Why Some Companies Benefit More from an Ad Agency than a Full-Time CMO


Companies have two primary options when handling marketing efforts: hiring a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or partnering with an advertising agency. While both approaches have their merits, there are situations where opting for an ad agency can provide unique advantages. Here’s why some companies find working with an ad agency better than having a CMO in-house.

Access to Diverse Expertise: Advertising agencies are home to a team of professionals with diverse skill sets and expertise. They typically consist of individuals specializing in various marketing aspects, such as creative design, copywriting, media planning, and digital strategy. By partnering with an agency, companies gain access to this broad range of expertise, benefiting from specialists who can offer fresh perspectives and implement effective strategies across multiple marketing channels. In contrast, having a CMO may limit the range of skills and attitudes available to a single individual and require them to hire an agency resulting in paying twice.

Cost-Effectiveness: Building an in-house marketing team, including hiring a CMO, can be a significant financial investment. Along with salaries and benefits, there are also costs associated with training, infrastructure, and ongoing professional development. On the other hand, partnering with an ad agency offers a more cost-effective solution. Agencies typically operate on a retainer or project basis, allowing companies to scale their marketing efforts based on their specific needs and budget. Outsourcing marketing activities to an agency will enable companies to access top-tier talent and resources without the hefty investment of maintaining an in-house team.

Flexibility and Scalability: Business needs fluctuate over time, and marketing requirements may change accordingly. Ad agencies offer the advantage of flexibility and scalability. They can quickly adapt to a company’s evolving needs, whether launching a new product, expanding into new markets, or adjusting campaigns based on market feedback. Agencies have the resources to handle fluctuating workloads and can allocate personnel and resources accordingly. In contrast, if a company solely relies on a CMO, it may face challenges when confronted with sudden changes or require additional support for specific projects or campaigns.

Industry Insights and Market Knowledge: Advertising agencies work with multiple clients across various industries, gaining valuable insights and market knowledge along the way. This exposure lets agencies stay abreast of the latest industry trends, consumer behaviors, and competitive landscapes. By partnering with an agency, companies tap into this wealth of information and benefit from the agency’s market research, analysis, and expertise. This broader perspective can help shape more informed and effective marketing strategies, enabling companies to make better decisions and stay ahead of the curve.

Creative Collaboration and Fresh Ideas: Ad agencies thrive on creativity and innovation. Their teams are adept at generating fresh ideas and bringing them to life through compelling campaigns. Collaboration with an agency brings an outside perspective, challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries. Agencies are often exposed to diverse clients and industries, which fuels their creativity and enables them to think outside the box. By leveraging the agency’s creativity, companies can tap into a constant stream of fresh ideas and unique approaches to marketing, helping them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

In conclusion, while having a Chief Marketing Officer can be beneficial for many companies, there are situations where partnering with an ad agency offers distinct advantages. The access to diverse expertise, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, industry insights, and creative collaboration are compelling reasons for companies to consider working with an agency. Ultimately, deciding between an in-house CMO and an ad agency depends on a company’s needs, resources, overall marketing spend, and goals. By carefully evaluating these factors, businesses can make an informed choice that aligns with their marketing objectives and drives success.

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About the Author

 John Robins

John Robins

Managing Partner and Growth-Marketing Consultant, John Robins, began his career on the client side in the United Kingdom with the internationally renowned breakfast cereal company Weetabix Ltd, joining his first international advertising agency, Lintas, in Dubai in 1985; moving to BBDO in 1991. John has worked on some of the world’s most iconic brands, including PepsiCo, General Motors, Qantas Airlines, KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Emaar, Energizer, Unilever, Mars, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank, to name a few. John lived in Dubai for 35 years and has worked on leading brands for over 40 years. John and his partner Kiron John took over Great Impressions in October 2018. Following their early success, they now have offices in Tampa, Lakeland, and Winter Haven, USA.