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Updated May 24, 2024

4 Tips to Build a Strong In-House Marketing Team

Make smart decisions about who you hire and how you utilize them.

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Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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When you start a new business, you may consider hiring an outside company to create and execute a marketing plan, allowing you to concentrate on running the organization. While traditional and digital marketing agencies can be excellent brand-building partners, an in-house marketing team brings immediate and long-term benefits — if you can afford one. 

Marketing is crucial to business success, so take care when building an effective in-house marketing team. We’ll share four tips for making smart decisions about who you hire and how best to use their talents and highlight the technology your in-house marketing team will need.

What is in-house marketing?

In-house marketing refers to a business’s internal marketing department. A company with in-house marketing doesn’t solely rely on external marketing agencies. Instead, it taps full-time employees to handle and direct the bulk of its marketing efforts. An in-house marketing team can consist of one employee who handles marketing responsibilities or an entire department devoted to the task.

Some in-house marketing teams handle 100 percent of a business’s marketing needs while others collaborate with outside agencies on specific tasks like search engine optimization (SEO). Other businesses outsource all marketing efforts to an outside marketing firm and don’t have an in-house marketing team.

Tips for building a strong in-house marketing team

Like building a sales team and amassing a strong accounting and finance team, creating a high-performing in-house marketing team can help steer your business toward growth and success. Consider the following four tips when building your in-house marketing team. 

1. Balance your marketing team’s workload with agency responsibilities.

Once in place, an in-house marketing team is well-equipped to present your business’s best elements to customers and stakeholders. After all, no one knows a company quite like its employees. 

However, some business owners create an in-house team and immediately fire all the agencies they’ve been working with. This decision creates massive problems because the new in-house team likely can’t handle the workload immediately and marketing quality will suffer. 

Instead, strive to merge your new in-house team with your agencies. To get started, ask the following questions: 

  • In what areas will your in-house marketing team thrive?
  • What can an outside agency do to make in-house team members’ jobs easier?
  • What skills or tasks should you outsource or continue outsourcing? 

Consider the following best practices for balancing your in-house marketing team’s workload with agency resources: 

  • Assign marketing responsibilities: Decide what the agency will handle and what your in-house team will handle.
  • Determine how marketing decisions will be made: You’ll create the ideal scenario for your business. For example, you may decide that the agency is in charge of specific areas. They’ll seek decision approvals from the executive team and communicate with the marketing team. You may prefer that the agency reports directly to the marketing team, placing your in-house marketing team in charge of all final approvals.
  • Assign a point of contact for agency communications: Designate a marketing team member to interface with the agency and get up to speed on previous campaigns, results and planned campaigns. If you plan to transition to an in-house team only, team members must understand their additional responsibilities after the agency is phased out.
Did You Know?Did you know
In-house marketing duties typically include social media content and other content creation, social media marketing, media buying and design.

2. Hire the right people for your in-house marketing team.

Recruiting new employees with the right skill sets is crucial. Your in-house marketing team members must have marketing skills and experience, but what else should you look for? Consider the following:

  • An understanding of revenue growth: During the hiring process, ask potential marketing team members if they’re revenue-driven. If they say they are, ask them to give you an example. Your potential hire should be able to explain how revenue growth works and how to track growth over time. 
  • An understanding of target markets: Ask potential hires if they understand how to target personalized markets. Being able to pinpoint your brand’s target market — the specific group of people your business caters to — is crucial. When they understand your target market, marketing team members can create content and messages that speak specifically to your customers. 
  • Experience in various markets and channels: Potential hires should have experience working in various markets and platforms. Ask them if they have experience with social media ads, email marketing and text message marketing.
  • Experience with marketing specialties: Your marketing team should include members with specialties, including people who understand how to research and implement SEO keywords. However, your team as a whole should understand how each marketing piece fits into the bigger picture. For example, social media marketers should understand how SEO improves ranking, views and revenue. Digital marketing experts should also be familiar with traditional marketing strategies.
TipBottom line
It's wise to keep your in-house marketing team exclusive. Don't have them work in other facets of your business. Their focus should be on measuring and improving your marketing return on investment (ROI).

3. Ensure adequate training time for your in-house marketing team.

Training an in-house marketing team is challenging and can take months or longer. It’s crucial to devote the necessary time and money to train your team properly.

When training your team, provide a complete rundown of your expectations, every aspect of the business and your current and desired key performance indicators. Your new team should leave training with a comprehensive understanding of the job at hand. 

Consider enrolling your new hires in free marketing courses or marketing certification programs to help them improve their skills or learn new tricks to add to their already varied skill set. 

