Lantern Marketing is now part of Guide MKTG.  🎉  Read about the acquisition here.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Agency vs an In-House Employee

Marketing Agency vs. In-House

Marketing has become as complex as a Shakespearean play and you’re not sure whether to hire a star-studded agency or a solo actor for your business ‘stage.’ Before you decide to just close the curtain, let’s unravel this drama and delve into the pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency vs an in-house employee.

The Benefits of In-House Marketing Teams

Before you place that job ad on Indeed for a new marketing manager, let’s look at some of the advantages of in-house marketing teams and a few of the instances where an internal marketing team could hold your business back.

Your Business is Their Sole Focus

When you have an internal marketing team, your business is their exclusive focus. They are fully immersed in your company culture, know your marketing goals inside and out, and fully understand your brand’s unique selling proposition. 

With such deep brand familiarity, they can become an expert on your brand voice and message.

If you have a question, want an update, or need them to shift their focus, you can just walk over to their desk and have a conversation, no need to wait for an email exchange or Zoom call.

You Are In Control 

Another advantage of employing an in-house marketing team is the opportunity to train them to fit your business needs. You can teach your internal marketing team your company’s values, work methodologies, and preferred marketing strategy so that their work aligns with your company’s vision.

When marketing is done in-house, you can also be in complete control of the marketing plan and which strategies you choose to employ.

The Disadvantages of Having an In-House Marketing Team

Although the proximity and control of having an in-house marketing team might be beneficial, the marketing workload for a multi-million dollar business can quickly overwhelm an internal marketing team.

One Person Can’t Do It All

Marketing is complex. To execute a well-rounded marketing plan, you need a whole team.

In this fast-paced world of digital marketing, you need to fulfill at least these four roles in your internal marketing team:

A strategist who works with company leaders to understand the business goal, then does market research, analyzes data, and constantly evaluates the effectiveness of your current marketing strategies. You want someone to keep an eye on marketing trends and form a strategic marketing plan that keeps your business moving toward your goal.

A copy and content writer to craft your marketing campaigns and embed search engine optimization into your content.

A graphic designer to create images for your social media marketing, ads, landing pages and other marketing campaigns.

A digital manager to oversee your unpaid social media posts, comments, and online presence. You will also need someone to manage your paid social media and digital ads.

In addition to your key people, your situation might also call for experts in SEO, video, public relations, podcast/speaking, trade shows, hiring, specialized research, and a project manager to keep it on all time and on budget.

Asking one person to fulfill all those roles would be a very daunting task. Even if one person could get it all done, they wouldn’t have the depth of expertise necessary to do all those marketing tasks well.

Having Multiple In-House Marketing Experts is Expensive

If you want top-of-the-line marketing, you need a team of top-of-the-line marketers. That can get expensive pretty quickly..

As of 2024, Glassdoor listed the average salary of a marketing professional as $66,000 per year.

Let’s say you need a team of 3 marketing professionals to keep your marketing running smoothly. That is almost $200,000 a year, in salaries alone.

What about hiring freelancers to do your marketing?

Some companies choose to have one in-house marketer and use freelancers to fulfill the rest of their digital marketing needs.

Although that isn’t a bad idea, finding high-quality freelancers isn’t always easy. There are some wonderful freelancers out there who will become assets to your team and then there are some who will happily take your money, deliver sub-par work, and never look back. Even on well-known freelance sites, like Upwork and Fivver, it is hard to know who you are working with until you take the risk.

The Perks of Working With A Marketing Agency

We often talk to business owners who think they need an unlimited budget or at least $50 million in annual revenue to benefit from working with a marketing agency. That’s not the case at all.

You Get a Pre-Screened Team of Experts

When you work with a marketing agency, you have access to an entire team of marketing experts with a broad range of skills. You’ll have everything and everyone you need in one place. 

Since marketing is their sole focus, agencies often have access to higher caliber tools and resources than in-house marketing teams, that help them deliver even higher quality of work.

Plus, you won’t have to manage the team’s progress, interview freelancers, or make sure everyone is on track with their deadlines. You can trust that your marketing needs are in expert hands and focus your energy on the rest of your business.

At Guide MKTG, we have a network of 100s of experts, covering all marketing skills, industries and niches. If there is something we don’t know, or aren’t able to do in-house, we always have access to someone who can.

Gain A Fresh Perspective on Your Business

One of the biggest advantages of working with external marketing agencies is the fresh perspectives they bring.

