February 19, 2021

By Nate

When pondering the options to grow their business, most entrepreneurs will ask themselves some version of this age-old question:

Should I work with a marketing company, or hire someone internally?

We’ve laid out the pros and cons of both to help you decide which option would work best for your business.

Working with a Marketing Company

The Pros

Bang For Your Buck

There is a common misconception that hiring an employee is less expensive than working with a marketing company. That’s because the many hidden fees involved in hiring — recruiting, onboarding, tools, benefits and taxes, not to mention the possibility of a bad hire — aren’t factored in. The reality is that, on average, working with a marketing company will cost half the fees involved in hiring a senior marketing director (or 2-3 junior staff members requiring extensive training).

Full Toolbox

When you work with a marketing company, your business gains access to a host of dedicated marketing experts, including SEO, PPC, content creation, graphic design, web developers, social media, email marketing, and more. It would be virtually impossible for one employee or a small team to match the breadth of experience and competencies of a larger marketing company.

Fresh Perspective

By working with an outside team, you open yourself up to a fresh perspective on your business and a new lens from which to make decisions. Each member of a company brings unique ideas to the table, and they all work synergistically to provide a wide range of services. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to try new things in order to achieve better results.

Tried and Tested Expertise

As companies work with multiple clients, they get to test theories, gain insights, and refine their processes over time. By bringing their understanding of what works and what doesn’t from previous clients, they’re able to apply their findings to your business and fasttrack your results.

Peace of Mind

When you hire a company, you get to take a step back and let some of the responsibility fall off your shoulders. The team involved will work to keep projects moving along so you don’t have to. They should create a plan based on thorough industry research, and then execute, analyze, and adjust as necessary — all while keeping you up-to-date.

Tools and Software Included

In order to remain competitive, marketing companies will ensure that their employees are fully trained and are constantly staying on top of the latest trends, software, and technologies. This saves you from needing to invest in the requisite tools of the trade — be it Salesforce, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Adobe Creative, etc. — that would cost a pretty penny to purchase for an internal team.

The Cons

Lack of Inside Knowledge 

While a company may be highly skilled in all things marketing, it may not have a background in your particular field or industry. If that’s the case, the team will need to familiarize itself with your business process, audience, and terminology. This can be remedied by hiring a company that specializes in your specific industry. For example, at Intrigue, our core focus is helping businesses in the home improvement, landscaping, and construction industries.

Learning Curve

It’s often difficult to hit the ground running right away after hiring a company. The client-company relationship requires a bit of a discovery period which may require some back-and-forth time. Be sure to work with a company that has an established familiarization process to understand your business.

Communication Delays

When issues arise or ideas need to be brainstormed, it may be convenient to connect with a marketing manager at a moment’s notice. Some companies may be slower to get back to you than an employee. If you’re working with a company, be sure that clear expectations around communication and timelines are established.

Download the Rate Your Marketing Company Checklist

Hiring an Internal Employee or Team

The Pros

Industry Know-How 

Hiring an internal employee allows you to handpick a professional who may be highly-trained in your industry. They may be intimately aware of your audience and in tune with your messaging, which can be a huge competitive advantage.

Brand Consistency

Over time, your marketing manager will become fully-aligned with other areas of your company, from sales to human resources. This can help to promote efficiency, brand consistency, and cross-departmental collaboration.

Full-Time Dedication

An employee will work solely for your business, which means that they can dedicate all of their time to your marketing efforts. They won’t have the demands of other companies vying for their attention, as can be the case with some marketing companies.

The Cons

Multiple Hires

A good marketing plan will require multiple resources and skill sets. Most marketing professionals are either experts in one area — for example, an SEO specialist, a graphic designer, or a web developer — or marginally good at a few. This means that in most cases, more than one hire would be required to get the job done right, which can become a very costly endeavour.

Added Responsibility

In many cases, hiring an individual creates added responsibility with training, assisting, and supervising. You’ll also need to consider the many other aspects involved in hiring an employee, such as benefits, vacation, sick days, bonuses, taxes, etc., and decide whether you can shoulder the extra burden.

Ultimately, the decision to work with an external team or to hire someone internally will depend on your business and the direction in which you want to take it. There is no right or wrong answer.

If you only need one aspect of your marketing campaign managed, you may want to hire a single employee. If you are looking for a full-service marketing strategy to manage all aspects of your digital presence, then it makes more sense to choose a company. In some cases, a combination of both options may be the right fit for your business.

If you would like a second opinion of which option may be best for your business, reach out to the team at Intrigue.

Nate works to drive Intrigue's growth goals through data-driven inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs free up their time so that they can focus on what they do best: run amazing companies. You can usually catch him riding his mountain bike or devouring a slice of pizza.

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