B2B Insights

Professional insights and personal musings

On In-house Marketing and Other Dubious Ideas

By Bob Rose, President

A lot of marketers have moved or are considering moving their advertising, social media management, marketing data integration and content creation to in-house services.

The motivation seems to be to gain greater cost-effectiveness. The reasoning is: why pay all that money for a full-service marketing agency?

This reminds me of the cost-conscious guy who saves money by not going to the doctor for regular check-ups. Think of all the cash he’s saving on co-pays! This isn’t a good plan for long term cost-effective healthcare.

And, trying to save money in marketing by ignoring the need for quality is not a good plan for long term business health.

For most middle-market businesses, in-house marketing departments cannot attract and retain strong talent. Pure and simple.

A middle-market business taking service in-house is a tacit statement that marketing quality is not that important. And that’s a bad statement for any company’s future.

To be fair, in-house marketing makes sense for two kinds of clients: really big ones and really small ones. If a business is big enough to justify a talented, well-resourced in-house group, then have at it. Or if a business is smaller and specialized in the things they do - say, lead gen or direct marketing – they may be better served by a specialized unit.

But for most middle-market companies, in-house marketing is like covering a bullet hole with a band-aid. The needs are too demanding, and the outcomes are too important, to try to do things in marketing that are just not good enough.

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