The In-house vs Performance Marketing Agency Dilemma

In Asia, almost every company has its own in-house performance marketing team.

In Asia, almost every company has its own in-house performance marketing team. It is a very different dynamic to more saturated digital advertising markets like the US and Australia. From our observation, this is for a couple of reasons:

Lack of expertise in the region

Agencies in Asia simply don’t cut it. Clients don’t want to hire “YouTube taught” agencies, they want to hire agencies with genuine experience that can leapfrog them onto the global stage and there is a lack of that in Asia. In the US, clients see value in external teams that can execute and take learnings from other clients that the agency manages. Logically, if you’re a company in Asia, it makes a lot of sense to hire your own in-house team over an agency.

Market maturity

Digital advertising is still in its early stages in Asia. The market is far from saturation and investing money blindly will get results in this market. Digital advertising is rising at an unprecedented rate, with some countries increasing their investments by over 40% YoY. The difference between mature markets and Asia is the low cost of labor resulting in these large in-house teams.

Interpretation of performance marketing channels

Founders and tech leaders in Asia see performance marketing as something that they have to do to generate the results. But without knowing the potential of what could be achieved if they were to engage an expert. This is fair because there are not many experts within the region.

In-house teams in Asia should turn to consultants. Some concerns with in-house teams:

  • No exposure to other accounts or practices, focusing solely on the one account reduces the learning opportunities that agencies have
  • No mediator to protect your media investment. Google, Facebook, and other media companies are very convincing but likely do not have your best interests.
  • Staff retention – In an industry that is pacing at 40% YoY, the number of opportunities to earn more money and learn for marketing positions

What would a consultant do?

  • Audit all marketing activity
  • Develop the skills of in-house teams
  • Third-opinion that is protecting your best interests
  • Engaging and challenging the marketing team
  • Bring new strategies and ideas to the table
  • Increase return-on-investment from marketing and the output of the in-house team
  • Have clear deliverables and objectives to complete before the end of the contract, much clearer than working with an agency.

Why hire an agency in Asia?

  • Bring new strategies and ideas to the table from an outside perspective
  • Apply learnings from other clients that they’re managing
  • Up-to-date on the latest in the fast-paced performance marketing space
  • Help fulfill a need to hire, train and manage a performance team
  • You can move on from an agency after your contract is over and find another one with better strategies and ideas


Kaliber Asia is a performance marketing team that brings in the global experience that Asia’s top companies are looking for to have an edge over their competitors. Bringing over US$500M worth of performance marketing experience, we have both the agency experience and consulting experience to help propel our clients forward. Visit our website for more information and get your free audit on Google Ads!

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