In-house vs Agency – The Great Debate

The transition from an in-house marketing team to an agency environment has been an interesting one. Well, perhaps revealing might be a better way of putting it. At about three months in, the differences have become evident and quite a bit more substantial than I had given them credit.

Previously, I showed up to the office, worked amongst my team and most of my questions were directed to the product experts on the third floor. Sure, we outsourced some of our work to an agency but not until I entered the behind the scenes operations of the agency world did I truly appreciate the breadth and support of the work that was being done there. That said, everything has its pros and cons, so let me share with you some of my findings.


  • Pros: The answers you need to get that newsletter final or an email blast approved are never far away. If you reach a road-block and aren’t quite understanding some content, you can always pop by for a quick chat to resolve the issue… and if the person with said information/knowledge is ignoring your emails, you have the option to hover by their desk like a fly until they give you what you need.
  • Cons: Sometimes as you sit at your desk, working through the same steps each day you lose perspective on the work you are doing. All of a sudden you find yourself in tunnel vision of the corporate world in which you exist and because of this it is easy to lose site of a new point of view that may lead to the award winning campaign you have been searching for. You are also constantly immersed in the politics of work. And on the media side, you don’t have the level of engagement with the press that gets you as many opportunities.


  • Pros (and maybe the most important of all): Given the nature of the work, you have the benefit of learning from a variety of clients, with ranging issues to be solved and new projects every day. Because of this, losing perspective and a creative point of view is rarely a blocker. The foundation of an agency relies on so many moving pieces and a wide breadth of activity that you are constantly able to develop new and innovative solutions. And just like that, delivering the award winning campaign doesn’t seem so far away when you are working in an environment that thrives on creativity. You’re also connected with the media in a way that gives you a much better chance of positioning your clients in the stories that matter.
  • Cons: Unlike the above, it is not so easy to track down the person with the missing link. As tempting as it may be to storm into a client’s office for that last bit of approval, often times you must exercise a degree of patience and trust in them that the information will be provided in due course.

These are my findings so far (that are no way based on scientific evidence) and I am sure the list will continue to grow.

Have I found it challenging keeping up with multiple avenues of clients? Sure. Is it rewarding and beneficial. Absolutely. So, I can’t go and dementor my neighbor for his legal approval on my website copy. But what I can do is leverage the work and creative minds of my new colleagues to drive forward exciting marketing concepts like I have not been able to do quite so seamlessly in the past.

Maybe I will change my mind on all of this in a month or two, but here is to the adventures of finding out!

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