Hiring a Marketing Agency versus Hiring In-House Employees

While there seems to be an almost instantaneous solution for all business queries this day in age, from the A.I. assistance of Facebook’s M with your daily schedule, to even an Uber of the skies and sea for every Fortune 500 CEO’s traveling needs, it is still evident that a productive business executive just can’t do it all.

You want to focus your time and energy on things like client acquisitions, mergers, and deals, the reason you got into your industry, not next year’s Inbound Marketing strategy (although we highly recommend being involved in that process).

The bottom line is you know you need help. But, now you’ve come to find yourself at a business operational crossroad. Do you hire an agency to take care of your marketing needs, or do you bring on an in-house production team? Well, let’s examine that.

The Advantages of Hiring In-House

Hour-for-Hour Cost

There are several benefits to hiring in-house for your inbound marketing needs. Being that cost for change is usually the foremost consideration for decisions like this, the hour for hour cost of an in-house department versus an agency would be the biggest advantage. Hour-for-hour, a full-time employee salary divided by average annual working hours will usually be a somewhat lower hourly rate than an agency's hourly rate. It’s not hard to balk at a proposed monthly retainer cost of up to $10k and deem hiring an agency too expensive. Hiring in-house can give you the opportunity to set parameters for hourly pay within your budget.

Industry Expertise

If you work in a particularly specialized niche, hiring in-house can be a way to be extremely hands-on in selecting and training the type of talent you interview. This ensures that only those familiar in your industry become candidates for the position.

Fast Communication

With in-house production, you can meet and collaborate with your team at the drop ofthe hat, instead of dealing with conflicting schedules and the possibility of deliverables getting lost in translation with online communication.

Insight into the Company

When you work in an establishment day-in and day-out, a marketing specialist can learn a lot about the internal operations that wouldn’t necessarily come across their day-to-day if they were not immersed in it. An in-house team would have instant access and knowledge of any company dealings or events, the moment they happen, versus at the end of a well-crafted email after the fact.

marketing agencyThe Advantages of Hiring a Marketing Agency

Built-in Costs vs. Month-to-Month Varied Expenses

As with the advantages of In-House Production, it is only fair if the advantages of an agency follows up with a rebuttal. While a large, detailed monthly retainer might at first be hard to swallow, all of the costs for an agency are built into that. There is no change in costs (unless projects are done outside of the scope of said retainer).

When you hire in-house, it can be a steep point of entry: you are looking at around a 5-employee commitment to be effective in the inbound marketing space. This not only includes their salary, but other costs like insurance, retirement plans, training, and recruiting costs, not to mention the overhead costs of your HR, accounting, and bookkeeping staff hired to take care of them.

Read how our inbound marketing services have helped other businesses

When you start breaking all of this down, employee salaries versus agency retainers​​​​ might not look like a savings at all. In fact, according to a study done by Investopia, the average cost of an employee is actually 1.5x to 3x their salary for a business. Ouch. And don’t forget another crucial part of their findings that state that an employer doesn’t actually ‘break even’ on the cost versus worth of an employee until over 6 months into their employment.


When you hire an agency, you are typically aware of their past experience in the marketing industry, as well as in your particular industry, and you have case studies for review to prove it. The agency’s entire focus is on best marketing practices and helping clientele succeed.

Breadth of Knowledge

Typically, an agency will have hands-on knowledge of marketing trends happening across their whole client list, which can give them insight into what works and what doesn’t across all industries, gives them insight into a particular company's performance versus broader industry trends, and also ideas that might have not yet come into play for marketing in your particular industry. The agency has spent man-hours and money testing out new ideas, channels, and techniques, for not only their clientele, but their own marketing as well.

Power of Virtual Interface

While your agency will traditionally not be in the same physical as your company (sometimes not even in the same zip code), with the right tools for communication in place, communication can be just as instantaneous as if you were cubicle buddies. The beauty of this digital age is that you don’t have to be physically present to be effective and integral in a business infrastructure. Just ask Forbes - telecommuting is the way of the future.

Different Situations Need Different Solutions

Ultimately, you know what makes the most sense for your business. If you already have a full marketing team running with the staff and infrastructure to support them, hiring additional employees might be the smoothest path for you. If you have a marketing team of one or two (or zero, for some companies!), bringing on an agency to take over full turnkey marketing execution might be the best path for you. While there are advantages and disadvantages to hiring both an in-house team and an agency, great businesses have been built from tribes in both camps.

If this article completely cleared up the confusion and you know what decision you’d make, hit share on your favorite social platform icon up above and tell the rest of the world (and us) what option you’d choose!