This week on IndustrialSage, we address a common question about digital marketing for your company: when should you bring it in-house, and when should you take it to an outside agency?

1. INSOURCING

An in-house team is ideal when your field is so specific and niched that an outsider can’t properly create content with the right nuances, politics, and technical details.

Insourcing takes less time to onboard your marketers and make sure they understand your product and your business. Their time is more often spent determining what marketing tools or techniques to use.

Nanolumens is a great example of how insourcing can (and often does) originate. Their company didn’t have a marketing department at all; they just had the front receptionist, who started experimenting bit by bit with digital assets, like Marketo.

From there, they ended up building out an entire internal strategy and team over time.

So if you have the opportunity and an individual who you think might excel at promoting your company this way, you can assign them a few minor projects to try in their spare time.

Remember, the baby steps can be small. Make it a goal to send out regular newsletters. Try creating a email campaigns in preparation for a trade show. Crawl before you can walk.

2. OUTSOURCING

Outsourcing is good when you need professional help from an agency to generate results and catch up to your competition a.s.a.p.

When your company has a low bandwidth or a lack of any computer-savvy individuals, hiring outside help for your digital marketing is a very helpful option.

Agencies can be pricy, but don’t forget the old adage: “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Someone who understands the digital world can omit the trial-and-error delays that may come with experimenting internally with marketing techniques.

However, it’s still good to have at least one individual who’s your internal go-to contact to mediate between you and the agency. The more niche your field, the more you’ll need someone to help explain to the marketers what you do and who you want to attract. That way, the content won’t be too vague or irrelevant.

3. SO WHICH IS BETTER?

A lot of companies do both.

Many industries turn to outside agencies for PR, digital campaigns, ads, and offerings. Meanwhile, they have an internal department that churns out most of their social media content, their email newsletters, and maybe their blogs.

Sometimes a company’s internal marketing is handled by one person – other times, there’s a dozen or more members of a team on the company payroll. Meanwhile there could be a whole outside agency looking after them…or just one digital guru who understands their business in and out.

It all comes down to, when you begin the digital marketing process, asking yourself one key question:

“Do we want an industry expert who’s not sure how marketing works…or a marketing expert who’s not sure how our industry works?”

Ideally you want to have someone who will eventually understand both…and that should be what you’ll achieve and grow over time.
 

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to the IndustrialSage newsletter to get each of the weekly episodes sent directly to your inbox; or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so you can listen on the go! If there’s a particular topic that you’d like the sages to talk about, or if you have a particular a challenge that you’d like them to take a crack at, send them an email. If your topic gets picked for a future episode, you’ll win a free IndustrialSage t-shirt!