Cost vs Culture: Sometimes the Decision Makes Itself

By Mark Jones
President & CEO
LifeBrands D2C

As a national, full service direct-to-consumer (D2C) advertising agency, LBD2C cut its teeth on remnant TV, radio and traditional media distribution channels. Over the last ten years, we evolved along with technologies to expand our expertise and D2C model to create a more omni-channel approach to building brands.

We create complex and robust media mix modeling focused more on the path to purchase than last-touch attribution. Which, by the way, makes the emergence and growth of OTT and CTV such an exciting addition to the digital media mix!

With roughly 30 staff across three locations (Las Vegas, Greater Philadelphia and Central California), one of the ways we have remained competitive is by partnering with trusted third-party vendors to outsource certain disciplines when appropriate. Digital marketing was one of those.

There is no shortage of talented digital marketing agencies – locally and remotely. So, partnering with external digital experts seemed like a no brainer a couple years ago. Apparently, this is true for many businesses. A 2019 survey of 529 small businesses conducted by Clutch, a firm that researches and provides insights on business buying decisions, found that 37% outsource a business process. 

Why Make the Change?

Yet, we found ourselves deliberating this decision time and again, weighing the pros and cons. One factor in support of hiring vs. contracting is the need for long-term work. Digital marketing is not only an integral part of any advertising campaign; it is a critical synergistic consumer pathway that should always be approached from a bigger-picture advertising strategy. 

Like many CEOs and decision-makers, we continually considered cost control and effectiveness, timeliness of client needs, and time required to onboard new staff when considering the creation of an internal digital marketing arm. 

Then it hit me during a recent Zoom meeting. 

As I watched and listened to one of our partnering firms interact with a client, I was painfully aware the other firm may not have chosen this client on their own. There was a chasm in style. After all, external partners have their own ways of doing business, culture and priorities, and not in a bad way. Further, partnering agencies have no control over our projects or assignments, (aside from turning down the business, which is hard to do these days).

I had to ask myself a critical question:

Could an external agency with all its expertise, talent and efficiencies deliver on LBD2C’s unique culture while handling nuanced clients with the same level of dedication and investment we provide? 

The simple answer is no

Benefits of Hiring In-House

Important decision criteria for expanding within identified by placement firms such as Zippia include knowledge building and reapplication. However, these pale in comparison to the single most justification for hiring: an employee will always have a vested interest in your company and its culture. 

I knew intuitively on that Zoom call that we could no longer sacrifice the synergy necessary to succeed across all channels by continuing to outsource this part of our business.

We recently welcomed Todd Bailey, Director of Digital Marketing to LifeBrands D2C. In hiring a seasoned individual like Todd, there was literally no down time. I mean, the ink was not yet dry on our agreement when he had already begun building digital sales funnels for two of our clients in his first weeks.  And, just like that, Todd is building an LBD2C team of digital superstars. 

For us, the decision to bring digital marketing in-house made itself.

Please join us in welcoming Todd Bailey to the LBD2C party – it’s a fun one, I guarantee that.

What Can LifeBrands D2C do for you?



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