4. Create specialized groups in your in-house marketing team.

Depending on the size of your in-house marketing team, consider breaking it down into smaller groups. Smaller groups tend to work better because they focus on one marketing aspect instead of the big picture.

Here are some possible group specializations: 

  • Content marketing: A content marketing team will create blog content and handle website design and content. They should know about SEO keywords, the target audience and how much content to deliver consistently.
  • Social media marketing: Your social media marketing team will post and share content, engage with your audience, create social campaigns and work on building a bigger following.
  • Traditional marketing: Your traditional marketing team can deal with physical ads and offline marketing.

You can always swap team members between groups to enhance productivity. However, creating specialized marketing groups is an excellent choice for those who want complete control over their marketing strategy.

TipBottom line
Consider conducting a thorough marketing analysis to better understand your customers, strategies and how to spend your marketing budget.

Benefits of using an in-house marketing team

Is having an in-house marketing team the right decision for your business? Consider the following benefits: 

  • An in-house marketing team brings transparency and control: With an in-house team, you’ll know the thought process that goes into every recommendation and decision. You’ll never have to worry that a decision is based on what is most profitable for an agency instead of what yields the best results for your business. Your in-house team is dedicated to your brand without any conflicts of interest.
  • An in-house marketing team lowers costs: While you may be hesitant to invest in new salaries and employee benefits, an in-house team can save you money in the long run. Of surveyed companies that switched to an in-house team, 38 percent say that cost saving was a key benefit, according to Banner Flow. Consider that agencies must pay employees and seek a profit. Today’s technology can handle many of an agency’s duties. For example, you can purchase marketing software to help your team analyze data and campaign results affordably without relying on an agency. 
  • An in-house marketing team allows for more creativity: When you work with an agency, you’ll spend significant time explaining your brand, desires and culture. An in-house team already has the inside track on this information and can spend more time developing creative marketing ideas.
  • An in-house marketing team offers more agility: Sometimes, the market changes, and being able to adjust quickly makes all the difference. In-house teams can pivot quickly since there’s no need to wait for a scheduled meeting or compete for attention with the agency’s other clients. Additionally, in-house teams have instant access to company data and can spot and react to problems and opportunities immediately.
TipBottom line
Consider having team bonding events for your in-house marketing team to help create a happy and productive work culture. When your marketing people are comfortable with each other, they can be more creative as a team.

Disadvantages of using an in-house marketing team

In-house marketing teams aren’t a good fit for every business. Here are a few disadvantages of using an in-house marketing team:

  • An in-house marketing team may lack specialized knowledge: When hiring for your in-house team, you’ll likely seek the widest breadth of experience to ensure the department can handle most marketing tasks. However, your team members may lack deep and specific knowledge that could benefit your business.
  • You may not be able to afford a highly skilled in-house marketing team: Budget constraints may prevent you from hiring the brightest stars in the marketing universe for your company. Typically, these individuals work for advertising and marketing agencies.
  • Your in-house marketing team may get into a rut: An in-house marketing team may fall into the trap of running the same campaigns year after year. An outside agency is always competing to get and keep clients and tends to be more creative.
  • Changing an in-house marketing team takes time: Say you’re unhappy with your in-house team and its efforts continually fall short. In this case, you must let some team members go and then recruit, hire and train new professionals — a lengthy and costly process. In contrast, you can easily change marketing agencies or ask for new account representatives if you’re unhappy. 

When to use an in-house marketing team vs. hiring a marketing agency

Whether it’s best to assemble an in-house team or hire an agency depends on several factors. Here’s how to decide what’s right for your business:

You should use an in-house marketing team when …

  • An in-house team member is a marketing star: Your current employee roster may include an outstanding marketing professional. In this case, it makes sense to play to that strength and build a team around this person.
  • Branding is a key differentiator for your business: Unique and specialized branding sets some companies apart from the competition. If this sounds like your business, keep your competitive edge by conducting all marketing and branding efforts in-house. You’ll maintain consistency and continue building on your established brand story.
  • Your marketing tasks are more time-intensive than strategic: If your marketing strategy relies heavily on time-consuming tasks like frequent social media posts and interactions, an entry-level marketing person will be more cost-effective than an agency.
  • You want confidentiality and control: An in-house marketing team keeps strategies confidential and focused — other companies are less likely to access or copy them. You can direct an in-house marketing team to execute your plan exactly as you envision it, without any misunderstandings or new interpretations. 
FYIDid you know
Hiring a marketing expert to anchor your in-house marketing team can ultimately save your business money and improve the ROI of your digital and traditional marketing efforts.

