Everyone’s got their opinion in terms of in-house vs outsourcing whether it be search marketing or other services. An article that I read this morning entitled “The Great (And Completely Ridiculous) ‘In – house vs. Outsourced SEM’ Debate” attempts to make the case for outsourcing paid search because in house teams are pretty worthless and not qualified.
You can basically take any sentence from this article and make valid points as to why its completely wrong but I’ll just pick out a few that really stuck out to me.
Quote #1 “I’ve been doing SEM for more than 10 years, and I’ve never, not once, seen a search campaign created by an in-house team outperform one crafted by a competent SEM agency.”
Well from this IN-HOUSE SEM’s experience over the years, every campaign I’ve taken from a search agency and that includes very competent agencies whom I have the utmost respect for, have performed better within the first month in terms of ROI by typically 20 – 30% ROI. One of the first things they teach you when your a kiddie in school is to be very careful when using words like “never” and “not once” because you put yourself at risk of sounding foolish. Yeah… lets continue.
Quote #2 “I continue to be amazed by the number of CEOs and CMOs who have told me – with a straight face — that “Google is doing a great job running my campaign.”"
I’ll agree that Google is in it for the money but this has absolutely nothing to do with an in-house SEM team and everything to do with a corporate executive who is making marketing decisions that they shouldn’t be involved with. One corporate executive who knows there’s value in search but hasn’t explored creating in-house team or an agency is a whole other argument.
Quote #3 “Today, senior managers not only lack the objective criteria required to distinguish competent from incompetent search managers; most don’t even know the right questions to ask job candidates.”
All I can say is the last 2 SEM managers that I’ve had are not only very qualified but have asked top notch questions in interviews using questions that you actually have to use your brain to answer as opposed to reading a misguided blog post about SEM.
Quote #4 “As I’ve said before, the only thing that an in-house search team should ever be doing is SEO, because it’s a relatively trivial task that is hardly “rocket science.” Anything beyond this requires a specialist firm to take your search objectives forward.”
There’s so many things you could say about this and I know that the ‘seo and rocket science’ comment has been stated before. The bottom line is that more companies are moving their SEM efforts in-house and this is scary to some.
To sum things up:
For companies looking to move in-house it takes a lot of work but from personal experience the hard work is certainly worth the rewards. Having the flexibility to manage your own accounts and to make immediate changes is so valuable. For me spending time marketing a handful of sites and dedicating energy to researching their audience gives me the advantage over an agency who deals with a large number of sites where they don’t have the ability to give each site the individual time it deserves. With that being said, I’d be curious to hear other opinions and certainly there’s some good points to be made for both sides.