It appears lately the old debate is raging again as it has over the many decades. The debate has increased especially considering the “new” digital marketing rage that is not going away. Indeed, it is a worthy discussion and a big one at that.
Obviously as the CEO of an advertising agency I certainly have a bit of a bias. However, I have worked “in-house” within two dealerships while in the employ as a general manager and general sales manager. In addition, we have hired agencies throughout my career as well, so my insight into this raging debate is fully enlightened after having sat on both sides of the desk.
With a liberal arts education in a Benedictine monastery with a strong background in philosophy I am well suited for both sides of an argument for the sake of seeking truth. With this in mind, my best attempt will be put forth at approaching both sides of the argument with a clear mind and heart.
1. Unavoidable Inescapability
Some of the very best digital (online) marketing individuals are creative, no doubt. However, that same gift of creativity also makes them keen to likely major moments of boredom. It is quite understandable when you consider their staring at the same set of keywords day in and day out. Especially when their client or boss is expecting them to make them as interesting as possible. I mean can you imagine?
I am of the opinion this is the major reason why a lot of millennials with entry-level to junior-level experience continually change employment every two to three years. Actually, I pulled a few resumes, make that a year if lucky. I think the changing of jobs keeps them important when they arrive on the scene and it helps keep them interested in their own work.
This reality effects agencies and in-house departments, no doubt. At a competent agency, there is typically several good people involved on your single account. Nonetheless, your digital marketing will not suffer while waiting for the new face to get caught up and trained on your business.
Ad Agency vs. In-House
If your dealership does not have to stress about employee turnover, then hiring your own marketing person can possibly work out great. This is more understandable at gigantic corporations that offers tons of challenges and opportunities to network with their own type (digital marketing gurus, whatever that is).
However, with much experience I know that employee turnover is absolutely common for most smaller businesses and dealerships. Especially when the dealer principle looks at wages and asks why the digital marketing “guy or gal” is off on Saturday. Good luck sustaining that model with a marketing person. You think they won’t be floating their resume with the experience you provided them? We receive resumes from your employees every single day.
In my biased opinion, going “in-house” is the equivalent of putting all eggs in one basket. If you have a big enough marketing team to sustain employee turnover with no big deal, go for it. However, in a business where one bad week destroys a month, be careful. Hero to zero resets itself every single month.