies will help you stay abreast of the latest best practice considerations and technologies
  • You benefit from agency experience and expertise

The investment required for an Inbound Marketing campaign is discussed in more detail in our post “The Cost of B2B Inbound Marketing: What To Expect For Your Budget” and will provide a good benchmark so that an informed decision can be made.

B2B Marketing Zone