External support or in-house team?

Which delivers the best bang for your communications buck?


May 15, 2023

When I worked as an in-house Head of Comms, I was adamant that the lion’s share of my budget would be channelled into a made-to-measure team, operating under the same roof. We were making the case for a brand-new energy market and the majority of the world’s domain knowledge was in the building. Why rely on comms resource one step removed from the action?

Admittedly, this was part fuelled by control freakery. But it worked pretty well. And when we did dip into external support, it was mostly temporary, targeted and additional to in-house efforts. Having come from the agency world, I felt I stood a decent chance of extracting the good and sidestepping the bad.

That pick ‘n’ mix approach might work for you too. But now I’m back consultancy-side, you’ll forgive me for once again considering the merits of a more enduring relationship with your external comms support!

Because the right partner for you is out there.

How do you define ‘right’?  It’s a small part chemistry – some working relationships just feel right – and a large part industry knowledge and exposure.

Why on earth would you spend your precious budget teaching your external team the basics? The right partner will already be fluent. And why should it be incumbent on you to keep them abreast of the comings and goings in your sector? The right partner will already have their finger on the pulse.

No one will know your business and your corner of your industry quite as well as you do. But you’ll undoubtedly be able to find an external comms team with plenty of relevant experience and related knowledge.

And that’s where a good external support team really comes into its own.  Your in-house team is exposed to the same discussions, the same influences and largely the same external stimuli. That only compounds over time and can stifle creativity.

The best external comms teams will inject a healthy level of debate to your working day. They will probe, test your assumptions, play devil’s advocate, corroborate your ideas and present fresh ones too. Otherwise, why bother?

They’ll also be well-networked in your world, an extra set of eyes, ears and brains hunting down new opportunities for you to engage with peers and prospects of interest.

So, as you allocate budget for your next campaign, I’d encourage you to consider both options. Building a core, high-performing in-house team remains, in my view, a non-negotiable.

But consider also what this team cannot give you. Because there is a partner out there who can. In an ever-shrinking world, the chances are you won’t find – or need to find – them in the same city, same country or even same continent as you.  So cast your net wide!

Did you know that Tamarindo provide communications services and consultancy?

Get in touch with us today to discover how we can help you.

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