Marketing for Manufacturers: Do You Need a Marketing Agency?

Management, Marketing - All industries

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Marketing plays a crucial role in the success of any business, including small- to medium-sized manufacturing companies—especially if you want to grow your business.

Marketing allows you to raise awareness about your products or services, reach a wider audience, establish a strong brand presence and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Effective marketing strategies help attract and retain customers, generate leads and drive sales. Marketing also makes it easier to adapt to changing customer demands, industry trends and market conditions, ensuring long-term sustainability.

Over the last few months, we have looked at different ways small- to medium-sized manufacturing businesses can incorporate effective marketing strategies into their operations. Everything from how to use pay-per-click advertising to social media, ways to improve your website, how to run effective email campaigns and how to use YouTube to promote your business. But when it comes to implementing marketing strategies, you face a choice: hiring a marketing agency or establishing an in-house team responsible for marketing your business.

Both of these approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Marketing agencies have a high level of expertise and can be a good cost-effective way to boost your marketing efforts. But, marketing agencies often lack the insider knowledge of your industry and business that an in-house marketing team would have. Below we will explore the pros and cons of each strategy to help you determine what is best for your business.

Pros of Hiring a Marketing Agency

1. Expertise and experience.

Marketing agencies bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. They know how to execute effective marketing strategies, from digital marketing to content creation to advertising, which can help you grow your business. By hiring an agency, you gain access to a team of professionals who are up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in marketing.

2. Time and cost efficiency.

Outsourcing marketing to an agency saves small- to medium-sized manufacturing businesses time and resources. Instead of spending time on recruiting, training and managing an in-house team, you can rely on the agency’s expertise. It also eliminates the need for investing in marketing tools and software.

3. Scalability and flexibility.

Marketing agencies offer scalability, allowing you to adjust your marketing efforts based on your business’s needs. As your manufacturing business grows, an agency can adapt their strategies to accommodate your evolving requirements. Agencies can also quickly ramp up marketing campaigns during peak seasons or product launches, providing flexibility and agility.

Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency

1. Lack of industry-specific knowledge.

Marketing agencies may lack in-depth knowledge of not only the manufacturing industry as a whole but your specific niche within it, which could set your marketing efforts back. Agencies may sometimes miss the mark and will require additional time and effort from you to educate them about your business, target audience and unique selling propositions.

2. Cost considerations.

While outsourcing to a marketing agency can save on costs compared to building an in-house team, it still requires you to spend money. Determining an appropriate budget for marketing services and assessing the impact of those dollars can be a challenge for small- to medium-sized manufacturing businesses.

3. Communication and control.

When working with an external agency, there can be challenges in maintaining effective communication and ensuring alignment with your business goals and values. Clear communication and regular updates are crucial to ensure the agency understands your brand and delivers the desired results.

Pros of In-House Marketing

1. Manufacturing and company knowledge.

An in-house marketing team has direct knowledge of your manufacturing business, industry dynamics and target audience. They can better understand and align marketing strategies with your business and company culture.

2. Control and flexibility.

Having an in-house person or team responsible for your marketing efforts allows for greater control over your marketing activities, including quick adjustments to campaigns, messaging and creative direction. It also allows for close collaboration with other departments, ensuring that your marketing efforts are in-line with sales and production objectives.

3. Long-term investment.

Building an in-house marketing team is a long-term investment that can enhance your manufacturing business’s marketing capabilities over time. With consistent training and development, your team can develop specialized skills and industry expertise that cater specifically to your business needs.

Cons of In-House Marketing

1. Lower level of marketing skills.

The reality of being a small business means that your in-house marketing team will be small—just one or two individuals who are responsible for all of your marketing efforts. As a small to mid-sized manufacturing business, you may struggle to find and hire professionals with diverse marketing skills, meaning your team may have limitations in terms of their expertise and skill sets, which could limit the range and effectiveness of marketing efforts.

2. Timely and expensive.

Establishing and managing an in-house marketing team requires significant time and resources. This includes hiring, training, providing benefits and investing in marketing tools and software, which can impact your budget and divert focus away from core business activities.

3. Keeping up with industry changes.

Marketing is an ever-evolving field, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, tools and strategies may be challenging for small in-house teams. Continuous training and professional development are essential to ensure your team remains competitive in the rapidly changing marketing landscape.

What is the right choice for you?

Choosing between hiring a marketing agency or using an in-house marketing team is a decision that depends on various factors, including your budget and goals. Small- to medium-sized manufacturing businesses should carefully weigh the pros and cons outlined above to determine the best approach for their marketing needs.

If you are looking to grow quickly and have no experience with marketing, partnering with a marketing agency and taking advantage of their expertise and efficiency may be the right choice for you. For other manufacturers, the control and long-term investment you get with building an in-house team may be the better choice. Ultimately, what you decide should align with your manufacturing business’s specific goals and requirements.


We hope you enjoyed our Marketing for Manufacturing series and were able to pick up some helpful tips and techniques that you can use to effectively market your manufacturing business and drive your business forward.

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