Should you hire an in-house team or a digital marketing agency? I am going to answer this question in this article. I might be a little subjective here as I am trying to grow a small digital marketing agency in Dubai. However, I hope you will find the perspective shared here useful.

All right, keep reading.

Pros & cons of having an in-house digital marketing team

No doubt, having an in-house digital marketing team can have many advantages for a small & medium size business. For example, the business can have a complete control over the digital marketing process; communication & decision making are fast and flexible leading to better results. If the creative people learn how to work well as a team, then the output is going to be difficult to replicate by the competitors.

However, keeping an in-house team mostly works best for a large organization that can afford to pay the salaries. It is difficult for small businesses to hire & retained a team of experienced digital marketing specialists.

 A big company can hire, for example: an SEO Specialist, Content Specialist, PPC/Google Ads Specialist, Social Media/Community Manager, Videographer and Graphic Designer. The entire team is led by a digital marketing manager or director. However, most small businesses neither have the money nor the willpower to commit to having a full-fledged digital marketing team. From a personal observation, I can tell you that most businesses in Dubai cannot even afford to hire 3 professionals mentioned above.

Therefore, it is better for a small business to hire an agency or freelancers to take care of the digital marketing tasks. This way small businesses can get all the specialized services of digital marketing at a much lower cost while freeing itself to focus on the core process of their business.

How digital marketing agency service work best

Today, both the client (a business) and the agency have to work very closely to succeed. It is easier said than done. The agency’s team has to get really involved in the clients’ operations. They have to develop a winning relationship that should ideally result in growth for the business as well as the agency. It would not happen overnight and requires a lot of patience.

Most small businesses do not appreciate the challenges/cost involved in providing digital marketing services. They think everything is supposed to be cheap. They want the best services but don’t want to give the agency the right budget. In other words, the businesses can try to outsmart the agency to get the best deal at the expense of the agency’s interest.

On the other hand, every business has a different set of challenges that, sometimes, a digital marketing agency fails to appreciate. The team can get over-confident about their digital marketing skills/experience but the reality of Dubai market is that most agencies are not specialized. Often, there is very little assessment of the client business. The business development team can also add to the problem if they over-commit or over-promise services that often haunts the team later.

I think, to avoid unnecessary complications & issues, both business and the agency can start with an open mind and accept that both have limitations when starting a new business relationship. Both partners need to run the digital marketing process together for at least 2-4 weeks sharing knowledge, communicating their perspective, and clarifying expectations. In fact, they can write a formal contract only after the trial or test period.

The Unrealistic expectations of business owners in Dubai

The problem often arises when a small business develops unrealistic expectations and the agency fails to address the issue at the start of the project. In such a situation, the owner of the business can be a complete nuisance to deal with.

Like I mentioned earlier and it is my experience that small businesses mostly fail to appreciate the importance of digital marketing in Dubai. Some are just there to exploit and take a service for peanuts. It is their style & mindset.

When these businesses give you a call, they have a huge list of services but are not willing to provide the budget needed. In response, some agencies take over the project because they need the work, but then they start cutting corners almost everywhere, resulting in a bad experience for both.

Besides, a lot of businesses hire just one person who might be a skilled graphic designer or SEO expert but they expect him/her to do everything such as online advertising, manage the website, social media and content writing. Often, the pay is less than $1900.

 In the end, the results are not good making the owner sometimes even skeptical of digital marketing. Of course, the owners often would not see anything wrong with their approach or mindset here even if they are practically planning to fail in the first place.

In conclusion, hiring a digital marketing agency’s service is a good option for a small/medium size business provided that both are willing to develop a mutually beneficially partnership through sharing profit, knowledge and expertise.

One can hope that an agency would lead the process at the initial stage of a project, and the client would honestly participate in the process. It is no use to start mind games to outsmart each other, it is simply an unhealthy business practice.