Marketing Agencies vs Freelancers: Which Is Best?
is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
What if you need a little bit of help to really start crushing your growth goals. Where do you go?
A freelancer can be an inexpensive option - but only if you really need just a "get it done" person with little supervision.
And a growth marketing agency can make all the difference - but only if you need what they specialize in.
Which one makes the most sense?
In this article, we’re going to compare and contrast these two options so you can know what’s the best fit for you.
Freelancer vs. Marketing Agency
First off, it’s important to understand the difference between a marketing freelancer and a marketing agency. It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people get confused when they get into the details of working with one or the other.
A marketing freelancer is usually a 3rd party task completer, and that’s it. They usually have little knowledge of your company, and really don't want to invest the time to get involved that deeply. They are there to do their thing, and get paid - for the most part.
The Growth Marketing Agency
A growth marketing agency, conversely, lends their expertise, but their real benefit comes in bringing the talent to the table. They often do bring a strategic element, but their value is in them able to do the work like experts.
When Do You Need a Marketing Freelancer?
Most companies that hire freelancers are facing one or both of these situations:
They Hired Down
Some companies try to cut payroll corners by hiring marketing talent at a low cost. This usually means beginners or people who have dabbled in marketing and have decided to apply. So, less than actual beginners, they are fish out of water and are just starting to get their feet wet (or fins, if they are fish… just accept the metaphor, okay?).
Usually, after a few months of getting no results, the company is forced to bring someone in that actually knows what they are talking about and how to deliver results. Because they have invested in these employees, bringing in a freelancer sounds like the best option. And in some cases, it’s the right choice.
They Are Stuck and Need it Done Now
Even with experienced talent in the marketing room, every now and then, things begin to bog down. Usually, when something is required outside the wheelhouse of those involved, even the 'good ole' college try' can't get it done.
They need someone who knows how to get the job done. So, they hire someone with that skill set to do that particular job. And it's either done, or they might retain them ongoing to do the same thing.
When Do You Need to Hire a Growth Marketing Agency?
In some cases, hiring the needed talent is too expensive of a venture for a company, for a variety of reasons. Turnover is expensive. Finding, recruiting, and training the right person can also be expensive and take a long time.
Most companies in today’s fast-moving technology-driven world just don’t have the luxury to do that. Therefore, they need to find a way to augment their team without hiring internally.
This is when agencies actually start making sense: when you need to fill a talent gap.
Think about it: when you are doing marketing, there are many different disciplines involved:
- Video editor
- Graphic Designer
- Project Manager
- Social Media Manager
The list could get even longer than that.
Most of the time, hiring a full-stack marketer backfires because they aren’t really great at anything. They are okay at a bunch of different things and can often get bogged down in their “preferred” area of work.
Hiring for each of these areas can cost a ton, and collapse a budget for a growing company.
That’s called a talent gap, and agencies can bring the talent for much less than hiring in-house.
Is There a Better Option?
The problem with a freelancer is that they are payment-driven. They work with the clients that pay the best but require the least amount of personal attention. That's why they are freelancers and not employees.
I'm stereotyping, I know there are good freelancers that invest in their clients. But most of the time, these are either consultants, or they are very difficult to find.
The problem with agencies is that they often degrade into deliverable-driven relationships. That means they take your money, deliver a product, and the results are optional. One-sided wins (for the agency) are the hallmark of the marketing agency industry.
The shortfall of both freelancers and agencies is that they are deliverable-focused, and not necessarily results-driven. That’s why you should consider hiring a growth team: it’s the best of both worlds.
A growth team brings the strategic elements and expert talent to the table. And, the evaluation is based on both deliverables and the results those deliverables bring.
There are no one-sided wins when it comes to working with a growth team.
Want to see how a growth team might be a good fit to work with your company? Set up a call with us today. We’ll show you examples of companies we have partnered with and how we share the risk with our clients.