I’m often asked why a business should hire a marketing agency like Tell Your Tale instead of hiring employees to handle marketing. The biggest reason is certainly cost. Hiring versus outsourcing is an age-old dilemma but one that often concludes with cost savings through outsourcing. When hiring marketing staff as employees, there are higher costs—both hard and soft—to remember that aren’t extended to the client/business owner who’s working with a marketing agency. Let’s explore.

  • Recruiting candidates: Whether a business owner is paying HR personnel to recruit, running ads on Indeed.com or other recruitment portals or paying other employees to attend job fairs, costs start with finding, interviewing and attracting candidates. With millennials job jumping more frequently than other generations, your recruitment for marketing team members can be put in an expensive, recurring cycle. “Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace ‘Multiple Generations @ Work’ survey.”1 Hiring and retaining marketing talent into a business can be challenging.
  • In contrast, a marketing agency has already built a team of marketing experts and absorbed those operating costs. The marketing firm takes the recruitment burden off the business owner, saving time and money. Of course, business owners have to find the right agency to work with (recruitment in some sense) but once you’ve found the right fit, the agency should alleviate the clients’ headaches of replacing personnel. Marketing agencies also attract marketing talent by sharing best practices, offering industry-specific mentoring and exposing agency hires to a range of companies, which is attractive to people aiming to enhance their marketing experience.

  • Overhead Costs: When you hire internal marketing staff, business owners should expect to incur costs such as computers, marketing-specific software such as the Adobe Creative Suite (single app plan starts at $29.99/month per license), ongoing marketing training, furniture (dual monitors is very common for marketing professionals) and more. Some of this is specific to the marketing field so the costs are NOT common or shared with other departments.
  • Marketing agencies have these same costs but they’re able to spread the costs across multiple clients in their regular rates and at least in part absorb some of the costs as a cost of doing business. Business owners benefit from this model by getting economies of scale by going with a marketing agency.
  • Expertise and Breadth: One of the greatest costs business owners face with hiring marketing employees is hiring people with the right expertise and breadth of knowledge. An impressive graphic designer doesn’t usually have the strong writing skills of a professional writer or the web development skills to update or maintain your website. Similarly, a pro at securing media coverage (public relations/PR) doesn’t have the skills required to update your website. If you’re looking to hire internal marketing staff, you’re likely needing a variety of skills. Hiring these different skill sets means the costs of multiple employees and associated costs for each employee. Your costs also increase with the level of experience the employee has. Unfortunately, internal staff often gets redirected to other initiatives, rather than remaining focused on true marketing efforts.
  • On the flip side, a marketing agency brings these varied skills to each client, assigning the right marketing expert to each project as needed by the client. Business owners can cap their marketing expenses by agreeing to pay a marketing agency a set amount, a “retainer”, while the agency is tapped with resource allocation. Again, owners save time, costs and a lot of headaches by working with an agency.

Marketing agencies can alleviate small and medium-sized businesses’ headaches by replacing their internal marketing positions that come with high costs and instead offer broad marketing skills at an expert level at containable costs. For more information on how our agency can take your marketing to the next level while managing your costs, contact us.

  1. Job Hopping Is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials: Three Ways to Prevent a Human Resource Nightmare,” Forbes. August 14, 2012