Should I Work With a Marketing Partner or Hire In-House?

Every business needs marketing. Which leads to a big decision about how to approach it. Should companies hire in-house or should they work with a marketing partner?

The answer depends on several factors: company size, existing expertise/resources and growth objectives and also comes with the caveat that not all marketing partners are created equal.

Company Size

For smaller businesses, the costs involved in hiring a media buyer, strategist, creative, and developer can be substantial.

Recruitment costs alone can be daunting, and then there are salaries, benefits, software, and overheads to consider.¹ ² Additionally, if a new hire doesn’t work out, the cost of finding a replacement adds up quickly.

For larger companies, the investment becomes justified by the need for close collaboration and the sheer breadth of campaigns.

Existing Expertise & Resources

Managing an in-house marketing team (like any team) requires significant expertise and resources to ensure it functions effectively.

Typically, growth-minded B2B companies spend about 11.2%³ of their revenue on marketing. For many, this budget needs to cover not only salaries but also ad spend and campaign costs. An in-house team can quickly consume this budget, leaving little room for actual marketing activities.

Growth Objectives

Marketing partners are usually at the cutting edge of new technology, channels, and campaign opportunities because they can leverage insights and experiences from working with multiple clients across various industries. This is an advantage over an in-house team.

Not All Marketing Partners Are Created Equal

It is important to note that not all marketing partners are created equal. Different models result in different levels of service and expertise. Therefore, taking time to assess marketing partners is just as important as taking the time to recruit talent in-house.


In summary, growth-minded businesses are better using a marketing partner, up to a certain point.

That point is approximately US$570,0000 / €450,000 / £490,000 / AUD$530,000 / NZ$490,500 in management fee or salaries + costs, not including ad spend.

Below that, the right marketing partner will yield better results, beyond that it is more efficient to build an in-house team.

¹ Glass Door, Pay Scale, LinkedIn Salaries, Robert Half Salary Guides
² Experience: Media Buyer: 5+ years, Strategist: 7-10 years, Creative: 3-5 years, Developer: 5+ years
³ Gartner

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Simon Anderson - Qualified Leads
Managing Director
With a career spanning consultancy roles across industries and global locations, Simon brings expertise in digital marketing, corporate strategy and finance. Originally from New Zealand, he holds degrees from the University of Otago and a Masters from L'Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
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