In this write-up, we look at the real price of hiring a marketing agency. We discuss the benefits small and medium businesses can enjoy by hiring the services of a professional agency.
It is 2022 and thankfully, we are past the question — should I hire a marketing agency? If there were any doubts about the importance of online marketing and a strong digital presence the Covid-19 pandemic has come as an eye opener to small- and medium-sized businesses.
The benefits of digital marketing have been discussed for more than a decade. The Covid-19 pandemic proved the incentives businesses enjoy with a strong digital presence. These days the question is — should I hire a marketing agency or have a marketing team under the payroll?
The genesis of this dilemma lies between the imaginative and real price of hiring a marketing agency. Let us turn our attention to marketing agency prices and figure out which model suits you the best. By the end of this piece, we shall help you make a smart choice.
What is the Price of Hiring a Marketing Agency?
The very thought of hiring an agency scares many small businesses. Yours may be a similar case where you are worried about the high marketing agency price. The obvious alternative is to opt for the DIY route or think of having a team under your payroll. The truth is hiring an agency costs you way less than having a team under your payroll. Let us put these things into perspective to give you a better understanding of the costs involved in running a strong marketing
Marketing Agency Price
To understand the real price of hiring a marketing agency, you need to have a better understanding of their pricing model. Two pricing models are typically used in this business — fixed-priced or project-based model or retainer model. In the former, the agency charges you a fixed fee for a campaign while the latter involves a monthly fee based on monthly scheduled tasks that vary depending on the stage of your campaign. Most marketing firms work on both these models based on the exact need of their clients.
Deciding on which of these to choose isn’t difficult. If you are looking for a one-off campaign for a major brand rehaul or the launch of a new product, the project-based model can be a good choice. However, most small businesses tend to opt for the retainer model that helps them build and sustain a campaign and reap the fruits over a long time.
Typically, the retainer model would last for 18 months or longer. The first 18 months are crucial as this is the stage where your campaign is set up and you work on the strategies. Here’s what you should expect from an agency in the first 18 months of the project –
- Analyze the market, competition, and USPs of the brand
- Develop a marketing strategy with short and long-term goals
- Build a digital marketing tech stack aligned to the goals
- Plan, execute and measure different marketing initiatives
- Review goals and aims based on campaign results
- Show ROI from a campaign with measurable results
Cost of Hiring an Agency
The cost of hiring an agency on a project basis varies depending on the nature of the campaign and can start from $5,000 with no upper limit. Similarly, marketing agency prices in the retainer model also vary depending on the nature of the campaign, the geography where you hire the agency, and their level of expertise. The average fee for reputable agencies in the United States starts at $6,000 per month in the retainer model. This would translate into an annual cost of $72,000.
Benefits of Hiring an Agency
When you hire an agency, they bring along a large team specializing in different areas of digital marketing. You will have access to a wide range of skills and save yourself from having to invest in expensive tools and subscriptions to manage your campaign. In a typical retainer project, your project would be handled by –
- Account Manager
- Project Coordinator
- Web Development Specialist
- Social media marketing Specialist
- Search Engine Marketing Specialist
- Inbound Marketing Specialist
- Paid Search Marketing Specialist
- Content marketing Specialist
In-House Team Price
You may have thought this to be a cheaper alternative but the cost of having an in-house team is likely to blow your mind. Most small businesses make the mistake of hiring a single person and expect them to be a specialist in search, social media, content, and other areas of digital marketing. There is no such ‘digital marketing rockstar’ even if you are willing to pay them a six-figure salary.
Even if you don’t hire people in the supervisory role and opt for junior-level marketers, you will need to have multiple people under your payroll. Here’s what a small digital marketing team and their salaries would look like –
- Copywriter: $60,000 per year
- Visual Designer: $64,000 per year
- SEO Specialist: $50,000 per year
- Social Media Specialist: $45,000 per year
- PPC/Paid Ad Specialist: $42,000 per year
Cost of Hiring an Agency
So what is the figure we arrive at? Only the salary part of these people would cost you $261,000 every year. This doesn’t even include the other costs associated with an in-house team including infrastructure, tools, training, insurance, etc. You may be looking at an annual cost of more than $500,000 if you wish to have an in-house team that can match the level of expertise that a small business digital marketing agency brings to the table.
In-House Team & Agency Combination
Some businesses opt for a combo model wherein they work with an agency and have an internal resource in between. This is typically a junior digital marketing expert who has basic knowledge of different areas of online marketing. As a generalist, they aren’t expected to execute the campaign but coordinate with the agency and let the management team focus on core areas of the business.
This model is beneficial when you don’t have time to coordinate with your marketing agency of lack basic knowledge in digital marketing. Your internal resources can follow up with the agency on the status of the campaign. They ensure that campaigns adhere to the brand standards and stay aligned to the goals of your company. However, such internal resources who are hired on low salaries don’t stick around for too long as they are always looking for better career prospects and better-paying jobs. You may be forced to hire people every few months or every year for such a role.
Cost of Internal Hire and Agency Combo
You can hire a junior-level digital marketing professional for $4,000 every month to coordinate with your marketing agency. Let’s stick to our $6,000 fee that you need to pay the marketing agency every month and we arrive at $120,000 per year for such an arrangement excluding the cost of infrastructure and other perks that you have to pay.
To sum up, you can figure out the price of hiring a marketing agency and the benefits they bring to the table. As a small or medium business, you can’t afford to have a large in-house digital marketing team. We have already proven the one-guy model won’t work if you are looking to leverage the true potential of your online presence. Hence, you need to bring an agency onboard and not worry about the marketing agency price as long as they are delivering a strong ROI.
An internal hire as a go-between can work to your advantage but that is unnecessary if you work with a professional agency. If you have basic knowledge of the digital world and can spare a few hours every week to coordinate the agency you don’t need an internal resource as a mediator.
If you are looking for an agency that brings full stack digital marketing expertise and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, we at Cyrusson Inc. shall fit into your budget perfectly. We specialize in working with small and medium businesses and understand the inherent challenges and opportunities in the market. Let Cyrusson power your digital dreams. For free consultation meeting contact us today via email or phone call!