A simple guide to in-house vs. outsourced marketing for SMEs

Find out about the marketing processes SMEs must have in place to get the best marketing results in our latest blog.

For many SMEs, establishing a marketing strategy starts with one all-important question: ‘Should I outsource my marketing, or can it be done it in-house?’

Every business is different but there are some key advantages and disadvantages to both options.

We’ve put together this short guide to help you navigate the pros and cons of each…

Outsourced marketing


Pros include:

  1. An outsourced marketing team focus on their individual specialisms every day, which keeps them ahead of the game when it comes to all the latest marketing tips, trends and industry know-how.
  2. You’ve got access to a whole team of expert professionals, rather than just one individual trying to learn everything there is to know about digital, advertising, content, social media, PR and search marketing.
  3. You’re most likely to get an objective and honest viewpoint working with outsourced professionals who are focused on delivering results.


Cons include:

  1. Your outsourced marketing partner needs to understand your company, which can take a while.
  2. Outsourced marketers don’t work physically within your business, so you might not always have immediate access to them.
  3. Outsourced marketers – particularly those working in an agency environment – tend to move around, meaning you may have to work with somebody new every so often.

In-house marketing


Pros include:

  1. In-house employees may have more of a vested interest in your business
  2. You can ask an in-house employee to help out with additional, non-marketing duties.
  3. A full-time marketing employee has more opportunity to immerse themselves in your culture and values.


Cons include:

  1. On top of additional salaries and the responsibilities that come with hiring new employees, building a good marketing function involves ongoing support, training and guidance – which takes time and money.
  2. You need a broad range of skills such as PR, content writing, social media, SEO and PPC, however it’s highly unlikely you’ll find all this in just one person which may limit what you can achieve.
  3. If your in-house marketing employee is sick or should leave, the responsibility (and cost) to cover or replace them is yours.


Which option should you choose?

It’s tricky – you want to make the right decision first time around. Get it wrong, and you could wind up spending time and money on your marketing resource that you simply don’t have.

Still unsure? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I/my team know as much about marketing as the experts?
  2. Can I afford to have multiple team members across different disciplines?
  3. Am I capable of leading and developing an expert marketing function?
  4. Do I have the time, skills and experience to create such a resource?

If you’ve answered ‘no’ to most of these questions, then it’s time to start looking for an outsourced marketing provider.

If you would like to discuss your marketing with us, call us on 0113 394 4559 or email

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