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Agency vs in-house: which will take your B2B manufacturing business further?

The manufacturing world has moved incredibly quickly over the past decade, especially with the innovation and advancement that the manufacturing industry has seen. So, to keep up with this, businesses are having to find different ways to adapt - and quickly too. 

Whether that’s marketing, technology or innovation efforts - brands are preparing for the future and they’re looking for ways to leverage their business, reach new audiences and maximise their ROI. 

No two businesses are the same, so there’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to growing your business. However, with some additional help and support, you’ll be well on your way to succeeding. Whether that’s utilising expertise in-house or hiring an external agency. This post will compare in-house vs agency expertise and will help you decide which is the right one for your business. 

We’ll cover:

The advantages and disadvantages of hiring an agency

Depending on the size of your business, the goals you’re trying to achieve and the industry you’re operating in will all determine whether you choose to hire an agency or decide to utilise the members of your existing team and manage everything in-house. 

Agencies certainly have their place in businesses and in-house teams are sometimes equipped with everything they need to help a business succeed. However, there are different factors that should be considered for both and will decide which choice is more suitable for your business.



Unrivalled creativity

Creativity is one of the BIGGEST benefits of working with an agency. A lot of agencies have a creative director with a wealth of experience. And alongside them, they have a team of professional content marketers, designers and other specialists all waiting to show off their creative flair. 

The specialists within these roles have an outside view of your business, they can apply their expertise and experience in a unique way and they can bring unrivalled creativity. The combination of experience and creativity will allow them to lend their previous learnings to your business case. 

Creativity encourages engagement and can draw an audience's attention. Whether that's through thought-led marketing or web design and beyond. Creativity is essential for nurturing customers down the buyer's journey towards purchasing and a creative agency can help you do just that. 


They're experts in their field

Agencies are made up of different departments that are solely dedicated to their areas of expertise. Leading different departments, you’ll find managers and senior employees who have various years of experience and a great amount of knowledge. Whether you need blogs, video marketing, a heavy social media presence or a new website designing, an agency will be able to help you and bring expertise along the way.

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This is very important for your business. An omnichannel approach allows you to cast a wider net and reach a broader audience. Having a combination of experts working together will create the greatest results and outcomes. This holistic approach will allow you to create a strong brand image too.  

External agencies are never limited with their expertise either. Whether they're operating in marketing or design, each individual in an agency will take responsibility to learn new trends, research new software and consistently develop their knowledge of the role. After all, they will be living and breathing their specialism so they need to be ahead of their game to apply the best strategies possible.

Agencies can bring help and expertise in a variety of different areas. Even areas you didn't think you needed assistance with and they can help you improve all areas of your business. What a bonus!


Fresh campaign ideas

When you’ve been working on your own campaigns for a long time, businesses can start to see an overlap in ideas. Businesses have their own style and language preferences, which is great for consistency, but it runs the risk of producing very similar campaigns to what they’ve already produced before. 

Marketing agencies can bring fresh ideas to the table. And not only from their thoughts either. Their strategists will put the hours in doing the work that's needed. This might include keyword research, brand persona creation, strategy overviews and more. It's without a doubt that the work will be done to create the greatest outcomes. This can be time-consuming but with the help of an agency, they can get to work on everything whilst you prioritise what’s important to you.

Agencies often hold brainstorming sessions where a group of marketers throw ideas around. Some of the ideas that come out of these sessions simply wouldn’t be achievable from just one person or a very small group sitting behind a computer. In-house marketers can be biased or blindsided by the brand - outsourcing brings a new perspective and they can pick up on things in-house teams may overlook.


More time for high priority tasks

When you hire an agency, you can sit back and let them take care of your efforts. This frees up some time for your business and you can then reinvest it into the areas of your business that require attention the most.

Hiring an agency full of experts means you don't need to recruit new people or train your existing team members - both of which are time-consuming and can be costly. Instead, if there's a deadline that needs meeting or you want to launch an exciting campaign but don't have the team capacity to fulfil it, you can hire an external team to do it for you. 

Agencies will also ensure that the work completed is done to a high standard. They'll plan, prepare, execute and report back. All of which will be in-depth and promptly to ensure you're on the same page and achieving brilliant outcomes. Whereas if you were to do this in-house, other tasks may be compromised and the outcome may not be as accurate without previous experience in these areas.




The costs of hiring a marketing agency are usually a deal-breaker for businesses. After all, marketing agencies are businesses too and have their own costs that they need to worry about. 

However, if you've selected a great agency, they'll always be transparent with their pricing, their strategies and their goals from the start. Some agencies usually operate using a retainer - so there's a payment plan ongoing that can cover specific areas but can be altered at any time. This makes the service affordable and customisable depending on your needs and goals. 

Some agencies will also put together a proposal before any payment is made. This allows you to see an example of their vision and the work they could achieve for you before going ahead and agreeing on any partnership.



Although agencies get business from a variety of industries, there is a chance that an agency may not be as clued up as you are within your industry. They may specialise in a specific area and they may need additional time to understand the technicalities of your industry and where you operate.

However, looking at an agency's past work or case studies will give you a good insight into what work they've previously achieved and the clients they've partnered with. Don't be put off if they haven't operated in your industry before, discuss your concerns and agencies will be as accommodating as possible to achieve a great outcome and working relationship.



An agency works with multiple clients from different sectors. This means that your business won't be their sole focus day in and day out. However, this isn't a bad thing. Agencies are good at juggling different clients and they're always focused on delighting their clients too.

