Why B2B Companies Can’t Do Marketing In-House

This is not an April Fools’ joke: B2B marketing executed entirely in-house almost always goes wrong. Even if your in-house marketing team already has the proper mix of marketing specialists (artists) vs marketing generalists (managers), it’s still risky to execute marketing initiatives solely in-house. Here’s why:

Your clients don’t pay you to get emotional 

An agency’s clients explicitly pay them to be emotional. Why does this matter?
To be blunt: logical marketing doesn’t sell. This has been proven in study after study, including conclusive evidence from Les Binet and Peter Fields’ study of over 880 successful marketing campaigns from 1979 to 2006. Emotion-based campaigns out-performed logic-based campaigns in all dimensions, including the only area that matters: profit.
Let’s say you agree with Donald Caine: “Reason leads to conclusions, emotions lead to action.” Why not just hire an in-house team to create emotional marketing?

The top talent in any field goes where they can make the biggest impact, and media artists are no exception. Agencies specialize in groundbreaking emotional communication, and therefore the top media artist talent flocks towards agencies rather than in-house roles. You really don’t want to hire a team of artists, anyway; the ideal office cultures for the artist and the business person are nearly impossible to accommodate at once.

“The Elusive Obvious”

You’re immersed in every detail of your products, services and culture 24/7. As a result, you lose the ability see to the big picture like a beginner or outsider would. Great marketing hinges on finding “the elusive obvious,” commonly described as seeing the forest rather than the trees.

Sales and marketing professionals often go into “pitch mode,” demonstrating all of their technical and product knowledge. But if you stop to ask your clients what’s missing from a presentation they often ask for seemingly obvious information like “Why is this important?” and “How does this apply to me personally?” It takes an objective third-party to strip away all but the most important information in the eyes of a prospect.

You lack macro market perspective

You experience your industry from your company’s point-of-view– as you should! Agencies work with dozen of companies in your industry, and often in other industries. They hear dozens of different company pitches, and speak to companies at every link in your supply chain, giving them insight into how each player perceives all the others. Other industry veterans speak to agencies more candidly than they would to peers, since they’re not worried about offending someone in their industry, or trying to “put on a show” to impress them. If you’ve ever had an unsuccessful date, you know how rare direct, honest feedback can be. You also know “the best friend” will have a much easier time getting the real story since there’s less at stake when telling them the truth. The same applies to business– customers and industry partners are more likely to be candid with an objective third-party than they will be with you, so you need someone to help you understand the way they really feel about your brand.

An often overlooked fact: many of the best marketing ideas are borrowed from another industry and adapted to fit your situation. There are many great benefits to working with someone who specializes in someone else’s industry. 
To wrap it up, the key reasons you need outside help are simple: super-specialized skill sets, objectivity and a broad industry perspective. All of these are impossible to cultivate internally, no matter how talented of a business person you are.

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