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What is in-House Advertising?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated May 16, 2024
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In-house advertising is a system of product promotion that is executed by members of that product’s firm rather than an external advertising agency. The extent of these internal advertising functions varies; some firms attend to every aspect of the advertising process while others maintain a partial dependence on outside agencies. In-house advertising has both advantages and drawbacks. It allows firms to retain total creative control over the ways in which their products are marketed and can prove cheaper than external advertising services. On the other hand, the creative scope and visibility of ads can suffer without the outsider’s perspective and professional contacts provided by an external agency.

Firms that choose to market their own products usually establish an in-house advertising department. Depending on the size, budget, and advertising goals of the firm, this department can range from a single employee to a full team of market researchers, media buyers, and creative professionals. The functions of an in-house advertising department can also vary depending on the needs and capabilities of the firm. Some conceive, execute, and place their own advertisements entirely independently. Others perform more limited functions; for instance, some firms might design their own ads but rely on an outside agency to place them in the media.

The primary benefits of in-house advertising are the control it affords and the savings it can allow. Unlike firms that outsource their promotional needs, those that generate their own advertising maintain sole authority over the way their product is presented. Depending upon the advertising department’s resources, this control can encompass everything from a product’s packaging to the places its advertisements are seen. Additionally, creating advertisements in-house can prove cost-effective, as it allows firms to avoid the high commissions typically charged by outside agencies.

When contemplating a switch to in-house advertising, however, firms should consider its potential disadvantages. First of all, those creating their own ads may have difficulty conceptualizing their product and its target consumer objectively. As a result, their ads may lack the vision that an outsider’s perspective can bring. In addition, reputable advertising agencies usually have established contacts through which they can secure highly visible ad space. Without this resource, in-house departments may have trouble reaching their target customer.

Finally, firms must determine whether in-house advertising will prove cost-effective. Often this question depends upon the size of the firm as compared to its advertising needs and the revenue its ads will generate. A small firm may find it more expensive to retain an in-house department than to simply pay an external agency’s commission fees, whereas a large firm might find that the opposite is true.

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M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including SmartCapitalMind. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon180749 — On May 27, 2011

I need to ask what if we were a small organization trying to expand and change our perception in the eyes of our customer (basically reposition ourselves)? Which advertising will be most suitable for us? In house advertising or hiring an external firm?

Our resources aren't much but we also need the firm not to get distracted from its core competency by creating an in-house advertising department and managing it.

Our target audience has a high promotional elasticity of demand. can you suggest which way we should go? It would be of great help.

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
Learn more
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