You Ask, I Answer: Hiring an Agency vs. Hiring an Employee?

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You Ask, I Answer_ Hiring an Agency or Employee

Max asks, “Should I hire a digital marketing agency? How do I know whether an agency or a hire is best?”

This is a complicated question, but a frequent one. We hire agencies or full-time employees for different reasons. The primary reasons to hire agencies are:

  • Theoretically faster scaling (pre-trained talent already in place)
  • Severability of the relationship is faster
  • Agencies may have talent or training we don’t in-house

The primary reasons to hire full-time are:

  • Longer-term investment with significantly lower cost of investment depending on skill set
  • Permanent addition of talent or capabilities
  • Bigger payout for proper investment in talent (agencies tend to hire the cheapest talent and have high turnover)

If you’re making a good hire – agency or employee – expect it to still take time.

You Ask, I Answer: Hiring an Agency or Employee

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s you ask I answer mask max asks, should I hire a digital marketing agency. How do I know whether an agency or hire is a better choice. Well, this is a complicated question but a frequent one we hire agencies or full time employees for different reasons and those reasons will dictate which choice we make. So the primary reasons you would hire an agency in theory you are one faster scaling, in theory, because agencies often make the claim that they already have the talent. They already have the skills and things like that. And so they can get up and running faster than an employee.

The second reason which is more of a realistic reason is faster severability getting rid of an underperforming employee can take a while because of things like HR and legal and such severing that relationship can take a long time with an agency, depending on what you’ve got in the contract. You can probably just say you know your

parting ways and move on, potentially in zero days most most agencies and their contracts have like a 30 day kill clause where they say you have to give us 30 days notice be where anybody who’s like doing much longer windows like an annual contract, where you have to pay up for the rest of the year. If you don’t use it. That would be really bad

and agencies may have talent or training that we don’t have in house so they may have access to specialized skills or specialized skill sets, depending on who they have on their teams. Now the primary reasons to hire a full time employee who would be things like you want lower total cost of ownership or a little lower cost of investment because

to build out a skill set to build out somebody is going to take a while, but you’ll have access to that skill set all the time and

be able to make better use that skill set for a variety of applications agencies in many cases work you know on on the clock. So if you take eight hours of time to do something you may not necessarily want to invest that same eight hours over and over again, you can do that with an employee and boy, you can have them re task their skills to up. I think

a second reason to hire a full time employee permanent addition of talent or capabilities. This means if you hire somebody as a data scientist, you have access to that talent again for a variety of different purposes and on an ongoing basis. And third is a bigger payout a higher return on and assessment for properly investing in your talent.

If you send out an employee for training and you help them get skilled up and they become a fantastic addition to the team that person will deliver higher multiples. In my experience, and agencies, primarily because agencies of all types and sizes of all in all industries tend to hire the cheapest talent

tend to because it’s an hourly business and a lot of cases burn them out very, very quickly. And so you get very high turnover and so they’ve got sort of a revolving door of talent coming in and sometimes great talent. Sometimes you want


we when it comes down to, which is the best path. It depends on your needs agencies will cost you more


depending on the industry. They may cost you more. They may cost substantially more for highly specialized skill sets for

common skills. It may be a lower cost of ownership compared to an employee. The severability is important if if being able to reverse a choice is important to your company

or if you’re if the company itself is in transition than an agency may make a lot more sense because you may be like okay, we’re going to keep on for 30 days and then who knows what’s going to happen after that you really can’t do that with with full time employees can do that with contractors and temps as well. But that

is a different relationship to

I have had I’ve been on both sides of the desk. I’ve worked at an agency. I worked at several agencies.

I’ve worked in house and

everything is contingent upon your company’s culture and willingness to invest in employees. If your company is unwilling to invest in its employees. If there’s no formal training program in place. If there’s no commitment to learning and development, then an agency is almost certainly going to be at the better way to go because the talent, even though it will be Junior talent and it’ll cycle out a lot the talent will probably be better than what you will be able to get because a company that’s unwilling to invest in training its employees is probably also unwilling to pay market or better than market salaries. If your company is willing to invest in its people and and and put money where its mission is then an agency’s probably gonna make less sense in the long term. Then, and then a full time higher so the judging criteria is going to be your company. There is absolutely a role for agencies of all kinds. There is absolutely a role for full time employees what you choose depends on your company. There is no one right answer for this. There’s a right answer for your organization. Great question. Max filled with all sorts of landmines no clear answer but that’s usually the case with really complicated questions.


as always if you have comments or questions please leave them. There’s a link in the notes here about you can submit your own questions for you ask I answer.

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