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I know, I know…it sounds too good to be true. And, your mother always told you if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. And, I would normally agree with her on this (and almost anything else because MOMS ROCK!) But not this time. She’s wrong (sorry, Mom). You CAN hire an entire marketing team for less than the cost of a single employee. How?

Hire a Marketing Agency.

The numbers will never justify an employee over an agency, and here’s why…

According to, the average annual salary for a marketing manager in the Detroit metro area (near where the agency I work for – full disclosure – is located) is $104,164. That’s about $8,680 per month. For that amount, you can put a marketing agency on retainer. “But,” you say, “that is the SAME cost, not less.”

That’s true…but it’s not.

The $8,680 a month you pay the marketing agency is the “all-in” price. For your employee, you still have to figure in the cost of (among other things):

• Payroll taxes
• Benefits
• Hiring/Onboarding/Training
• Software
• General overhead like rent (for their desk space), air conditioning (for their comfort) and paperclips (for their papers …and “art sculptures”)

Looking at all the additional expenses on top of a base salary makes it easy to see how it actually costs LESS to hire an agency. “But,” you insist, “my marketing employee is still dedicated to me alone, and the agency won’t be.”

You’re right, and that’s good…but it’s bad.

Because marketing workloads fluctuate wildly and often, your marketing staffing needs do too.

Having a full-time, dedicated employee means you need to provide them with full-time, dedicated work. Many small to mid-size businesses don’t always have enough marketing work for a full-time employee. More likely, however, they have marketing work that requires a full-time effort for a while, then can slow way down or stop altogether before picking back up to full-time…for a while. (You see where I’m going here, right?)

Because agencies work for multiple clients, they can work with your fluctuating workloads. They can assign your work the resources it needs when you need them. And, they can reassign them to another client’s work when you don’t. The best part is that you usually only pay for the time they work on your projects. So, you are paying only for the time you use.

“That’s ridiculous,” you say, “I run a small business, and I have plenty of marketing projects for a full-time employee. I would rather have ‘my marketing gal’ (or guy!), ready to do it all.”

And, that’s a really great idea…for a bad idea.

The bottom line is that no one can do it all – especially when it comes to marketing.

Most businesses today require a mix of marketing skills to be successful. Graphic design, writing, web design, web programming, social media, and public relations are all skills that will probably, from time-to-time, be needed to effectively market your business.

And, with the speed at which technologies, software, methodologies, and best practices are changing in all of these areas, it is impossible for one person to possess all those skills and maintain them to the level necessary for your business to use them effectively.

When you work with an agency, you have a team of specialists and subject matter experts at the ready—each with specific expertise in one or two areas of marketing. This exponentially increases your access to QUALITY knowledge and resources to grow your business.

To be fair, not all agencies have staff who specialize in every area of marketing. But, they do have relationships with a stable of freelancers and partnerships with specialty agencies (like videography or web design companies) that they can call on as needed. So, with an agency, you’re always covered with top-notch resources.

“All of this sounds great,” you’re now thinking, “but working with an agency just isn’t right for me and my business.”

And that may be true…but it’s most likely false.

There is a marketing agency out there that is the right fit for every business.

OK. I’m going to say this just once so listen up: You may be better off hiring a marketing employee than you are if you hire a marketing agency. Your business is YOUR business. And, you may be one of those people who likes to do certain things in very specific ways…like your marketing. I can relate. I’m like that. So, if you are dead-set on hiring a marketing staff member. Go for it.

But, marketing agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and I guarantee you there is one out there for you when you are ready.

For instance, many agencies work only with clients in one or a few industries. Other agencies work with companies of a certain size or within a certain geographic area. And, there are agencies of all sizes – from a few to hundreds of employees. Plus, you can find agencies that work with every size marketing budget and project workload.

But the one thing that is the same with any agencies is that they measure their success by your success. Any agency worth its salt wants to find and retain only those clients who are going to succeed by working with them. And, if—or when—that is not true, they part ways amicably, and will even help you find an agency that is a better fit.

I know what you’re thinking now — “I need to hire a marketing agency!”

And you are right. Absolutely right.