February 13, 2022

How much does it cost to hire a marketing agency?

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Scott Rosenbluth

Founder & CEO

Let’s be honest: if you’re looking to boost your marketing and you don’t already have a robust internal marketing team, budget is probably one of your primary concerns. Whether you need someone to consistently man your social media accounts or a marketing industry professional to launch a new product, you're probably wondering: "What's this going to cost me?"

The way we see it, you have three main options:

  1. Begin building your in-house team,
  2. Work with freelancers, or
  3. Hire a marketing agency.

There are pros and cons — financially and otherwise! — to each approach. Let's dive into each below.

Hiring an in-house marketing team

Having your own marketing staff is underrated among startups. An in-house team is especially useful because they know your product inside out, they're familiar with your products’ opportunities and pain points, and they can keep your branding consistent across your entire digital marketing strategy.

So what will hiring an in-house marketing manager cost you?

Even on the lower end, the average salary of a marketing coordinator in the United States is $58,156, which comes out to just shy of $5,000 each month. Depending on where you're based, that number might be higher or lower, but it likely won't get much cheaper.

The downside of hiring a marketing professional in-house — if your marketing budget isn't very high — is that you're not only paying for your new hire to complete marketing tasks... you're also paying for their healthcare, vacation days, unemployment insurance, and training.

You're also limited to solely your employee's marketing specializations, as well as their time constraints. Even if you bring in a T-shaped marketer as your first marketing hire, you can't reasonably expect them to be a pro at graphic design, social media marketing, content marketing, and Google AdWords.

If you decide to go with an in-house hire, expect that your marketing manager will end up playing more of a "quarterback" role as you expand your marketing tactics — working with external freelancers and contractors to plug their knowledge gaps and expand your company's reach until you can afford to grow their team.

Working with freelancers

If your budget is tight and your project scope is limited, working with freelancers can be a great option. You can often find freelancers that either work off a set hourly rate or a monthly retainer, making it easy to keep your costs contained. Freelancers also tend to specialize, so if you need one thing done very, very well — such as graphic design, social media management, search engine optimization, or blog posts — a freelancer can be a solid choice.

The cost of hiring a freelancer varies pretty drastically, of course. On a marketplace like MarketerHire, companies can expect to pay between $2,400 and $4,800 a week for full-time hours from a freelancer. However, other platforms — like Upwork or Fiverr — will often list freelancers' hourly rates or monthly retainer fees at a lower rate.

The one thing you'll want to keep in mind with freelancers is that each freelancer will need plenty of direction and guidance. They'll also each have their own specialty, so you'll have to ensure you're playing project manager across your freelancers and that each piece of the puzzle (whether photography, graphics, content, or design) fits together with the rest.

Freelancers also have other clients. Just because you need something done by a certain date, doesn’t mean it’ll be delivered then. It’s also worth noting that it takes a while to source and develop a relationship with a freelancer before you can find the right person for you. If you are relying on multiple freelancers, remember to factor in plenty of buffer time for training, editing, and scheduling.

Hiring a marketing agency

When it comes to working with an agency, you have a few options. First of all, consider your marketing needs. Do you have one specific marketing need that you need done really, really well? In that case, consider hiring a specialist marketing agency — for instance, an influencer marketing team, an email marketing powerhouse, or a graphic design agency.

Alternatively, you can also work with a full-stack marketing agency. We're biased, of course, since that's how we operate here at Craze. However, a full-stack agency makes sense when you need:

  • Expert guidance. Know that you want to double your monthly leads with inbound marketing, but not sure how to do it? Work with an agency that doesn't just provide a service, but gives you the same advice and leadership that a Chief Marketing Officer would. The right full-stack agency will act as a fractional CMO, helping you figure out exactly which digital marketing services you should use in order to hit your goals. (This is how you see a strong return on investment with your marketing.)

  • Varied digital marketing services, carried out regularly. At Craze, our teams are made up of email marketing pros, social media and paid ad experts, content marketers, and photographers. Once you and your marketing manager decide on the best path forward to reaching your goals, our agency plugs in the right experts — all at the same flat rates for your campaigns.

    We call this “operational marketing,” because we handle all of the operations of your day-to-day marketing. That can mean anything from scheduling your social media posts (and taking the pictures needed for them) and writing your email campaigns to managing your your press efforts and launching new products. 

Marketing agency costs vary depending on the marketing partner you work with, of course. Superside, for instance, is a graphic design agency whose monthly costs range from $3,000 to $80,000 a month. At Craze, our average users pay $7,500 a month, and we vary the marketing tactics we use depending on the client's business goals. That means you're getting the expertise of multiple channel experts at the real cost of one full-time hire — with all the same flexibility of working with a freelancer.

How marketing agency costs can save your company cash in the long run

According to MarketerHire's 2021 Freelance Revolution Report, companies estimate that they save $71,000 per campaign when they outsource marketing.

That doesn't mean that outsourcing marketing to a digital marketing agency or a contractor is always the right move, of course. Sometimes, an in-house team is going to get you the best results or make the most sense. But — as always — it all comes down to your marketing goals, your strategy, and what needs you're looking to fill at this point in time.

Curious about Craze's digital marketing services and how we can help you achieve your goals? Reach out to our team. We'll be in touch shortly for a free consulting call.