Article Details

In-house vs. Outsourced.

Published Date: June 28, 2023

In-house vs. Outsourced Marketing

Whether you love it or hate it, marketing is one of those things that must be done if you’re going to keep your business viable and competitive. The upside is there are so many different avenues to market your cafe; the downside is… there are so many different avenues to market your cafe!

Google Ads, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, classifieds, letterbox drops, signage, promotions, specials, radio ads, and press releases, the list goes on. Being spoiled for choice can be a blessing or a curse. The tricky thing is knowing what approach and what platform will bring the best return on investment (ROI) for your cafe.

Whether you and your team do all the marketing for your cafe (in-house marketing), or you hire a qualified individual or business to do it for you (outsourced marketing), both come with pros and cons, so let’s delve into that further.

Expertise and skills.

In-house marketing allows you to ensure your marketing team has a clear understanding of your brand and target audience. However, if you’re not entirely clear on your branding, have zero knowledge of how to market your cafe or are not sure what medium to use, you could end up wasting enormous amounts of money, time and effort on marketing that doesn’t translate into customers through the door. On the other hand, if you outsource the marketing, you can put it in the hands of a specialised marketing agency or professional with the expertise and experience to get the marketing right. The important thing here is that you do your homework and make sure you’re hiring a marketing team that understands your business and has a proven track record of success.


Outsourced marketing will cost more, but if they’re good at what they do and you’re good at what you do in the cafe, their costs should pay for themselves in increased or regular clientele. To keep costs down, you can engage them on a project-by-project basis or for one-off campaigns as needed. In-house marketing might involve you doing it yourself or hiring a small team to do it for you. If you hire a team, you’ll have to consider expenses such as salaries, benefits, training, and infrastructure.

If you do it yourself, you’ve got the bonus of not having to spend money on staff or external marketing businesses. However, you will need to weigh the cost of working ON the business instead of working IN the business. Where is your time best spent? If it takes you 10 hours to devise a social media campaign, that’s 10 hours taken away from working in the business. Whether that’s a good investment depends on how much “free time” you have to spare.

Flexibility and scalability.

Having an in-house team means you have greater control and adaptability over the marketing; you and your team can quickly respond to changes in strategy, market conditions, or customer preferences. For example, if you decide to change the menu or promote a new special, an advertising campaign can quickly be created, and your website and social media platforms updated with the new menu or images of the new dish. Additionally, if it becomes apparent that something isn’t working for your customers, you have the benefit of being in the thick of it so you can gather feedback and make adjustments.

There is less control and rapid adaptability when outsourcing your marketing, but you can scale it according to your budget and needs. For example, you might contract a team for a one-off, seasonal, or off-peak promotion. As your cafe grows and evolves, you might increase or decrease the marketing. Bear in mind that if you’re only contracting them irregularly, you’ll need to book well in advance to ensure they have enough space in their schedule to fit you in.

Time and know-how.

Realistically, how much time do you have to focus on marketing? Whether you hire an in-house team to do it for you or you do it yourself, it’s a lot of time taken away from core business operations.

In-house marketing requires investing time in recruiting, training, managing, and overseeing the marketing team. If you’re doing it all yourself, you’ll need to have an enormous body of knowledge in content creation, social media, SEO, ROI, promotions etc. If even hearing those terms sends you into a tailspin, you might be better off outsourcing the marketing to professionals with the skills to do it efficiently. It will free up your time so you can concentrate on running your café.

Industry knowledge.

Perhaps the greatest advantage in-house marketing has over outsourced marketing is that you and your team have all the necessary industry-specific knowledge; you are immersed in your cafe business, so you understand its unique selling points; you know your customers, their preferences and the local market dynamics. In comparison, outsourced marketing agencies may lack specific industry knowledge. However, they may bring fresh insights, perspectives and innovative strategies to the table.

Ultimately, the decision between in-house and outsourced marketing depends on your specific needs, resources, knowledge base and business objectives. In many cases, a cafe owner will opt to do their own marketing while calling on the skills of graphic designers, content creators, or proofreaders to assist with the content and design. If that’s how you intend marketing your cafe, you’ll still need a thorough knowledge of digital and traditional marketing.

Clever Cafe currently does not provide coaching for marketing, but there’s a possibility that we might introduce this feature in the future.

Assessing the pros and cons of each option will help you determine the most suitable marketing strategy for your cafe. Whatever method you choose, make sure you have a way to measure the results.