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Establishing an In-House Marketing Agency for Your Business

In-house marketing agencies are marketing departments that operate for a single client and are owned by that client. The dynamics within an internal marketing agency are substantially different than those of an external agency that works with multiple clients on a contractual basis. Many small and medium-sized businesses have begun to use internal marketing for some or all of their marketing needs.

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A quick history of in-house marketing agencies

Although companies have been performing some level of marketing on their own for as long as businesses have existed, the use of formalized internal marketing agencies has been increasing steadily over the last decade. A survey by the In-House Agency Forum and Forrester Research that sought responses from businesses across the many industries in the economy showed that internal marketing use rose from 42% in 2008 to 64% in 2018.

Many of the world’s biggest companies have created their own in-house marketing agencies that are now responsible for the majority of their advertising and marketing initiatives.

Related: How to write a Marketing Specialist job description

Benefits of an in-house marketing agency

Making the switch to a staffed in-house marketing agency is a big change that requires the addition of new staff to your company’s books. When considering making a move to in-house marketing, it is important to understand the value and benefits in order to properly compare them with the costs. Key reasons to consider using in-house marketing for your business include:

  • No agency fees
  • Speed of delivery
  • Brand consistency
  • No upcharging
  • Increased commitment
  • Full transparency
  • Confidentiality protection

No agency fees

When working with an external advertising agency, you are dealing with an entity that not only needs to pay its employees for the work they do, but then also needs to make a profit on top of that. Those additional costs are passed on to you as the client. With an internal agency, you are only paying for the time of your employees, and keeping that additional money in the company’s account. Although start-up costs can be higher with in-house marketing, you can also save money in the long run.

Speed of delivery

A large advertising agency has many clients, and that means that your business may not always be seen as a priority when a larger client or a more pressing deadline comes along. With in-house marketing, fulfilling your company’s marketing needs is the only goal of the marketing team, meaning that your work is always the priority and content is delivered more promptly.

Brand consistency

Maintaining a branding strategy is essential for any business. While an external agency will expect to receive guidelines for branding in order to keep their tasks on brand, as just one of many clients there is less familiarity with the products and brand. With in-house marketing, staying on the branding targets is easier as staff are never forced to remember what expectations align with which client. By narrowing the focus to your brand alone, you make it easier for marketers to create content that fits with your goals and tone.

No upcharging

When you are contracting your marketing out to an external marketing agency, each piece of content and each campaign is likely to be carefully negotiated and contracted. This means that making changes to plans or adding new elements into the plan comes with a corresponding jump in costs. With in-house marketing and salaried employees, you have the flexibility to make changes and additions as desired without fear that it is going to lead to a spike in the rates being charged. As long as the work can be fit into your marketing staff’s planned schedule, you gain the flexibility to adjust without rising costs.

Increased commitment

Staff at an outside marketing agency will want to deliver high-quality work to fulfill your contract, as both a matter of personal pride and professional advancement, but it does not match the level of commitment that internal staff can provide. As an employee of your company, internal marketers know that there is a direct link between the success of the company they are marketing and their ability to progress professionally and financially. Increased investment in the results of the marketing plans results in increased effort and superior final products.

Full transparency

Contracting your marketing work outside of your company comes with limitations on the extent of oversight you are provided. While many agencies will provide clients with updates, you are unlikely to be treated to granular looks at the development of your marketing whenever you want it. With in-house marketing, you have increased access. This makes it easier to track the progress of campaigns and easier to understand everything involved in the creation of your marketing campaigns.

Confidentiality protection

Another area where outside marketing agencies will be expected to provide a service but cannot do so as effectively as in-house marketing is in confidentiality. When working with an external agency, you are likely to be sharing important information needed for the creation of marketing initiatives, some of which you don’t want to go public too early. By keeping production in-house, you reduce the opportunities for errors or leaks to cause your confidential information to be released.

Related: How to Hire a Product Marketing Manager

In-house agency FAQ

Many business owners are seeking a broad explanation of what in-house marketing agencies are and what they entail. The most common question is what an in-house marketing plan is.

What does in-house marketing mean?

In-house marketing refers to any advertising or marketing efforts that occur within a company by staff employed by the company. An in-house marketing initiative can make up the entirety of a company’s marketing or may represent just a portion, with the rest contracted out to external marketing agencies. One common area of in-house marketing, for example, is on social media, with paid staff updating and maintaining accounts for the company.

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