It’s the end of the year and you’re planning for 2019. You’ve had a great year and you’re growing, increasing your marketing spend and your MD is putting pressure on you to hit ambitious growth targets. We’ve all been there. So maybe you’re thinking it’s time to hire someone to run all your PPC campaigns in-house, cutting that expense off your marketing budget. Surely it’s better to have someone in-house, who is yours to call on 24/7 (within reason)?
It’s a difficult decision which I will look to answer in a totally not biased way (well I’ll try)…
Of course, the argument of an in-house team member makes sense. You would have an individual who will be working with you continuously. As well as being available to look after your campaigns constantly, they will be able to get fully involved in your business and immerse themselves completely in your business. The more and more they learn, the better they will be able to manage your PPC campaigns. And they become an asset that you invest in and increase in value. As your company grows, so do they, eventually building you your own team.
There are however flaws in the above thinking, which are an agency’s natural strengths. The first is the adage that two heads are better than one. A single individual won’t have anyone to work with and collaborate. A good agency is greater than the sum of it’s parts and that collaboration can lead to some of the best ideas. Additionally, what if your PPC staff member is sick? Or away on holiday? Without them around, who is going to look after your campaigns?
The strengths of having the individual in house however are weaknesses to agencies. They can’t dedicate the same amount of time to your company as they have an entire portfolio of clients to cater for. A good agency will make every effort to learn and over the years I’ve learnt a lot about different products and services that I never thought I’d know anything about. However, it’s not as much as if I’d spent my entire time on a single product or service. And while a good agency relationship is a sound investment, it’s not going to be the same as building your own team.
In practice, it's not an easy question to answer. However, in my experience the solution should be simple. Get both.
If you can afford to hire an individual to head up your PPC, compliment them with a strong agency to work with them. In this way you will get the benefit of both worlds. Over time you can build your PPC team up (should your budget allow it) and then you may not need the agency. Getting a team of specialists on your campaign in addition to your own lead PPC manager will help, through a combination of dedicated time and collaboration, your account to grow.
What about if you can’t afford both? Well, if it’s a choice between one or the other, honestly a good agency is better. I’m not just saying that (even though I’m working for an agency). It just makes more sense, they will cover your account whatever the weather and will help you to grow to the stage where you can hire your own individual.