Pros & Cons - Hiring a Marketing Agency vs an Employee

When deciding on hiring internally or externally where it comes to your digital marketing, it comes down to your resources, workload, and let's be honest, trust. Even we have experienced this and currently have a full team with a few regular outsourced individuals that we trust and work with during our busy seasons and when rush jobs are needed. There are some definite benefits to having both options of a full in-house team as well as having trusted freelancers we can work with. Here are some things to consider when debating on hiring internally or an external digital marketing agency.


What are you hoping to achieve with your digital marketing? The goals will determine the amount of work and time needed to get the task done. If you have enough work for a full time staff member or team, you may see a higher return on investment with an internal team. However, when hiring a marketing agency, although you may pay more hourly, you ONLY pay for what they do for you, you don't pay for those slow times where an employee may not be busy.

There is also a benefit to having a combination of an internal and external team, like we do. Although we have the staff to do everything in house, occasionally tasks and requests come in while our web developers are fully booked for a couple weeks. This is where we go to our trusted freelancers, because it may not be beneficial to hire another full time staff member that may not be busy the whole time. Outsourcing can give you that flexibility during busy and slower periods.

For some companies, you may have a very gifted team and just need a little bit of help with a certain aspect of your marketing. For example you may have someone who manages online advertising but does not have experience in graphic design. This is where, again, outsourcing to an agency that can provide the service and work with your current team to fill the gaps might be more beneficial than hiring a full time employee for the role.


The average marketing budget for companies that have been around for 5+ years ranges from 12% to 20% of your gross revenue. Using this as a starting point can give you insight into whether you can afford a full-time team, should look at outsourcing, or a combination of both. If you were to hire a full-time marketing manager, you're looking at an average of $50-$90k a year, plus benefits, payroll costs, and added HR work. Just like we stated in our last point, if there is enough work for a full-time staff member, you can see a higher return on investment. But remember, hiring one staff member to manage all of your marketing is like searching for a unicorn...

Marketing Unicorns 🦄

Finding that one person who is an excellent web developer, graphic designer, and digital marketing specialist is like finding a unicorn, it's just not happening. If you don't have the budget for a full team that can manage everything for you, it makes sense to either do a combination of internal and external hiring, or simply outsource altogether. When hiring a full-service digital marketing agency, you may pay more by the hour, but you are not just getting one experienced person, you're hiring a team of experienced people. Which means you get more value for that time you are outsourcing.

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency vs Employees

Outsourcing: Marketing Agency


  • Access to a full marketing team with a variety of skill sets (you get your unicorn!)
  • You only pay for the work that is done and not for time in between
  • Get more value within the time invoiced due to the experience of the team
  • A good marketing agency can show you the return on investment on your online ads
  • An outsiders look and fresh perspective


  • Perceived higher hourly rate
  • Establishing trust with an out of office team

In House Employees


  • Higher return on investment if managed well
  • In-office communication
  • Understands business culture and products


  • You still need to pay them even if you are in a slow season
  • Paycheck deductions, HR costs and benefits (ie vacation time, sick days, dental)
  • May not have experience in every area of marketing (graphic design, web development, digital marketing, print)
  • Finding talented individuals
  • Training costs
  • Your company will need experience managing marketing and development teams

No matter which route you choose for your business, there is always a learning curve while you teach others about your business, the goals you are wanting to achieve, and establishing your brand voice. Our recommendation is to always work with people you trust. It's tiring needing to micromanage any aspect of your business and ultimately the route you go down should give you the freedom to do what you do best within your business, and leave the people you are paying to do their job without worrying if you're getting what you're paying for.


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