Introduction

Investing in the right marketing channels could help you get massive ROI for your business.

For example, Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users who are spending on average fifty minutes a day on this social media site.

With 150 million people using Snapchat daily, this app has recently surpassed Twitter’s daily usage, and it’s quickly catching up to Facebook.

But no matter which channel you use, in order to get a solid return on investment from your marketing efforts, you need to make sure that you have the right people on board to help you achieve your marketing goals.
In this post, we’ll go over the “landscape” of the types of marketers you could bring to your team, as well as the pros and cons of hiring a marketing agency versus going in-house.

Table of Contents

Contractors

When it comes to getting help with your marketing, there are three different choices: hire a marketing agency, build an in-house team, or bring a contractor on board.

We’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Hiring a Contractor: Pros

Hiring independent contractors is an option that many businesses use. You can find contractors who specialize in different areas of marketing, such as Facebook ads, e-mail marketing, content writing, and more.

Consultants have the experience to easily execute on the area in which they specialize so they don’t require any additional training. Many of them already have a strong track record of success.

Financially, one of the biggest benefits of hiring independent contractors is that they’re not subject to payroll taxes and other employment laws — meaning you don’t have to pay benefits (i.e. health, dental, 401k, unemployment tax).

Lastly, agreements with contractors can usually be terminated at any time, which gives you the flexibility to opt out of the relationship if need be.

Hiring a Contractor: Cons

Contractors typically specialize in a specific area of marketing, so they’ll do a good job within that area (you hope!), but it also means that they probably can’t provide a wide range of services.

For example, if you want to execute on content writing, social media marketing, and paid advertising, you might need a separate contractor for each specialty. Also, because contractors take on multiple projects at once with more than one company, they might take longer than necessary to hit the target numbers.

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that contractors are cheaper because they don’t require benefits, but experienced consultants with a great track record charge up to $200 per hour in some cases.

So even if they’re working part time (around 20 hours per week), you could be paying them $16,000 per month for their services — much more than the typical in-house employee or agency.

In-House

Building an In-house Team: Pros

As your company grows, you might consider building an in-house team. Although this can be a pretty costly option, there are some cases where it could be a huge benefit for your business.

Full-time employees tend to be more committed to their one role (in comparison to contractors with several clients) and thus to helping your business hit its targets. With no other distractions from projects outside of yours, things are more apt to get done at a faster pace.

Generally speaking, employees also stick around for a long time (typically a couple of years at least), so you’ll also get the benefit of training employees in your specific domain.

Building an In-house Team: Cons

When entrepreneurs think about making their first hire, they usually start by creating a list of all the skills that person needs to have. And that list is almost always unrealistic.

If you want to build a team to take your content marketing to the next level, you’ll likely need a graphic designer, copywriter, editor, and social media marketer. It’s tempting to try to find someone with all these skills — but this person usually doesn’t exist. And if they do, they would be charge extremely high rates (and rightly so).

This means that you’ll have to take on multiple employees and risk losing money on bad hires or people who quit early.

According to Impact BND, director-level hires could cost you around $80,000 per year, while entry-level roles might be around $35,000 per year. With multiple hires, you could be driving up your costs pretty significantly.

This also means that recruiting can take a long time. You’ll have to put candidates through multiple rounds of interviews, take time out of your current employees’ schedules to conduct the interviews, and deal with the loss in productivity that comes with training new hires.

If you decide to build a team, that also means you’ll have to manage issues that come up within your team, such as employee onboarding and offboarding, firing, and dealing with employees who quit unexpectedly. You’ll have to maintain processes for administrative things like paid time off, salary raises, working with remote employees, maintaining employee morale, and other communication issues.

Marketing Agency

Hiring a Marketing Agency: Pros

The biggest pro of hiring an agency to handle your marketing is that you can spend all your time and effort on running your business. That means getting more investors, closing more deals, forming new partnerships, setting the long-term vision, etc.

You can work on the big picture without getting bogged down in the details of, for example, how to run a Facebook paid advertising campaign. You don’t have to worry about hiring new marketing employees, growing your marketing department, or losing ridiculous amounts of money on bad full-time hires.

In fact, the average ROI of a bad hire is -298% . And 66% of U.S. employers say that bad hires can cost up to $50,000 each. That’s way more expensive than hiring a marketing agency.

Assuming you hire an agency within the $2,000-$10,000 per month range (which are reasonable rates for retainers, depending on what you’re looking for), you’ll get access to a team of specialized experts in a variety of different fields for the price you’d normally pay for one or two mid-level, full-time hires.

For example, Amp Agency helped Hasbro better understand how to optimize their marketing spend through advanced data analysis done by statisticians.

They analyzed third-party data to uncover browsing patterns of customers before they even landed on Hasbro’s site, they conducted high-value behavior analysis to map out user interaction throughout the purchase process, and they even mapped out high-level econometric models to see how ads on different marketing channels built on each other.

This is something that would’ve been extremely expensive to replicate in-house.

Some companies start out by hiring interns or junior employees. However, as the company scales, it’s important to either train them to handle higher-level tasks or hire an expert.

Most marketing budgets for companies get tied up in payroll and salaries, and the actual marketing suffers. But by hiring an agency that’s focused on delivering ROI, you can put yourself in a position where you’ll get a significant return from every dollar you spend.

Hiring a Marketing Agency: Cons

While you do get access to a variety of experts when hiring an agency, they also don’t work for you every day of the week. They have multiple clients to serve. They might not be able to respond to every question or concern you have immediately like a full-time employee would be able to.

With an in-house employee, getting questions answered may be more convenient as you can simply walk over to a colleague’s desk and ask, and they can show you rather than be limited by describing to you in an e-mail or on the phone. With an agency, there might be a longer wait time in terms of getting a response or explanation.

Depending on how well you hire, you could have in-house employees who stay with you for years on end. They could positively impact your culture, inspire other teammates, and potentially be someone that drives massive growth to your business.   

And while you get the benefit of spending less time and effort on handling the minutiae of your campaigns, the downside is that you have less control of the direction of your campaigns.

You’ll have the final say on how your marketing budget is spent by the agency, but chances are the agency will take over the details of your marketing strategies on each channel that you work with them on.

Conclusion

There are a few things to think about when deciding which type of marketer to hire in order to grow your business.

First you have to define what specifically your marketing requirements are. Are you looking for SEO? SEM? Facebook ad traffic? A boost in organic search? This is the first step in figuring out the right option for you.

The next step when it comes to choosing between contractors, in-house employees, and marketing agencies is to think about your current capacities. Are you able to take on another employee? Are you prepared to potentially lose tens of thousands of dollars on a bad hire (which is likely if you’ve never hired for specialist positions before)? Are you prepared to wait weeks or months to get people up to speed? From there, think about which metrics to track, how to measure ROI, etc.

There is no one right answer for everyone. The decision you make will depend on your goals, budget and your own strengths and weaknesses.