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Should you hire a marketing agency or in-house team?

by Haley McGahey

Many companies reach a point where they’re either growing so quickly they can’t keep up, finding themselves at a stagnant place or are, unfortunately, getting smaller.


At any of these places, more marketing help is usually needed. Whether it is to keep up with all of the necessary deliverables or to bring in more leads for the sales team, more people and more lead gen efforts are always helpful.

At this point, many organizations will start asking themselves: should I hire a marketing agency or bring on more in-house employees to create more manpower?

Which plan of attack is smartest and most effective? That depends on a variety of factors, which we’ve outlined for you here to help with the decision process.

Before we dive in deep, let’s look at a list of some benefits of each option.

Benefits of in-house marketing staff:

  • Full-time staff focused only on your campaign
  • Product and/or service familiarity
  • Accountability to upper management
  • Software and asset control (you own and license it)

Benefits of a marketing agency:

  • Lower cost
  • Multiple skill sets that span throughout the agency
  • Save internal resource time
  • Fast turnaround time and ability to scale to your needs

When to hire in-house:

Now that we know some of the benefits, how do we decide when is it right to hire in-house marketing staff? One major factor here is company size. If a company has more than 150 employees or more than 50 sales team members, that typically means it is time for a senior in-house marketing hire. A team of this size normally needs a single person that will understand the business, can strategize based on current efforts and needs, and lead recommendations on how to proceed with marketing initiatives. Oftentimes, companies will augment this leader’s wealth of knowledge with the added expert skill sets of others (ie- graphic designer, web developer, social media manager, etc). If you find you’re at this point, bringing on an in-house hire and giving them the leverage to interview and hire an agency if and when the time is right is a smart option. Giving one person ownership over the agency relationship that has experience in the industry is one of the best ways to manage that relationship and ensure you are getting the best all around return on your marketing investment.

When to hire an agency:

If you’re looking to save time and money and get some quick results, an agency is probably for you.

First, by bringing on an agency you will eliminate the cost of hiring new employees, including salary and benefits. You’ll also save time by not needing to train new employees. Sure, you’ll provide the agency with strategic direction and product information, but more often than not, they will take that information and run with it. No need to train them on software, office procedures, HR information, etc.

Lastly, agencies usually consist of a number of employees with expert knowledge in multiple sub-categories of marketing. For example, these teams might have a graphic designer, a web developer, a content strategist, a copywriter, and more. For one agency fee, you will have access to all of these services. Because they have several people on your account, you will get projects completed quickly, pay only a fraction of a cost for their execution and see results faster than if you tasked a team of new internal hires with making all it all happen.

In summary, consider the following when making the decision to hire an agency or internal marketing department:

What breadth of marketing services do you currently need, and in what amount?

  • Strategic Direction and Identification of Priorities
  • Graphic Design
  • Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC and SEO Management
  • Media Buying and Negotiation
  • Website Coding and Design

What would it cost to hire someone for each of those needs?

Do you have a leader to spearhead marketing initiatives, approve deliverables, and communicate marketing efforts to your sales staff and internal team members?

Think an agency might be for you? Download our free checklist of questions to ask during potential agency interviews to kickstart your search! Just click the button below.