July 16, 2021

Costs of Hiring: Choosing Between an In-House or a Digital Marketing Agency

We can all agree that investing in marketing is a critical pillar to business success. As your business grows, you will need to scale up marketing efforts.

While you can take on the do-it-yourself approach, running marketing campaigns is time-consuming and building and implementing a strategic marketing plan is required. 

The next step is to invest in an expert marketer who can help you grow. But, should you build an in-house team or hire a digital marketing agency? While there are many determining factors that go into leaning one way or the other, the major one companies look at is cost-effectiveness. 

To determine which route is more cost-effective, you must look at the total amount paid out for services rendered.

In-house marketing vs digital marketing agency

What Does It Cost to Build an In-House Team?

While we cannot give you a complete number, we can give you an estimate. First, we must determine the positions of an in-house marketing team that need to be filled.

It is likely that a social media strategist, SEO specialist, content writer, and creative director will be needed. You may also want a web designer, graphic designer, and a PR specialist.

Let’s take their base average salaries and total them up. 

  • Creative Director: $103,500
  • Graphic Designer: $45,000
  • PR Specialist: $60,000

TOTAL AMOUNT: $415,000

*Note: there is a wide variety of national averages available for salaries in these positions. The numbers here are taken from Glassdoor, Indeed, PayScale, and Salary.com. 

Now that we have the average total salary for an in-house team, we must add on other expenses associated with hiring them. This includes recruitment costs, onboarding costs, payroll taxes, health benefits, retirement plans, and paid family, medical, and sick leave. These additional costs can add up very quickly and are most definitely over $100,000 easily.  

What Does It Cost to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency? 

A digital marketing agency is likely to bill you in 1 of 3 ways: with an hourly rate, a project-specific rate, or through a monthly retainer.  While freelance marketers are more likely to charge at a project-specific rate, digital marketing agencies prefer to charge via a monthly retainer as this is more friendly and cost-effective for the business. 

Companies hiring a digital marketing agency are likely to pay between $90 and $240 for hourly services or up to $9,000 a month. This adds up to anywhere between $36,000 and $103,000 a year. In some cases, a digital marketing agency may take on a per-project basis from you, which often costs less than their max monthly retainer. 

As you can see, it is significantly cheaper to hire a digital marketing agency over building an in-house team.

When To Choose In-House vs. Agency?

If you are a product-based company that sells a lot of tactile or physical-based goods, having a marketing staff in-house is immensely helpful. They can document the design process, provide you with product knowledge, and capture product images directly from the store shelves.

Consider choosing an in-house marketing team if you need any of the following:

  • An internal marketing team will give you direct and flexible control over your brand’s overall identity, how your brand is communicated to the world, and what your message is. Internal teams can follow the brief and vision of the brand closely, giving you close and on-hand access to marketing initiatives and creative ideas. If you need to make a lot of last-minute changes then an internal team gives you the agility you need. 
  • If you need constant access to your employees to execute marketing strategies.
  • If you have employees that will spend 100% of their time on your marketing strategy and focus all of their efforts on the planned vision. 

A marketing agency on the other hand is a good choice if…

  • You need a specialized team for expanding into individual marketing channels.
  • A fresh perspective on the state of your brand and the industry you are in. An agency can help you shake things up. 
  • Cost-effectiveness. You will save on employee hiring, salaries, and benefits and pay a lower rate for a monthly retainer, hourly fee, or fixed rate.  You may also gain access to professional tools that you would have to pay out of pocket for otherwise.

Ready to hire a digital marketing agency?

A marketing agency is going to get the job done, even if it means long hours, and done right because they are driven by results. An agency employee is more likely to accommodate your needs as their success relies on the marketing results they get for you. 

If you would like to explore the opportunity of hiring a marketing agency to take care of your business’ marketing for you, please contact us today!