This question probably weighs on the mind of every business owner exploring the realms of digital marketing. Well, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to digital marketing strategies, as the right choice largely depends on the nature and scope of your business operations. While in-house marketing may work best for some businesses, others may be better off outsourcing the job to experts, and some may settle on a mix of both worlds. Let’s examine the following factors to help you ascertain what works best for you and your company:

Expertise:

Digital marketing is a vast term comprising technical elements such as SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click), email marketing, content marketing, web design, social media marketing and reputation marketing. Whether you possess the essential expertise to execute these elements effectively is the first crucial question to address while making a choice. If you or your employees understand the finer nuances of digital marketing, in-house may be an appropriate choice.

Budget:

How much money can you set aside each month for your digital marketing initiative? If you are looking at anything between $200-500, outsourcing may not be a viable option. Firms offering well-rounded digital marketing services cost a lot more. You are looking at anything upward of $1,000 for outsourced digital marketing services that deliver the desired results. If you have the money, and lack the in-house expertise, outsourcing is the safest bet. For someone walking a tight rope, both in terms of expertise and budget, hiring a professional to render services on a per project basis may be the answer.

Nature of Business:

How important is online viability to your business? Does the survival of your business depend entirely on the internet or is it one of things you are doing to go the extra mile to promote your business? If your answer is the former, SEO and digital marketing are not a matter of choice but essential for survival, and therefore, you must go all out in hiring the services of seasoned professionals for your digital marketing strategy. Outsourcing would be a sound professional choice here. On the contrary, a local business looking to expand base through the virtual medium can afford to take things slow and work with in-house services.

Availability:

While outsourcing your digital marketing strategy, you need to bear in mind that for the company offering their services you are just one of the many clients. They will not be as passionate about your business as you are, and also may not be readily available to discuss alterations and modifications as you go along the way. If you are looking for a more personalized approach, stick to in-house marketing.

Resources and know-how

An existing employee doubling as a digital marketing manager, or even hiring an expert to deliver on all facets of the online marketing process, can never match the resources and technical know-how available with specialized firms. They have resources, manpower and the competence to not only launch a successful online marketing campaign but to also sustain it in the long run, while an in-house campaign may eventually fizzle out.

It is only wise to weigh all your options before taking the plunge.

SixPL recommendation

(Disclosure: SixPL owns this blog and is a digital marketing agency. Please make your independent decisions after doing extensive research):

To start with you should hire services of specialized digital marketing agency for at least 3-6 months. During this period you will have a fair idea of what digital marketing can do for your business and what kind of talent required to achieve the desired results. You can also do a cost benefit analysis and make an informed decision.

Some of the independent and credible sources on this topic are as follows:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2013/08/16/online-marketing-when-to-outsource-when-to-do-it-in-house/2/

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/236112/programmatic-in-house-brands-vs-out-of-house-a.html

http://www.business2community.com/branding/are-in-house-agencies-emerging-from-the-out-house-074159