The in-house vs. agency conversation is one that every organization will have/has had at some point or another. To be truthful, it can be difficult to evaluate what’s most appropriate and best accomplished by an in-house staff or a partnering agency.
With some help from my friend Heather Harder, here’s a look at a few tasks best handled in-house versus what an agency can best help with.
Best Handled in-House
This includes any kind of internal address given by an in-house staff member to the organization–like a CEO for instance. A popular form of executive communications is speech writing, which in a lot of cases is best handled in-house. It takes time for a speechwriter to adapt to someone’s language and style.
“You need to spend time with the person you’re writing speeches for to get a feel for his or her personality,” says Harder. “This is easiest done when you’re under the same roof and attend the same events.”
There’s also something to be said about internally circulated letters.
“Letters and other executive communications that need to be completed as quickly as possible are best done in-house because of the lengthy approval process and knowledge of the receivers of these letters that an agency may not be as aware of,” says Harder.
From a public relations perspective, having an in-house spokesperson to address vital stakeholders and media gives your organization credibility. The message is much more authentic when it comes directly from inside the company, rather than a third-party representative.
Best Handled by an Agency
A general rule of thumb is this: anything that requires highly specialized techniques, methodology, technology and/or unbiased perspective is best handled by an agency.
Here are a few examples.
Agencies with branding experience know the fundamental elements and processes required for success. So many organizations often skip necessary steps or let internal bias corrupt their goals. The results of missed steps are obvious–slogans, colors and logos that don’t resonate with primary publics.
An agency comes with an unbiased, third-party perspective that will point you in the best direction without much concern for offending you with the truth. They aren’t bogged down by office politics or other obstacles that will prevent you from doing what’s necessary.
An organization might have an awesome idea for a creative campaign, but bringing it to life is a different story.
Creative agencies have the professionals to turn the dream into a reality. They have videographers, photographers, copy writers, designers and access to the right actors.
Inbound marketing is a highly specialized practice that requires an in-depth expertise of SEO techniques, website development, software set up and operations, social media, copy writing, eBook design, lead nurturing processes and more.
Not only are agencies offering inbound marketing more efficient at it, they’re just plain better at it. These aren’t skills that your in-house marketing staff will be able to pick up overnight, especially when it comes to SEO and lead nurturing processes. Inbound is something that requires an everyday commitment and constant education.
What do you think is best handled in-house vs. by an agency?