Marketing Agency v. Hiring In-House - Which Is Best For Your Startup?

Marketing is a key part of any strong business plan, and essential to the growth of your startup – but where do you begin? Firstly, you must decide whether your business will build an in-house team or outsource to an agency is an important decision that affects the future of your company; the source will really impact the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing campaign, depending on a few key determinants!

Marketing an aspect of your business that you should not underestimate. Choosing the right marketing team can help you create an optimised marketing strategy for your business needs!

What Does it Mean to Hire In-House?

To put simply, hiring an in-house marketing team means building a team of people paid by your company who work full time for your company. This generally entails hiring the full scope of roles that a marketing strategy may need, including personnels that handle content writing, SEO, social media, ads, and more. 

Having a full time team means that they will have a deeper understanding of your company’s brand and its place in the industry. Their commitment means they are immersed in your company’s vision and can tailor their marketing strategy specifically for your business.  

Benefits to Hiring In-House

  • Tailored management of marketing and full control over its operations. You are able to monitor marketing progress on a closer, more personal level.
  • Marketing team that is comfortable with your business model and specific industry.
  • Ease of communication with the marketing team and easy integration with other in-house teams such as sales.

Cons to Hiring In-House

  • Very capital intensive to find a diverse team of marketing professionals. Each member of the team needs to be adequately compensated for and this can cost upwards of $85,000 a month.
  • Difficulty finding trained and experienced marketers meaning that your company may need to compensate for training.
  • The time to and resources invested into advertising, hiring, and training potential candidates may not be cost effective. 
  • Managing an in-house team can be burdensome on the company.

What Does it Mean to Outsource Marketing to an Agency? 

If constructing an in-house marketing team doesn't seem right, another option is to outsource your marketing initiatives to an agency or consulting organisation. Outsourcing entails utilising an external agency to handle the marketing needs of your organisation. These are experts for hire that can be specialised, and often all inclusive in their marketing services. 

These agencies are generally more reliable, as they are professionally trained and managed by experienced marketers. The possibilities are endless when it comes to hiring from an agency; you can always find a firm willing to handle your marketing needs. The variety means you can find very niche agencies with highly specialised experts in different fields to fit your specific marketing pain points. 

Benefits to Outsourcing

  • Outsourcing is a more simple and straightforward process. 
  • The vetted team of marketing experts means you generally have a higher caliber of talent at your disposal.
  • Outsourcing agencies may provide an outsider perspective on your company and industry goals since they have worked with a larger scope of fields. 

Cons to Outsourcing

  • Hiring for external agencies means that they may be unfamiliar with your company’s culture, goals and clients. 
  • Your company needs to invest time into researching and pitching in order to find an agency that works best for your industry and your company’s timeline/goals. 
  • Outsourced agencies can work on multiple marketing projects at once – your company may not feel like a priority. 

Making Your Decision: Key Considerations

Tools and Techniques

Marketing and consumer trends are always evolving, and with them, so do the marketing tools and techniques. An in-house marketing team may have difficulties keeping up with the shifting trends without proper management. Outsourced agencies, however, generally maintain an up-to-date understanding of the market due to their expertise in the field. Their specialisation means they focus on developing the most effective marketing tools to fit the industry climate. 

In-house teams may require company capital to stay up-to-date on the latest software and tools. Training a marketing team to maintain leads on marketing trends also requires resources from the company itself. Outsourcing means you have an arsenal of the latest tools and industry experts at your disposal. They often have enterprise software that is difficult for smaller brands to access.  


The scope of skill needed for any marketing initiative depends on your company’s needs. Marketing agencies generally have a more diverse team of experts that are meant to be able to cover all of a brand’s needs; an all-inclusive service. It is difficult to assemble an in-house team that includes all the professionals needed to execute some marketing campaigns and you may need to outsource to fill in for some aspects of the project. 

Return on Investment

Short and long-term ROI can really make or break your decision as company profit plays a big part. The uncertainty of an in-house team poses a big risk, however, there is a higher potential for longer-term return given their intimate connection with your brand. Once you are able to accumulate a strong team that is accustomed to your company’s needs, you can smoothly run campaigns with little outsourcing and lower costs long-term. 

On the other hand, outsourcing gives you a team of experts that are meant to solve short-term marketing problems. Outsourcing costs can often add-up and each new team requires time to navigate the new environment of your company – time is spent capital. 


Now that you have a general understanding of the difference between in-house and outsourced marketing, you can begin to assess your company’s goals and resources to find a best fit. While in-house marketing teams can be a powerful investment, most small to medium businesses benefit more from outsourcing marketing to agencies.