What Is The Cost Of Outsourcing Marketing And How Does It Compare To Hiring An In-House Team?

by | May 23, 2024 | Marketing

Whether your business is a start-up or an established organisation the question of whether outsourcing marketing or building an in-house resource is essential. Each option comes with its own pros and cons and of course costs. In this blog we’ll take a look at in-house marketing versus outsourced, especially from a cost point of view.


Outsourced Marketing

When outsourcing you could partner with a range of consultants or one full service agency to handle the different aspects of your marketing strategy. The cost of the services will vary based on:

Experience: An agency with a long-standing reputation and years of experience in delivering effective campaigns is likely to charge higher fees than a start up with little ‘real world’ experience. However, you may experience slower or less consistent results with a provider who is new to marketing.

Skills: If you choose a full service agency you should have access to a team who have a range of skills across all the disciplines you may require, including branding, design, web development, social media, SEO, PPC, PR and Awards to name but a few. This diversity of talent, all managed by an experienced Account Manager may cost more than sourcing your own individual experts and managing the relationship yourself.

Tools: Marketing professionals, either stand-alone or in an agency will have access to industry leading tools and technologies in order to deliver and assess various marketing strategies. The cost of these tools will be included in their charge to deliver your services, but split across multiple clients, which could make them more affordable than investing in the individual tools for your business directly.

Scalability: One of the benefits of an outsourced marketing resource is that it enables you to scale up or down depending on need. You’ll need to check your contract to see how much notice you need to give. Usually, outsourced providers are happy to scale up immediately 🤑 but may require notice if you want to scale down.


In-House Marketing

Doing your marketing yourself, building an in-house team, or delegating marketing activities to your existing team will require at the very least training and possibly recruitment and of course managing the team. The cost of your marketing in-house could include:

Tools: In order to effectively deliver and assess your marketing strategies you will need to invest in some technology, this could include a CRM, email marketing software, social media scheduling software and various monitoring tools.

Training: Whether you are learning how to do something yourself or training and developing your existing or recruited team, you will need to invest in ongoing training to develop and maintain skills as technologies and opportunities are constantly changing.

Recruitment: If you intend to recruit a marketing team you will need to consider the cost and time of the recruitment. Also consider that you may need additional support from a recruitment consultant if you are hiring for specialist roles such as web development, SEO or PPC, as you may not be best place to choose the ideal candidate.

Salaries: If you employ marketing staff you need to consider their salaries and a great benefits package, skilled and experienced marketing professionals can command a high annual salary. If you are doing your marketing yourself, consider how long it takes and what you could charge per hour if you were doing your job instead, to decide whether this is a worthwhile investment.

Overheads: Your in-house marketing team will require space to work, equipment and other operational costs, so ensure you factor these into the comparison of costs.

It is worth noting that lack of skills or experience from an in-house team may necessitate hiring some outsourced experts with additional skills and may also have a negative impact on speed or extent of results.


Making your Decision

When comparing in-house versus out-sourced marketing it is important to look at the costs and these can vary massively based on skills and experience, but there are other factors to take into consideration too.

Expertise and Experience: Whether you are looking at staff, an agency or consultants, get a good understanding of their experience. Ask to look at previous work or even get feedback from clients or employers. Cheap is not necessarily best.

Flexibility: Consider the commitment you are entering into with either an agency or an outsourced team, will you be able to scale up or indeed down if necessary.

Effectiveness: Will your choice be able to deliver the results you need in the timescale required? Do they have the skills and tools they need to do so?

Control: Whether you are keeping your marketing in-house or out-sourcing who is responsible for ensuring the output aligns with your culture and achieves your objectives.


As you may have noticed in this blog we have not been able to give much idea of actual costs of outsourcing versus keeping your marketing in-house and that is because of all the factors we have listed above, plus the size of your organisation and marketplace and your individual organisations objectives.

All consultants and agencies will be happy to have a chat with you in order to give you an idea of costs and you should be able to estimate the cost of in-house based on researching marketing role salaries, marketing training course costs and the associated tools and equipment that you or your team may need to deliver the strategies that will bring enquiries to your business.

It may be that you take a mixed approach with some strategies outsourced and some delivered in-house, and many agencies (including the Inspiration Agency) will be happy to work with you on this basis.

Reach out to us today to explore how we can elevate your marketing efforts to the next level.

And remember, the true value of marketing lies not just in the costs but in the impact it creates for your brand.