When To Partner with a Digital Agency: Outsource or Hire Internally?

By July 6, 2020July 28th, 2020No Comments
Digital Agency - Wellington

Knowing when to hire a digital agency for your marketing or to go out to the marketplace and hire internally can be a huge decision for all businesses. It comes to a point where business owners meet a crossroad and realise they need to hire a team to help them go to the next level.

Digital marketing has now become more complex than ever before. With more platforms and software at your disposal, how do you know which to use? What strategies to implement? And who you can trust to take on the work?

I’m sure we can both agree, you need a reliable team to take this off your hands so you can focus on your business.

Below we will breakdown the pros and cons of each option and provide an example of a business hiring timeline.

Hiring Internally

By hiring a marketing team internally we mean your business has employed a minimum of 3-4 full-time staff members on a salary. Why this many people? Simply put, just one specialist isn’t enough. There are so many complexities with digital marketing and you can’t expect one person to do it all.

Such as needing:

and so on.

There is a lot of software and programs out there and you can’t expect one person to take on all this responsibility. This is simply unrealistic as a business owner but you would be surprised how many times we see this. As the saying goes ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Hiring an experienced in-house team requires time and is a longer-term strategy.

Now the big question here is since you ideally need a minimum of four marketers on your team, how can you afford this? An intermediate marketing person’s salary can expect to be 50k per year. Times this by four people and you now are paying $200k just to support your marketing team. On top of this, they still require training and most likely you would need a senior marketer that will cost a lot more than 50k per year to manage the juniors. This is something to take into consideration.

Another key point to make is if an internal staff member leaves, then they take the intellectual property with them. Leaving you to pick up the pieces and find the next unicorn marketer to replace them.

While this may sound risky for most small to medium-size businesses, companies that are generating over 5mil revenue per year could reap the rewards of investing in an internal marketing team. From faster implementation and easy access to important data.

Below outlines the clear pros and cons of hiring an internal marketing team:


  • Full-Time team working directly on your business
  • Accessible in real-time
  • Build the size of your team
  • Manage strategies and processes yourself
  • Ability to work on tighter deadlines


  • The yearly cost of paying for full-time staff (Paying their taxes, retirement scheme etc)
  • Hiring inexperienced people who don’t deliver results
  • Needing office space
  • The time required to manage and train the team
  • Software payments required for the work
  • Dealing with sick & holiday leave

Hiring a Digital Agency

As touched on above, hiring a digital agency to take on all of your marketing can be a smart move for most small to medium size companies. For the cost of paying for one full-time in house marketer, you can get access to a full team of specialists who have already show a proven track record.

You don’t need to worry about managing the team, organizing leave, or paying their taxes. You come to the agreement with the digital agency on a retainer fee each month and that is it. Everything is taken care of from creating the strategies, implementation on the platforms/software and dealing with any technical issues which could arise.

Depending on where your business is at, you may not be able to afford every single service the digital agency offers, however they should be able to identify what is the one major thing you need to focus on and start from there. This is what we do in our free 45-minute strategy calls. We understand not everyone can commit to everything straight away which is why digital marketing agencies should grow with you.

Below outlines the pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing to an agency:


  • Access to a full team of specialists with a track record of success
  • Pay one retainer fee for all of your marketing (you do not have to pay their tax or other legal requirements)
  • Full done-for-you service (no management required)
  • A lot more affordable in your growth stage of business
  • Intellectual property remains with the agency so no progress is slowed down


  • Not having direct access to marketers and dealing with account managers
  • Time delays from other client work
  • Only affordable to existing business owners generating revenue

Example of a Companies Timeline When Hiring

0-6 Months

Working by yourself or in a small team. Have to do all the work yourself since your revenue is low. The goal is to find consistent revenue from the client base. Unable to hire a digital agency or hire in-house staff.

6-12 Months

Built-up some revenue and may look at hiring a digital marketing agency for small amounts of work depending on what they can afford. Could still not afford a full time-marketer at this stage.

1-2 years

Has committed with a digital agency to take care of the workload in 1-2 services. If lucky they have hired a part-time assistant or intern.

2-5 years

Have now build a relationship with a digital marketing agency that has proven to drive results for the company and are now doing all of their digital marketing. Owners have now hired managers and other operational team members.

5+ years

The business now has enough revenue and savings to consider migrating their marketing team to be in-house. Their existing agency helps with the migration process and consults their in-house marketing team going forward.


While every business’s growth is different, deciding on when you hire a digital agency is totally dependant on your finances and the involvement you require with your team. Some business owners love the hands-off approach, seeing the leads and sales following in from an agency while letting them focus on what they love in the business.

Other’s may want to be in the trenches, learning the in’s and out’s of digital marketing with their team. Having more control and complete access could be something that is important for you.

If however, after reading this information and you are still unsure if you should hire a digital marketing agency then I would encourage booking in a free 45-minute strategy session with us. We can outline which areas in your marketing need attention and what levels of success you can expect. If you are not a good fit, we will be honest and tell you.

Go ahead and book a call with us today!

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