Hiring A Marketing Agency Vs. A Marketing Employee

Pros and Cons

In today’s technological age, if your company does not invest in online marketing, you are not going to be successful. Digital marketing is quickly becoming crucial to the growth of any business.

To promote your product or service, make yourself stand out from the competition, and attract customers, you need sharp graphics, creative strategies, engaging content, a well-designed website, analytics tools, and an advertising budget spent wisely.

Putting yourself in charge of all of this is a bad idea—you don’t have the time, or the expertise.

So you’re left with a couple of options: hire an in-house employee to be in charge of marketing for your brand, or hire a marketing agency.

(Now, to be fair, we’re a marketing agency, and yes, we believe that hiring a marketing agency is the generally the best way to go. But there are good reasons why we think this is the right choice, and so we wanted to take a minute to compare both options. You should feel confident about your decision, no matter which one it is.)


In-House Marketing Specialist

Most average annual salaries for this position range from $46-58,000. This may initially sound cheaper than the cost of retaining an agency, and in some cases, it might be, but what you have to keep in mind is that this salary is not factoring in all that you’re actually paying. You’re also spending money on taxes, benefits, insurance, training, workspace (including computers), and licensing and other software, in addition to “wasted” time such as lunch breaks, holidays, etc. When you consider all of the costs associated with an in-house person on top of their salary, it amounts to an expensive investment.

Marketing Agency

Marketing agencies don’t come cheap either; most charge bill rates of 3-$8,000 monthly for their services. They have higher prices per hour because they have to cover more costs. But with a marketing agency, you don’t pay for workspace, licensing, software, training, benefits, insurance, or any of the other costs associate with an employee. You only pay them for time they are actually working on your project. Certain marketing costs that come with hiring an agency are also tax deductible, a bonus.

Motivation and Dedication

In-House Marketing Specialist

One of the pros of having an in-house marketing specialist lies in the name itself—in-house, meaning you have full access to your employee every day. Should either of you need to communicate with each other, the other’s workspace is probably not more than a few feet or a hallway or a floor away, making any communication easy, and highly efficient. And if he/she is a full-time employee, the level of dedication is single-minded and focused. The marketing specialist’s only professional goal is to get results on your company’s campaigns. In addition, if you hire a person, he/she will probably have characteristics that mesh with your company’s values and be more passionate about your cause.

However, especially in the beginning, the in-house person may be more motivated by making a good impression interpersonally and establishing a solid position than by truth. If a campaign isn’t performing well, or if a suggestion is made by yourself or a company superior that is not the wisest course of action, the marketing specialist could be afraid to disagree or inclined to downplay the negatives.

Marketing Agency

A marketing agency will typically contract with several clients at one time, meaning that you are not their only focus and they are not available 24/7 for you. Their attention is split among projects. However, marketing agencies are always aware that they could be replaced or let go in favor of another advertising solution at any point. It is much easier to hire and fire a marketing agency than to hire and fire a single person. Because they are perpetually on the chopping block, they are more motivated by tangible results—they know they need to perform well in order for you to keep them. Even though you are not their only client, their job is to market you like you are their only client, so you will likely have less of a problem with the long-term performance of an agency.

Expertise, Perspective, and Function

In-House Marketing Specialist

When you hire an in-house marketing specialist, he/she learns a great deal about internal affairs, which will provide them with insight into the company that an outside team may not have or be able to use when determining marketing framework. In-house people know your message, and are therefore able to communicate your value proposition well. This can also be a drawback—because your employee will adopt the insider language over time, it will become difficult to remain objective in your marketing language. Terms may make sense to the people inside your company but be confusing to your customers.

Also, when you hire an in-house person, you are getting the skill set and experience of only one single person, and you’re getting one single person who is working on several aspects of a campaign, or perhaps multiple campaigns for your company. No matter how talented or experienced the individual is, this limits you, in both in expertise and in time.

Marketing Agency

The best part about hiring a marketing agency is obtaining the diverse skill set. When you contract with a marketing company, you secure the knowledge and expertise of multiple individuals who have proven themselves in the field. Most marketing agencies include copywriters, web designers, program developers, graphic artists, SEO specialists, social media managers, and more, all with niche skills. Members can work together to bring fresh ideas to your marketing efforts. They can bring the outsider perspective that your customers will have when interacting with your products or services. There are multiple sets of eyes on your campaign, a system of checks and balances that you don’t get with an in-house person. Marketing agencies are also aware of marketing trends across all industries, giving them ideas about new practices that may have not even entered your industry yet. They can give you a competitive edge.


Every situation is unique, but on the whole there is more evidence to suggest that hiring a marketing agency will lead to greater productivity and increased performance for your business than if you hired an employee; it is less expensive, more flexible, offers you more expertise, and ensures you work with a motivated party. When it comes down to making the decision, though, you alone know what is best for your company—hopefully this helped to give you some considerations to think about as you seek to improve your marketing efforts!

Shea Duncan – Author

Lead Content Producer

Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!

Erik Alicea – Contributor

Co-Founder of Empirical360

Erik is a Co-Founder of Empirical 360 and is all about making campaigns work. He takes a risk adjusted approach in all of his marketing campaigns.