Why choose an agency over in-House?

23 November 2020 3 min read
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When looking to resource PR and marketing activity – whether it be a short-sharp campaign, ongoing brand building work or something else – one of the most important questions is how you resource this. This decision often comes down to whether to hire in-house, work with an agency or a combination of both. 

As an agency ourselves, you may think we’d always recommend working with an agency over and above hiring in-house. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many businesses aren’t set up to work ideally with agencies; for example if there are a number of different stakeholders with varying views, an agency may struggle to get the best results. Equally, there are certain business stages where working with an agency partner can add a huge amount of value.

Why choose an agency over in-house?

  • Breadth of experience – When you work with an agency you’re not just working with one person, but a whole team. This means you get a huge breadth of experience and insight from a range of dedicated specialists. With a PR agency, this will typically mean a great dedicated writer, a publicist who knows the press landscape like the back of their hand (both in terms of the news agenda but also the journalists) and a senior strategist. You’re unlikely to get this range of expertise from one or two people in-house
  • A wider perspective – Agencies will typically work with a range of clients both within sectors and across a number of industries. This provides the benefit of a wider viewpoint that makes it possible to understand who is doing what and what is likely coming. This means an agency can spot trends (e.g. Zoom fatigue, continent that is topical Vs what has been done a dozen times elsewhere etc.) and help clients adapt to these 
  • Scaling up and down – A solid agency partner will feel like an extension of your team at all times but, more than that, have the ability to flex resource up or down based on what is needed. Should you have a big launch planned, and major update coming, an agency will offer you the ability to almost instantly increase resource and support – much faster than is possible to do with an internal team
  • Constant focus – Like many agencies, we pride ourselves as operating as a virtual part (much easier since March 2020) of the internal team. At the same team, we are a ring fenced resources for our clients, which means we have dedicated focus to deliver. In busy businesses with lots going on it can be challenging to focus on one or two things at any given time, an agency will provide this focus and resource for you
  • Cost effective senior consultancy – There is nothing quite like experience, yet hiring a full time senior leader in the business can be costly. With an agency you get not just one, but often multiple senior contacts, who each bring a wealth of experience, and are extremely well placed to consult. That resource is on-demand, as needed but at a fraction of the cost of a full time role.

These are just some of the key reasons why businesses choose to work with an agency, but there are a range of other benefits not mentioned. Equally, there are a number of times where it might be best to go down the route of in-house resourcing.

When it might be best not to work with an agency

  • Multiple internal stakeholders – A lot of agencies will be happy to work with multiple internal stakeholders, although if these individuals all have conflicting viewpoints of what need to be done when it comes to marketing and PR and there is no one unifying voice, looking to recruit internally should be the first priority 
  • Budget – The agency landscape is wide and varied, with support available for a wider range of budgets large or small. That being said, there is a point at which a budget is so tight that this may be best spent tactically internally
  • Internal expertise – Whilst a lot of subject matter experts, particularly across PR and marketing, will choose to work with an agency. Some people will always prefer an internal team. 

Making the right decision for your business

Ultimately, the decision of whether to work with an agency or not will come down to the unique set up of your business, the challenges you are facing and where you are in terms of growth.

If you’re evaluating whether a PR, comms or marketing agency might be right for you then we offer a free half hour consultation session – allowing you to speak to one of our directors about the unique challenges facing your business. Far from a pitch, this is your time to benefit from a senior ‘brain to pick’ however you so choose. 

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