Nitrous Effect |

Although businesses will always need employees to steer the ship, outsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular option in many industries and for many different departments. In lieu of an internal team, lots of brands rely on marketing consultants to quickly fill in the gaps and grow their business.

In the new world of COVID-19 and WFH, there’s clearly a demand for post-pandemic marketing: between 2020 and 2021, there was a 13% increase in the number of digital marketing agencies in the US.

But what option is best for your business? You know you need a skilled professional managing your social media, SEO, web content, and more. And now you might be at a crossroads where you’re trying to decide between outsourcing to an agency or hiring an in-house marketing manager.

Marketing consultant vs. marketing manager

Every business is different, so there’s no entirely right or wrong answer. However, you can get the most out of your marketing budget by understanding the differences between hiring a marketing consultant or a marketing manager. 

Let’s discuss the six ways a marketing consultant might differ from an in-house marketing manager so you can invest your resources wisely.

  1. Cost

The average marketing manager’s salary is more than $100,000 a year. Even an entry-level marketer earns a salary of around $40,000 a year.

If you hire an in-house employee, you’re responsible for paying not only their salary, but also providing benefits, too. If cost is your primary concern, an employee is definitely the more expensive option because of the overhead they come with. And that’s just the beginning. You’ll also need to account for advertising spend, tools and technology, and other expenses to actually market your business. 

Marketing consulting is the more affordable option. A qualified agency will charge you anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on your location and level of service.

On the high end of the scale, a marketing agency can be as expensive as hiring an employee. However, it’s important to remember that agencies manage their costs effectively, making the most of your spend with a more skilled team and ready-to-go resources that are on the payroll only for the amount of time you need them.

  1. Familiarity

It’s normal in marketing consulting for the agency to take the time to know your business. Because they aren’t working in the business every day, the agency team will interview you to get up to speed. 

A marketing manager, on the other hand, is already a part of your team and understands the business. Once they’re onboard, there’s a reduced learning curve with internal employees, who may offer more organizational wisdom because of their tenure at the company. 

  1. Skills and Experience

If you run a growing business, you need a marketing manager who can do it all. But hiring someone with graphic design, social media, public speaking, video, and content writing skills is very difficult. Even if you find a candidate with these skills, you’ll need to pay them a generous salary for their expertise.

A marketing agency is the better option if you want a variety of skill sets. Agencies have big teams with talented employees who specialize in every aspect of marketing. 

If you need different skill sets for your marketing campaigns, go with a marketing consultant instead of hiring several in-house employees. They already have the skills, processes, and software tools to get results in less time.

  1. Time

How much time do you have? Managing an internal team will cost you more time and cause more headaches.

It takes hours of training to get a new employee up to speed. As the business owner, you’re also responsible for managing, disciplining, and promoting this employee, and that takes a lot of time and resources too.

If you only hire one marketer for the entire organization, even an experienced manager will take hours to complete a task that an agency can do much more quickly.

Marketing consulting firms give you more of your time back. If you want a hands-off approach to marketing where the experts handle the hard work and you reap the benefits, a marketing agency is the better choice. Plus, even if a team member leaves, the agency has the resources and personnel to quickly fill their shoes and avoid any potential roadblocks.

  1. Focus

Although agencies will save you more time overall, in-house marketing managers can sometimes offer deeper focus and quicker response times. After all, internal employees will always be committed to your success and their success in the role. 

Your employees only focus on your business. A marketing consulting firm, on the other hand, manages your account, as well as other clients’ marketing needs. It may take a day or so to get a response from your agency team because they’re working with multiple clients.

If you like having a marketer on-site to handle urgent requests or last-minute projects, an in-house marketing manager may be the better choice. 

  1. Contracts

When an employee isn’t performing, you could put them on a performance improvement plan (PIP) or, ultimately, let them go. This gives you some control over the future of your business, as well as your budget. 

But marketing agencies often work on a contract basis. Depending on the agency, you may need to sign a monthly or yearly agreement to lock your marketing in place for the next year, but you’re not married to that agency. If their performance is not up to your satisfaction, you can go your separate ways.

It’s important to select a marketing agency that you can trust will deliver results. You can usually negotiate a trial period before agreeing to a long-term contract so you know you’re making a wise decision.

The Bottom Line

Marketing consulting and internal marketing teams both have their pros and cons. It’s up to you to choose the best option for your business. If you value culture-building and have the capacity for new employees, an in-house manager might be for you. But if it’s time for your brand to hand off marketing to the experts, The Nitrous Effect is here to help. Refresh your marketing efforts with an experienced team that lives and breathes marketing. Get in touch with us now to outsource your marketing and plan your next big move.