When you’re working in-house, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and fall under “the curse of knowledge.” Everyone is so immersed in your business and your current marketing strategy that you stop seeing other solutions and possibilities. 

It’s kind of like trying to read the label from inside a bottle. You know so much about the inside of the business that you aren’t able to see it the way your customer does, from the outside.

An external marketing agency is outside the bottle and can help you see your blind spots. An outside agency is more likely to spot instances where your internal lingo may be confusing potential clients or why your current digital marketing strategy is falling short.

Pro 3: More Cost-Effective Than an In-House Team

As I mentioned before, a large team of in-house marketers can be incredibly expensive. Juggling an in-house marketer alongside a team of freelancers comes with a lot of risk. 

By hiring a marketing agency, like Guide MKTG, you have access to a full team of marketing experts at a fraction of the cost. On average, our clients pay between $5,000–$15,000 per month for all of their marketing expenses (other than paid ads). Even at the high end, that is still cheaper than just the salaries of 3 full-time employees.

Pro 4: Flexibility and Scalability

Marketing needs vary depending on the season, budget, and other business factors. Hiring an in-house marketing team greatly limits your flexibility. You can’t hire a full-time employee and then decide to lay them off a few months later if the workload slows down.

With a marketing agency, you can scale your marketing efforts up or down as needed. At Guide MKTG, we assess the strategy and report on results every 90 days so that your marketing can adapt as your business grows.

The Downside of Working With A Marketing Agency

Although for many small to mid-sized businesses, working with a marketing agency offers the ability to scale your marketing efforts quickly, there are a few drawbacks.

An Agency Won’t Know Every Detail of Your Business

An external agency may not have the deep understanding of the ins and outs of your business that an internal team would have. However, a good marketing agency should ask enough questions to get pretty close.

Just like there are great freelancers and not-so-great freelancers, there are a wide range of marketing agencies out there. You want to work with someone who will take the time to get to know your business, instead of relying on cookie-cutter approaches that don’t always work.

You want to work with a marketing agency that becomes an expert in your target audience, your brand voice, and your business goals so that the marketing strategy you implement together gets the best possible results.

A high-quality external marketing agency will create a personalized marketing campaign that matches your business goals and wows your ideal client. Best of all, you won’t have to be in charge of every detail to make it happen.

They Aren’t In House

The biggest downside to working with a marketing agency instead of hiring an in-house employee is simply that they aren’t there in the office with you.

They won’t be at the company holiday party or the Friday staff meeting. You probably won’t hear about their kid’s baseball games or what they dressed their dog as for Halloween.

Although a good marketing agency will still take the time to get to know you on a personal and professional level, it isn’t the same as sitting across the table from someone in the break room.

On the other hand, do you really need to see someone’s dog in a tutu to trust them with your marketing needs? Probably not.

Marketing Agency vs In-House Employee: Which One Is Better?

In the end, the decision between hiring a marketing agency vs an in-house marketing team ultimately comes down to your business goals and needs. Each option has its own unique set of pros and cons.

If you want to be the one in control of every aspect of your marketing efforts, then hiring an in-house marketing team may be the best route. If you don’t have time to figure out marketing and want access to a team of experts without breaking the bank, then working with a marketing agency may be the way to go.

If you still can’t decide which option is right for you, schedule a no strings attached Clarity Call with Guide MKTG

We will get to know your business and give you our honest opinion about which option is best for you. When it comes to marketing success, having the right team by your side can make all the difference!


Recent Articles

Is the Curse of Knowledge Killing Your Marketing Strategy?

Is it really possible to know too much? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but having in-depth knowledge of a business doesn’t automatically mean you will excel at marketing it. The curse of knowledge could be covertly killing your marketing strategy. What is the...

How to Use AI Responsibly in Marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept. The Flintstones have officially met the Jetsons. AI models have woven themselves into the fabric of our daily lives and our marketing practices. Which may have left you wondering, what does that mean for...

The Subtle Difference Between Self-Promotion vs. Marketing

As marketers, we've been told that visibility brings success. While that is true, you also need to be telling the right story to the right people in order to grow. There is a subtle, yet monumental, difference between self-promotion vs marketing. Let's explore when...

Would you like free marketing tips to help you grow your business?

You May Also Like…

Frustrated with Marketing?

Strategic marketing takes more that an inactive social account, set-it-and-forget-it Google ads, and messy messaging. Sign up for our weekly marketing tips to take your marketing to the next level.


Sign me up!