In-House vs Expert Consultants, Which is Better?

Can You Save Big and Get Better Results by Hiring Expert Consultants?

One of my major clients (a large corporation) told me upfront before they hired me, they were going to bring everything in-house in one year. They didn’t reveal their reasoning, yet this was their decision and I accepted it. I did as required and created and executed their SEO strategy which was an amazing success.


This was a big company though and they made typical big company decisions. Managers have to make decisions and sometimes they don’t have comparative data to help them make great decisions. If you’re doing freelance or are a consultant, you need to intercept that decision making process and ensure prospects get the real truth about your potential contribution. Don’t assume they know.

Managers are increasingly being held accountable for results and this may be the key factor as to why they bring it all in-house – to get better control.  But does control bring success or is it simply talent?

The Downward Spiral That Doesn’t Have to Be

The transition for bringing a number of young staff in for my client was slow however, because I was generating so much traffic and revenue for them, they felt that results would be at risk if they made the transition. After a few years, they discontinued working with me yet since their rankings were so strong/stable they were able to coast for years (millions of website visits). That’s the beauty of top notch SEO. It can last many years.

That hilights a key distinguishing characteristic of consultants — long term excellence. This is something in-house staffers couldn’t care less about.

Over time my former client’s rankings fell off the first page of rankings. Google’s ranking algorithm changed several times including their local business search results. After many excellent sales years, the company was okay financially yet the drop in traffic was disappointing and costly.

It’s All About Decisions – We Need to Help Clients Make Better Key Decisions

My takeaway from that experience is the need to demonstrate skill, thought leadership, and results, and as well, promote myself better.  Modesty doesn’t cut it – a consultant needs to market their marketing and ensure clients are constantly aware of the value.  Consultants are sometimes on the outside and unaware of internal politics and decision making.

Looking back on this situation and others, I found I was needed in a bigger way.  I needed to think well beyond my limited work scope to help clients make better business decisions.

Ascendant Consortium’s comparative study on Consultants vs In-house team. The consultants produced a better ROI.

The Money Picture favors the Consultant

If you hire 3 in-house marketers, you’re spending up to $150,000 per year which could fund a spectacular digital marketing effort, including Google Adwords advertising. Now, what if you paid $50,000 to your specialist and had the rest for Adwords, and content marketing? Of course, you may need more than one working consultant, however they can generate exceptional value as well.

I’ve worked within advertising and digital marketing agencies and I’ve experienced how much money and time are wasted with hours spent micromanaging activities that weren’t moving the revenue needle for the client. And when ill-advised emails are sent that turn off customers, it actually caused a long term loss for the company.

On the human side, who is easier to work with and motivate, a professional who has to dig for his next meal, or the office worker you’ve seen too many times? Office politics can shut down projects, drown enthusiasm, and turn work into drudgery. Working with a consultant means only meeting with them when necessary (which could still mean days in your office).  The relationship is kept fresh and you actually become good friends. And there’s no micromanagement.

How to Find A Good Consultant

The keys to finding a talented consultant:

  • those doing a lot of Tweeting and Blogging have the time and energy to devote to your project
  • consultants just launching their business have time and are motivated
  • check them and their clients online – how are their clientele doing?
  • skills and productivity – see if they have experience in your industry
  • talented performer – is not a one trick pony – look at all they offer and can do
  • shows thought leadership on their website – do they have content that shows how deeply they have thought and researched on key topics?
  • are they breakthrough thinkers generating disruptive strategies? See if they stay up with the times.
  • well connected via Linkedin and other social platforms – it’s all about networking today
  • progressive and willing to learn and grow – do you believe they like to learn and improve?
  • highly visible on Linkedin (e.g., digital marketing strategist ) shows they have confidence and the smarts to show up online

Here’s the Painful Downside of Bringing Digital Marketing In-house:

  1. In-house staff are too narrowly focused and miss customer’s big picture needs
  2. In-house staff  paychecks take needed funds away from Google Adwords
  3. In-house staff prevent more effective use of marketing automation (efficiency)
  4. in-house teams spend too much time on projects thus creating messaging and choosing channels and content – efficiency is important
  5. In-house staff send too many emails, tweet needlessly resulting in unsubscribes, spam blacklisting and annoying prospects and customers
  6. In-house staff aren’t experts in digital marketing, aware of market trends and thus have little capacity to change reader’s understanding and opinions
  7. In-house staff are not experts in Google’s algorithm nor crafty copywriters
  8. In-house staff have limited websites/business to work on – less aware of what’s happening in the overall market
  9. In-house staff are doing work that should be given to other specialists
  10. In house staff require big paychecks of $40k to $70k per year and these funds could instead be going into the company’s marketing campaigns
  11. In house staff encourages scope creep where they do things simply because they need to be busy
  12. plenty of workers means you’re vulnerable to miscommunication and collaboration issues

You’re facing a lot of competitive heat facing local, national and international threats amid changing technology and business trends.  Specialists can help you face those threats and adapt better long term. Specialists can better actively support you via a golf or tennis game, fishing trip, barbecues, meetings at restaurants, attending seminars together, and generally doing what’s necessary to help them build their own competencies and self-esteem. You’ll become friends and ones you can rely on where it counts.

Call 416 605 7026 to discuss how Bay Street SEO can help you do more with less.


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