Cost of In-House Marketing vs. a Marketing Agency

January 10, 2023

As with most business decisions, there is no Easy Button. As a business owner, your choices are limited to:

  • Become a marketing expert
  • Hire a marketing team
  • Hire a marketing agency

Your entire business depends on getting this decision right. Seem like an exaggeration? It’s not. Marketing is your source of revenue, and crucial in maintaining or growing your success.

Of course, there isn’t a single right answer. In some instances, an in-house team is the correct solution, while in others the right choice is to outsource your marketing efforts. In other scenarios, a combination of the two may work best. One major factor to consider is cost.

In order to accurately compare the costs associated with each, it is important to understand both your budget and the exact objectives required from the marketing team.


A proficient in-house team requires a minimum of three professionals, each with extensive experience in their corresponding areas of expertise. Thus, unless you’re planning to pay your ad agency more than $19,000 a month in services or $230,000 annually, you shouldn’t go so far as to even consider forming an in-house team.

Realistically, one person cannot execute an entire marketing strategy. The three professionals you will need as the base of your marketing team include: a brilliant copywriter, beautiful designer, and an organized account executive that is also knowledgeable on social media, SEO, PR, and more. Dependent on your needs, you might also have to hire someone to maintain your online media and website. Maybe you forgo a copywriter for a savvy online marketer. Now you’ve just got to pick your poison.

Account Executive - $60,000

Web Designer/ Online Media Director - $95,000

Designer - $75,000

Total - $230,000 (+ taxes + healthcare + equipment + space + cost of hiring + vacation time + unemployment + paperwork + training)

Of course, it’s never that simple. When you hire a marketing agency, you get a wealth of talents that you won’t get with a group of 2 or 3 employees. How important are these skill sets?

To generate the level of skill and talent provided by an agency, you would need the following staff members:

Account Executive

Online Marketing Expert

Creative Director

Copywriter/ Public Relations Coordinator

Art Director

Web Developer

Marketing Director

At the minimum, those are the different skill sets that would be required. The cost would be hefty, exceeding over $500,000 in salaries alone. At that point, consider whether you need these skill sets full-time, or whether outsourcing some of them or even your entire marketing might be more financially sound. However, if your company relies heavily on marketing and the cost to hire an entire team far outweighs those of hiring an agency, then go for the in-house team.

Again, there is lot to consider when it comes to making the tough decision between in-house marketing versus outsourced, but it is definitely well worth some thought. While we explored only cost, the goals and objectives also play an important role in making the right decision.

If you aren’t sure, we’d be happy to help. We’ve been doing this long enough to get a sense for how involved the work you need is and whether it makes more financial sense to outsource, rather than hire an entire team. Maybe we’re the boutique marketing agency that you’ve been looking for. Let’s talk.

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