In-House vs. Outsourced Marketing: Pros & Cons for Multi-Location Businesses
When it comes to marketing for multi-location businesses, a constant debate is whether or not to outsource your marketing or run it in-house.
Since both come with a cost, deciding which marketing route is best can’t be determined by a simple coin toss or guessing game. You want to know for sure that you’re maximizing your chances for business growth and success. Add the extra layer of managing multiple locations all with different needs, and you’ve got quite the decision to make.
The best bet is to evaluate both options from all sides, and today, we’re going to help you do just that as we answer key questions like:
- What is the difference between in-house and outsourced marketing?
- What are the pros and cons of in-house or outsourced marketing?
- Which strategy might be better for multi-location businesses?
By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to know which strategy might be right for your business!
In-house marketing for multi-location businesses
Let’s start first with in-house marketing.
What is in-house marketing?
In-house marketing is marketing that you run internally—meaning all aspects of your multi-location marketing are managed and executed by an internal team.
This means that the responsibility of developing, implementing, and measuring a marketing strategy falls to at least one person (if not more) within your business.
For multi-location businesses, this may mean that you run marketing from a corporate level or you have in-house marketing experts at each location responsible for executing the marketing strategy.
Pros and cons of in-house marketing for multi-location businesses
Here are some pros and cons of in-house marketing for multi-location businesses.
Let’s start with the positives first!
When you run your marketing internally, you have full control over campaigns, strategy, assets, and reports. This control also allows you to make tweaks, optimizations, and changes as needed without the need to consult with an outside provider. It can also be helpful when it comes to reporting results to higher-ups and throughout the business and maintaining consistent brand awareness across locations and campaigns.
One of the positives about running in-house marketing for your multi-location business is that it provides a level of flexibility you may not get with outsourced marketing. Because you’re running all marketing within your business, you can make changes due to budget, revenue, or goals quickly.
In-house marketing requires a team of marketing professionals working within the business to execute your strategy. Because your team is working directly for the business, they have a comprehensive understanding of your brand and your products or services.
Working within the company also gives these experts extra insight, guidance, and context that can help inform your marketing campaigns and strategies that may be difficult to glean for outsourced marketers.
Now onto some of the negatives of running in-house marketing for multi-location businesses.
One of the biggest cons when it comes to running in-house marketing for multi-location businesses is that it’s not easily scalable. You have to rely on your existing tech stack and team to run marketing across multiple channels for multiple locations, leading to a lack of agility.
Running in-house marketing requires an in-house team. Your multi-location business may not have the budget or infrastructure to hire the exact team you need to execute campaigns across locations and channels. This can lead to a lack of results and burnt-out employees.
In-house marketing is time-consuming, especially for multi-location businesses. Running the necessary campaigns across channels and locations requires a time investment that many teams just don’t have.
Outsourced marketing for multi-location businesses
Now that we’re familiar with in-house marketing let’s compare it to outsourced marketing for multi-location businesses.
What is outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing includes any marketing run by any person, business, or platform outside of your company. With outsourced marketing, your multi-location marketing campaigns are managed and executed by external parties.
This means that tasks such as marketing asset development, implementation, lead generation, and management, and reporting are handled outside your business.
For multi-location businesses, this might mean you have a few different partners, agencies, or freelancers you work with at the corporate level. However, there are also options to have external marketing experts work with each location individually.
Pros and cons of outsourced marketing for multi-location businesses
Let’s evaluate some pros and cons of outsourced marketing for multi-location businesses.
First, the good stuff! Here are all the pros that come with outsourced marketing for your multi-location business:
Outsourced marketing is much more scalable than in-house marketing because you’re not relying solely on the resources you have in-house. When you outsource your marketing, you have teams assigned to your business to focus entirely on the growth of your marketing.
External marketing resources often have access to tools, software, and expertise that may be out of reach for your business in-house. If you need to get a marketing campaign up fast across many channels and locations, outsourced marketing is the way to go.
Contrary to popular belief, outsourced marketing can be more cost-effective than in-house marketing since you don’t have to pay full-time salaries, benefits, and more for an in-house team. In fact, outsourcing your marketing can help companies reduce costs by up to 30%.
Plus, the cost of in-house marketing in contrast, doesn’t just end at paying staff members. When you outsource your multi-location business’s marketing, you’re also saved from additional costs like creative design, learning and development, software subscriptions, and more since your agency and partner would handle those items.
Access to industry experts
Arguably one of the best parts of working with an agency or partner is that the external team dedicates their careers to learning the latest and greatest in marketing. Marketing professionals work to be industry experts in their field so that they can deliver the best results possible for their clients.
Instead of spending money and time on educating yourself or your team, you can rest assured that you’re getting expert marketing advice from someone who dedicates their day-to-day to marketing best practices.
While outsourcing your multi-location marketing is clearly a great option based on the pros, there are also some cons to keep in mind:
Outsourcing your multi-location marketing takes work off your company’s plate, but with that comes a tradeoff. You won’t be as hands-on when it comes to actually executing your specific marketing tactics, so you’ll have less control over the process. To get past this, you’ll need to let go of the details and establish a level of trust with your external marketing partner.
Although agencies and partners can take over many of your marketing responsibilities for you, there is still some work involved when outsourcing your multi-location marketing. You have to manage your relationship with your external marketing team to ensure expectations are successfully met.
Luckily, this con to outsourced marketing has an easy fix: communication. Communication is key when it comes to outsourcing your marketing so that you and your team feel in the loop on what’s happening with your campaigns.
Not as flexible
When you handle your marketing in-house, you can quickly pivot as you see fit. However, when you’re working with an external marketing partner, you don’t always have that same flexibility.
What you’re able to achieve will ultimately be up to the capacity of your agency or partner’s offering. Plus, there may be a delay in getting your next campaigns up and running to account for communication, planning, and reviews. However, keep in mind that similar processes need to be done in-house as well, so the difference in turnaround time tends to be minimal.
In-house vs. outsourced marketing: Which is right for your multi-location business?
Like with anything in marketing, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to in-house versus outsourced marketing. Use our handy breakdown to evaluate what might be best for your business’s unique needs.
The beauty of trying one or the other is you always have the flexibility to switch in the future or to try a mix of both. If you go into the decision process with an open mind, clear goals, and established expectations, you’re sure to find success in whichever path you take for your multi-location marketing.