Should You Hire A Digital Marketing Agency?

by James Lawrence on 
March 30, 2021 | 
Digital Marketing Strategy
James Lawrence

Most businesses now need to digitally market themselves to remain competitive. But they don’t necessarily have to put their marketing experts on the payroll.

Let’s address the elephant in the room straight away – Rocket Agency has a dog in the digital marketing insourcing-outsourcing fight. But believe it not, we don’t think every business should outsource its digital marketing. The following article is a genuine attempt to outline both the pros and cons of hiring a marketing manager (or establishing a digital marketing department) vs signing a contract with a digital marketing agency.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s explore the arguments for insourcing and outsourcing.

The first consideration: Cost

The average annual base pay of a marketing manager is $100,000.

The average annual base pay of a marketing co-ordinator is $60,000.

Of course, there are also related costs, such as certainty of recruitment expenses and the possibility of having to shell out ‘go away money’ if the new recruit doesn’t work out.

If you’re considering insourcing, you should also take into account that a single marketing manager or co-ordinator is unlikely to have the time or skill set required to single-handedly run a sophisticated campaign using multiple marketing channels. That means there may be other outgoings in the form of payments to freelance content creators, SEO experts, videographers, graphic designers and so on.

All that noted, engaging an external provider of digital marketing services won’t necessarily be cheaper.

For instance, as a digital marketing agency in Sydney and Melbourne, Rocket charges $3,000 - $15,000 per channel or per agile marketing campaign per month, depending on the complexity and breadth of the engagement.

The takeaway: Whether it is insourced or outsourced, creating and implementing a solid digital marketing strategy is never cheap. There isn't a fixed answer to the question how much do digital marketers charge because it depends on more than just cost estimates alone. Given cost isn’t likely to be the deciding variable, two other factors need to be taken into account…

The second consideration: Resources on offer

A digital marketing specialist working 38 hours a week can take care of the basics. If your business only needs a few Facebook posts written every week, along with the occasional whitepaper and sales email, hiring a marketing co-ordinator is probably the sensible choice.

The catch is that it’s a fast-moving, dog-eat-dog world out there. While some Facebook posts and the odd sales email is much better than nothing, they’re not likely to have much of an impact if your rivals are investing in, for instance, Adjacent Search, Smart Bidding, Chatbot Takeover and cutting-edge video content.

Digital marketing agencies work with differently sized and situated businesses in a range of industries. That means a team of agency staffers is usually more capable of generating innovative ideas than a single, frustrated in-house marketer.

Also, agencies that don’t deliver results for their clients don’t last long. That means agency staff are incentivised to create the kind of attention-grabbing, envelope-pushing, award-winning work that delights existing clients and attracts new ones.

Rocket Agency currently employs over 30 digital marketing professionals and expects them all to remain at the forefront of the digital marketing services they specialise in - be it SEO, Google Ads, social media advertising or email and marketing automation.

The takeaway: If you run a smaller business that only needs straightforward and well-established digital marketing services, you can handle things in-house. If you run a larger business in a cut-throat industry, outsourcing is likely to be the smart choice.

The final consideration: Nature of the relationship

The arguments for insourcing digital marketing are much the same for insourcing any other business function. An in-house marketer will be readily available during business hours. They will have a deep understanding of your business. And they will have more ‘skin in the game’ in relation to the ongoing success of that business than any agency could ever have.

Reasonably enough, some business owners and CEOs prefer building in-house capabilities, even if that involves greater cost or a relatively limited talent pool. (In recent years, several multinationals, such as Chobani, Pepsi and Unilever, have chosen to bring their marketing in-house precisely because they believed it would be cheaper, or less frustrating, or more effective than using an agency.)

In contrast, any relationship a business has with an agency (i.e. an outsourced marketing department) will inevitably be more distant and unwieldy.

The takeaway: If you run a small or big business and want to ‘own’ your marketer(s), insourcing is the way to go. If you run a business that’s neither very small nor very large and want access to a deep bench of digital marketing experts, outsourcing makes a lot of sense. Agency services can be tailored to suit your specific marketing needs. For example, if your business is struggling with Facebook ads, then it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a specialist online social media marketing agency rather than taking an all-encompassing approach to digital marketing

Internal Marketing Champion + Specialist Digital Marketing Agency = The Best Marketing Combo

I think it’s quite clear as to why In-house marketing professionals are important for a business.

In our experience as a digital marketing company in Sydney and Melbourne, SMEs with the best marketing results have small functional marketing team to run the day-to-day and partner with an agency like Rocket to outsource a chunky part of their digital advertising. The internal marketing champion is the best person to leverage the agency’s specialist skills, ensure internal and agency marketing alignment, direct the agency on outcomes, brief marketing campaigns and overall help maximise the impact an agency can have on the bottom line.

If you’d like to learn more about how Rocket partners with marketing managers as their outsourced marketing team, call 1300 059 620 or leave a message to set up a no-strings-attached chat with one of our marketing specialists.

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James Lawrence
Co-Founder & Director | Rocket Agency

James is co-founder of multi-award-winning Australian digital marketing agency Rocket, keynote speaker, host of Apple’s #1 Marketing Podcast, Smarter Marketer, and co-author of the 2019 Amazon Australia’s #1 best-selling marketing book of the same name. He was also a finalist in 2019 and 2020 B&T Marketer of the Year.

James’ 15-year marketing career working with more than 500 in-house marketing teams inspired the 2019 release of Smarter Marketer. It has been endorsed by marketers at some of Australia’s leading brands, including Hubspot and KPMG.

In 2022, James launched the Smarter Marketer podcast, the definitive podcast for Australian marketers. Released fortnightly, James sits down with local experts and global authorities to discuss how Australian marketers can become more successful in their careers.

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