You should hire a marketing agency when …

  • The sales team drives most of your revenue: Businesses with an outside sales force need marketing materials, a website and a corporate identity. However, their revenue is primarily driven by one-on-one relationships. Marketing isn’t a significant part of the business’s sales and marketing spend, so hiring an outside agency will be more cost-efficient.
  • Your marketing needs require specialized expertise: A marketing firm can help you with technical needs, including complex website programming and technical SEO projects.
  • You have a thorny marketing problem: Say a new competitor is offering your products at a lower price. In this case, you must quickly craft a new unique selling proposition so you don’t lose market share. A marketing agency can tap into its vast experience to address your problem and launch creative and effective solutions.
  • You must get up and running with no learning curve: When speed to market is a factor, you need experts who can create fast results. Agencies are already highly trained and experienced in various marketing vehicles, allowing you to generate brand awareness and leads quickly.
TipBottom line
Create a hybrid model in which you use an outside agency for specific tasks and have them liaise with your in-house team to ensure all branding and messaging are on point.

Software your in-house marketing team will need

Your in-house marketing team will need robust tech tools to be effective, including customer relationship management (CRM) software, email marketing platforms and text message marketing solutions. 

CRM software

Your in-house marketing team will need a robust CRM tool. CRM software benefits businesses by centralizing customer data, allowing you to understand all prospects’ and leads’ stages of the customer journey and access customers’ purchase history, contact information, product preferences and browsing information.

Some of the best CRM software for in-house marketing teams includes the following:

  • monday Sales CRM: monday.com has a user-friendly interface and boasts effective tools for contact management, lead generation, sales pipeline management and omnichannel communications. Our monday.com Sales CRM review explains how in-house marketing teams can use this platform to collaborate and strategize.
  • HubSpot CRM: HubSpot CRM helps small in-house marketing teams make a big impact. It monitors and records customer interactions on various platforms, including phone, email, WhatsApp, company websites and social media platforms to create comprehensive customer records. Our HubSpot CRM review explains how this platform helps sales managers record customer calls and analyze them to identify pain points and present better solutions. 

Email marketing platforms

Email marketing is an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with prospects and customers. In-house marketing teams can use email marketing software to design and send professional-looking email marketing campaigns and email newsletters

Here are two of the best email marketing software solutions for in-house marketing teams: 

  • Constant Contact: Constant Contact provides an easy-to-use interface and a variety of features for a low monthly cost. The platform allows you to conduct A/B testing, set autoresponders when specific behavior triggers occur and segment your list using separate subscriber lists and tags. Our Constant Contact review highlights the platform’s excellent reporting and analytics functions, allowing you to pinpoint and correct problems for the next campaign.
  • Benchmark: Benchmark helps in-house marketing teams boost productivity and effectiveness with email automation campaigns that nurture leads based on time or behavioral triggers. Check out our Benchmark review to see if this platform is right for you.

Text message marketing

Text message marketing is a highly effective way to reach customers and prospects directly. Like email marketing software, text message marketing software helps your team send mass messages to your subscribers. 

Here are two of the best text message marketing services for in-house marketing teams:

  • EZ Texting: EZ Texting has an intuitive interface that will help your team get up and running quickly. Marketers can segment lists and assign different keywords to various contacts to ensure everyone receives relevant, targeted messages. Our EZ Texting review explains how the platform handles drip campaigns for new subscribers to increase engagement.
  • SimpleTexting: SimpleTexting isn’t cheap. However, this feature-rich platform will be well worth the price for in-house teams that rely heavily on text message marketing. It allows two-way subscriber interactions and can integrate your inbox history into your CRM. You can add custom fields to collect valuable data from subscribers and include photos and videos in your communications. Get pricing and more features in our SimpleTexting review.

An in-house team provides quick, responsive control

Building an in-house marketing team comes with its own set of challenges and will take time. Still, it’s an excellent choice for business owners who want quick, responsive control over their marketing plan. While you’ll likely spend time working out the kinks, when everything flows smoothly, you’ll see why many brands are switching from fully outsourced marketing with ad agencies and not looking back.

author image
Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
Jennifer Dublino is an experienced entrepreneur and astute marketing strategist. With over three decades of industry experience, she has been a guiding force for many businesses, offering invaluable expertise in market research, strategic planning, budget allocation, lead generation and beyond. Earlier in her career, Dublino established, nurtured and successfully sold her own marketing firm. Dublino, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in marketing and finance, also served as the chief operating officer of the Scent Marketing Institute, showcasing her ability to navigate diverse sectors within the marketing landscape. Over the years, Dublino has amassed a comprehensive understanding of business operations across a wide array of areas, ranging from credit card processing to compensation management. Her insights and expertise have earned her recognition, with her contributions quoted in reputable publications such as Reuters, Adweek, AdAge and others.
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