Another milestone achieved! We’re excited to announce Espresso B2B Marketing merging with eMa.
Another milestone achieved! We’re excited to announce Espresso B2B Marketing merging with eMa.

In-House vs Agency? Assembling Your Marketing Team

in-house vs agency

Pros and Cons: In-house vs. Agency for Your Marketing Team

Debating the age-old question of in-house vs. agency? Here’s a figure that may sway your decision: $519,268.

That’s the amount you’ll have to invest if you choose to hire an in-house marketing team. And that’s probably the minimum.

According to GlassDoor, the average salary for a marketing resource in the U.S. is $73,113. But one person isn’t a team. Realistically, you’ll want a team of about five people. That brings your total up to $365,565. But remember: that’s based on average salaries in the U.S. If you’re doing business in a pricey metro area such as New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, you’ll have to adjust accordingly.

And don’t forget that salaries only account for about 70 percent of total employer costs for private businesses. Factor in the other 30 percent of the cost of hiring a five-person team, and you’re looking at an annual price tag of $519,268.

This is not to say that hiring your own marketing team is a bad idea. But when it comes to in-house vs. agency, be sure you’re considering the true cost and actual benefits of each.

Are You Getting What You Paid for in Marketing?

Now, if you’re a founder or executive of a growing startup and you’re putting your marketing team in place, you may have read the above and thought, “That doesn’t apply to us—we’re just hiring one or two marketing staff for now and building our team over time.”

In that case, yes, your total cost may only be about $200,000 per year. But will one or two staff be able to handle all aspects of your marketing?

If you’re serious about winning market share, you’ll need killer messaging. Winning strategies. Top-notch content. Eye-grabbing design. SEO. Expertise with today’s growing list of social channels. Experience managing online advertising platforms like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn..And much more.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll find this breadth of expertise in one or two people—which means that even after investing in your marketing team, you’ll be scrambling to engage outside professionals to fill in the gaps.

Also consider the fact that when a growing company hires in-house marketing staff, it usually ends up with junior-level employees. You may be able to offer an exciting work environment, flexible telecommute policies, free lunches, on-site massage, and a host of other cool perks. And you may be willing to go above the average salaries listed to land the right people.

But in the end, most senior-level talents who already have jobs with well-established companies rarely want to take a chance and leap to smaller firms. To lure them to your company, you’d have to blow them away with your offer.

Now, some junior employees do go on to become superstars—and they might do so under your roof. But you can’t count on it as you debate “in-house vs. agency.”

A Key Financial Consideration for “In-House vs. Agency”

Again, we’re not saying that hiring an in-house marketing staff is necessarily the wrong decision for your growing firm. But consider the cost savings of outsourcing your marketing activities.

You can engage a marketing agency on an as-needed basis, project by project. In this case, you’ll pay for only the services you need. Need a messaging platform written for the coming year? Bring in the experts and have them come up with a document that will guide your communications throughout the year.

Or you can engage a marketing agency on a retainer basis, and you can set the monthly retainer at a level to match your budget. Only have $6K per month to spend? An agency will provide you with a mix of content, email marketing, social media marketing and paid advertising services for that fee. And you’ll have access to top notch marketing talent for each service included in your retainer.

These are just two examples. We recommend that you crunch the numbers. Ask some agencies for proposals. Compare the quality of the team you could hire with the team from an agency. You’ll likely come to the same conclusion that we did. Unless you can afford to hire your own team of 5-6 people, working with an agency is going to be the smarter way to go.

Get More Support for Your Decision

Want to learn more about how to answer the question of “in-house vs. agency”?

Download our new article: The CEO’s Dilemma: Build a Marketing Department or Outsource It?

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