Build an In-house Digital Marketing Team vs Hiring an Agency - A&D Marketing Solutions

Andrés Angulo

CEO & Co-Founder

Build an Inhouse Digital Marketing Vs Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Should your business build its own digital marketing team or hire an agency?

What is best for your business?

Answers to these questions can never be to general. The reality of it is that it depends. It depends on your marketing budget, your buyer persona and your niche. But to be honest, it mostly depends on your budget.

Large businesses can afford a highly skilled digital marketing team, and normally they have a very well prepared and high payed group of marketers to overlook the company’s digital efforts while also partner with agencies in specific markets that can help to reach the objectives of the central digital marketing team.

But if you are not a multinational but instead a small or medium business. Can you afford such a team?

    First let’s list the components of a complete and effective digital marketing team.

  1. Digital Marketing Manager

  2. Content Manager

  3. Copywriter

  4. Graphic Designer

  5. Web Designer

  6. Web Developer

  7. SEO Specialist / SEM Specialist

  8. Social Media Manager

  9. Email Marketer

Build an In-house Digital Marketing Team vs Hiring an Digital Marketing Agency: Benefits, Risks and Costs. What is best for your business?

With this team, you can ensure to have specialists in each area. Many small businesses make the mistake of having a digital handler. This is a person that attempts to manage all the digital areas of your company. This is erroneous for many reasons, but let’s name a few:

  • a. Even if you have a very knowledgeable digital savvy employee, it is impossible that he or she can handle all this work effectively.

  • b. The digital world is complex and has many components that require constant actualization and expertise. Can one person really be an expert at: email marketing, web analytics, PPC, content marketing, graphic design, web development, etc. and still be able to execute all those labors in an effective way?

  • c. Each specialty is different and has its own processes and updates.

There are many areas that must be addressed to execute an effective digital marketing strategy, and like in any other aspect of your business. You want the best and most qualified prospects in each area to get the best results.

    Let’s look at several factors that must be considered before making the decision of what is best:
    1) Logistics
    2) Cost
    3) Quality

  1. Logistics:

    a. In-house Digital Marketing Team:

    Putting together a solid digital marketing team is not simple. But if your company has the resources and the time to build that team, then it definitely has its benefits.

    Some of these benefits, are: your marketing team will be much more knowledgeable about your business and your products or services. They will also be up to date with real time interactions with your customers, allowing to customize your strategy to a whole other level.

    The logistics of having your own digital marketing team can also be time consuming, and you could witness that your

    digital marketing plan

    may take longer to launch than if you hired an agency. You have to begin hiring a Digital Marketing Manager, one that has the expertise and knowledge to develop digital strategies and manage a team of at least 5 digital marketers.

    Once the digital manager has been selected, with his/her help, you must go on to hire your other personnel. Take in mind, that for a complete and congruent strategy, you need a Web Analytics expert, a Social Media Expert, a PPC expert, a web developer, a graphic designer (preferably with front end design experience) and a content marketer. This team will provide the essentials to run consistent and effective digital campaigns.

    Your team has been hired, and in the ideal situation, they are adequate and very professional. Now you must go through the onboarding stage, so that they are familiar with your business, your services or products, your audience and the type of marketing methodology that you are going to apply. Taking this into consideration, from the moment you decided to have your own digital marketing team and you hired and trained them, you could be looking at 3 months before your digital strategy is up and running.

    b. Digital Marketing Agency:

    With an agency, all this logistics are far simpler. You must scout around to

    find the right agency

    , once that is found, all you should do is sign a contract and go through the proper onboarding phase, that normally, shouldn’t be more than 30 days (depending on the scope of the project).

    Once you hired the agency, you have avoided the hiring and screening process for each new employee. The agency has already done this, and if it is a very professional agency, you have also avoided the risk of hiring incompetent digital marketers, since an agency has already assured a certified and capable team.

    All this process can save you two months in comparison to the average 3 months to develop a team and the digital strategies necessary to excel your business.

    Build an In-house Digital Marketing Team vs Hiring an Digital Marketing Agency: Benefits, Risks and Costs. What is best for your business?
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  2. Cost:

    A very important factor when choosing between an in-house team or an agency is the cost. Let’s take into consideration the level of expertise, and this will mean that everyone in your company’s new marketing team is at an agency-level of expertise.

    a. In-house Digital Marketing Team:

    Before we go straight to what the costs of an effective team would be, let’s just briefly mention certain factors that will increase this cost. These are: recruitment costs, hiring costs, benefits, paid leaves, insurance and taxes. Not to mention the costs of bad hires, which normally rounds to between $25k and $50k.

    Team Cost (3 / 5 years):

    - Digital Marketing Manager: Low Annual $70,394 & High Annual $150,481

    - Content Manager: Low Annual $66,000 & High Annual $90,250

    - Copywriter: Low Annual $77,500 & High Annual $109,750

    - Graphic Designer: Low Annual $66,500 & High Annual $93,000

    - Web Designer: Low Annual $81,000 & High Annual $113,750

    - Web Developer: Low Annual $81,000 & High Annual $113,750

    - SEO / SEM Specialist: Low Annual $73,500 & High Annual $102,750

    - Social Media Manager: Low Annual $68,250 & High Annual $93,500

    - Email Marketer: Low Annual $67,494 & High Annual $92,761

    * Total Cost: Low Annual $651,638 & High Annual $959.992

    These are conservative figures, that could be reduced or increased by the size of your team and the scope of your objectives.

    b. Digital Marketing Agency:

    If you work with an agency, you directly decrease recruitment, hiring and all the benefits costs. Those are costs that each agency must handle, not you.

    The costs of hiring an agency come in with a great advantage, and that is that for a monthly retainer you get a fully qualified team composed of Social Media Managers, Copywriters, Content Managers, SEO/SEM Specialist, Web Designers, Web Developers, Graphic Designers, Marketing Analytics expert, Email Marketers and more.

    This whole team could be at your business’ disposal for a monthly retainer, that depending on your industry and scope of work, could range from: $2,500 to $25,000.

    This would amount for: Low Annual of: $24,000 and a High Annual of: $96,000. This investment is considerably smaller than having your own digital marketing in-house team.

  3. Quality:

    The quality of your marketing efforts depends greatly on the quality of the members of the team.

    a. In-House Digital Marketing Team:

    You must have a very professional and well updated digital marketing manager to make sure that your whole team is constantly up-to-date with the constant innovations that permeate the digital marketing world. Apart from that, you must be willing to pay for the required education to have your team be competitive in the digital industry.

    You must also make sure that everyone in your team has the necessary certifications, these include: Adwords, Analytics, Inbound, Facebook Blueprint, etc. All of this is possible, and if achieved, very beneficial to your business.

    b. Digital Marketing Agency:

    One of the great advantages of going with an agency for your digital marketing efforts is that they handle the quality of their team, and for the most part, they make a huge investment to have the most qualified personnel. They go through the efforts of screening and education of their team to ensure the best quality. With a professional agency, you can be sure that you will getting a highly-qualified team avoiding the hassles of managing such a team.

A correct answer for this question is hard to come by, but if you are running a small or medium business, due to the logistics, costs and quality, an agency may be the safest and most effective solution to your digital marketing needs.

(Thanks to Payscale.com for providing salaries information.)