Most agencies are experienced, they can solve problems and they're equipped with the appropriate strategies to achieve results regardless of the situation.

Good agencies set realistic deadlines and manage their priorities. No client should feel less important than any other and that’s something we put into practice at Red-Fern. We’re transparent with our clients in whatever they ask and successfully manage various accounts simultaneously. 


The advantages and disadvantages of keeping your efforts in-house


Brand knowledge

Who knows your business better than yourself and its employees? Nobody. That means you can be confident that everything created will be 100 percent factually correct. Although your team knows your brand inside out, do they know the industry that you work in as well? Plus, do they have the marketing knowledge so they can effectively reach out to your audience? Well, that's where an agency could assist.

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However, the knowledge of your brand is a big draw to keeping it in-house as you’ll be able to get your efforts up and running with minimal fuss. Whereas, an agency would have to go through a discovery phase and research period to meet deadlines and generate specific ideas.

Your loyal workforce may have had to undergo training and regularly stay up to date with industry insiders - this shows that keeping things in-house will ensure your work is consistent and led by the knowledge of your business. 



The accessibility for an agency is difficult. Agencies can be located across the globe and they usually working with you on a remote basis. Whereas an in-house team is based within your offices or business headquarters. 

This makes an in-house team a lot more accessible than external agencies. Although agencies are only a phone call or email away, nothing beats a face to face conversation. With agencies, more planning is required rather than turning around to your fellow teammate and discussing ideas.

However, if you're collaborating with an agency that takes pride in their partnerships, you'll always be able to rely on them and nothing will ever be too much for their team. At Red-Fern we honour our partnerships, we appreciate them and we're always focused on delivering great results as well as nurturing a digital partnership for the long term.


One company focus

Although in-house teams might have a multi-disciplined approach their focus will only be on the one business they work for. Whereas an agency has to spread its expertise across a wide range of clients. An agency's focus won't always be on your work and they'll prioritise their time accordingly. 

Whereas keeping the help in-house will keep the primary focus the same, all of the team will be working towards the same goals and the flexibility to achieve the work without scheduling is another bonus. Your team will be brought together with a collective goal and everyone will be on the same page.



Longer turnaround times

Delays are to be expected with in-house teams; this is because in-house marketing teams aren't solely focused on individual areas of expertise, whereas agencies have the advantage of focusing on one campaign or task at a time.

This isn't the greatest idea if you're wanting to leverage your marketing, position your brand as a thought leader and have a process that's efficient, smooth and productive. If your in-house team is spread thinly across all areas of the business, the standard of the work produced won't always be to a high standard so the quality could be compromised. 


Less experience

As we mentioned earlier, your team may know your business better than anybody else, but do they know the right channels to capture your audience and are they specialists in marketing, web design and technology? You could have the best brand in the world, yet if your strategy is all wrong, it’s useless. You need to know how to sell your business to your audience, that’s what will drive the buy-in. 

Agencies are experts at storytelling to any audience, from any industry. Your website and marketing efforts need to be as engaging as possible, otherwise, you’ll get no traffic and won’t be reaching the potential that you believe you’re capable of.

Agencies have incredible experience and they know what works. This is essential for brand and campaign success. Winging it won't work and will waste valuable time, resources and money. 


Costly and time-consuming

If you're not wanting to hire an agency but you want to train your existing team and invest in the resources and programs needed then that's great but it can be a costly and time-consuming choice.

An agency is already equipped with all the resources and programs you need and their team are already specialist experts. Having an agency is time-saving, efficient and can help you save money long term.

It's best to see the options you have available, the time you have spare and your available budget. With thorough research, you'll be able to make the right choice.


Multi-disciplined team

Agencies are usually made up of one person per specialist role. Whereas, in-house teams are made up of individuals who have multi-disciplines. This can limit capabilities, which means that the same person will be working on various bits of a campaign from content creation to paid advertisements.

Having a team of multi-disciplined individuals can limit work as other areas will be prioritised and some points may be overlooked because of the lack of focus and prioritisation. 

However, if specific experts are working on a campaign at once, all efforts will be in the same direction, messaging will stay consistent and won’t conflict with any other channel. This is a common mistake when various people are working on the account with a multidisciplinary approach.


Our verdict

It’s clear there are advantages and disadvantages with both. However, we do believe that using a hybrid of the two methods is the best way to go about your marketing campaigns, your web design and your innovative technology to take your B2B business to the next level.

Your in-house team has an unrivalled knowledge of your brand, which is invaluable when paired with the expertise and efficiency of an agency. The two different methods dovetail perfectly and can help your business reach the heights that you’ve forecasted, but never actually been able to achieve. 

By using a hybrid of methods, you’re involving more people within your business and expanding your incredible team. The ideal situation is working with an agency with lots of different capabilities but also having one in-house person who can be the main point of contact for the agency and knows the business like the back of their hand. This will help the partnership run smoothly, everyone will be on the same page and incredible results will be achieved in the most timely manner.


When looking for an agency, look no further than Red-Fern

So, after seeing the above verdict it’s normal to be left wondering what your next move is. Working in partnership with a marketing agency has many benefits to your business. From saving you time and money to creating strategic campaigns that are tailored specifically to your main target audience, we’ve got everything covered. 

Our team of dedicated professionals are experts in their subject fields. To find out how they can help you further, set up a discovery call and we’ll be glad to chat about how we can drive your business forward. Together we can achieve the results that you’ve always dreamed of. 


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