If you’re starting a small or medium-sized business, you’re probably focusing on what you do best—whether it’s baking cakes, selling the latest fashions, or providing IT services. You know marketing is important, but it’s probably not your main area of expertise.

As your business develops and (hopefully) grows, you’ll need to seriously think about how the ongoing marketing of your brand will be handled. It can be a challenging and confusing decision, but if you are trying to decide between hiring an outside marketing agency or developing an in-house marketing team, take a moment to consider the following. You may discover that an outside marketing agency is the best solution.

1. You don’t need to set up, train, or manage an outside marketing agency.
Onboarding and training employees to understand their roles in your organization is time consuming. Many businesses spend months on the training process and/or developing the skills needed for the position. And after that is completed, you may still need to spend time managing the employee and making sure they stay on task while you continue with your responsibilities.
With an outside marketing agency, it’s a different relationship. There is no need for training because they are already experienced in developing and growing brands and understand how to evaluate various business models in order to establish a solid marketing program. The only training, per se, is the marketing agency taking the time to understand your business and your audience, something they do on a daily basis for all their clients. This allows you as the owner to focus on what you do best—run your business.

2. You’ll potentially save a lot of money.
Probably one of the first details a business considers when determining whether to work with an outside marketing agency or create an in-house marketing team is “What’s the cost difference?” Contrary to what you may think at first, an outside marketing and agency, over the long term, will probably be less expensive, and here is why:

There is no need to pay payroll taxes since they are an outside contractor.

You won’t need to worry about rising healthcare costs or benefit packages.

You won’t have to invest company capital for the tools, software, and training needed to run and measure marketing campaigns.

If you believe that those are just startup expenses, you will also want to consider that to hire the experience and expertise that an outside marketing agency would bring, you would need to hire employees with very specific skill sets. Here are average yearly salaries for just a few key marketing roles:*

Marketing/Brand Manager: $70,000 to $120,000

Full-Time Social Media Manager: $45,000 to $60,000

SEO Manager: $65,000 to $90,000

When you consider just those three positions and realize that an outside marketing agency may only charge your business anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000 per month, depending on your brand’s marketing needs, the savings start to seem obvious.

3. You’ll have access to a team of experts, and YOU’RE the customer.
Currently the job market is doing well. That’s a plus if you’re looking for a job, but not great for an organization looking to hire experienced talent. Why? The competition for good employees is at an all-time high, and brands are willing to pay top dollar to hire or retain qualified talent. If you’re looking to hire an in-house expert to manage your marketing and branding campaigns, you’ll need a serious budget to back it up considering the costs mentioned previously. If you choose to hire an agency, you will have access to not just one expert, but an entire organization of experts all focused on you and your brand.

Last but not least…
If hiring a marketing and branding agency is something you’re now interested in, be sure to evaluate your options carefully. Have a realistic idea of what you want to accomplish, along with an idea of what your annual marketing budget will be. Consider the agency’s personality and culture as well. Do they share the same values as your organization, and will you feel comfortable having an open and honest dialogue with them? Addressing these important first steps will help ensure a strong relationship and successful marketing for your brand.

*Salary ranges were provided by evaluating the averages at current employment sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale.