Agency vs. Employee: What’s Best for Marketing, Graphic Design, & Social Media?

So, you’re ready to get serious with marketing and graphic design, but should you hire employees to handle it all or partner with a full-service agency? Is an agency worth it, or can you do it all yourself? The truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but we at HatchMark Studio can tell you the true pros and cons of either method so you can decide for yourself the best way forward.

Agency Pros

When you hire an agency to do your marketing, you have an entire team at your fingertips. Covering a whole range of topics and areas of expertise, your agency will help you with everything you need to succeed.

Whether it’s providing you with industry-specific expertise or guiding you by providing information and ideas from outside of your industry, an agency brings a level of knowledge that can never be matched by a single employee or in-house marketing group.

Many agencies provide per-project or bucket-of-hours approaches so that you pay for what you need and nothing you don’t. Don’t stress about filling an employee’s time during the slow season or panic about not having enough time when you’re busy. You can easily scale up or down as needed.

What about when you need a product or level of expertise that your agency can’t provide? Luckily, your team of experts is connected with a deep pool of marketing professionals with a range of talents. Need top-notch video content? They likely have three companies to recommend. Need a hyper-custom integration on Shopify? They have a vetted, proven go-to.

Partnering with an agency doesn’t just get you one or two or three experts; it opens you up to an entire invaluable network.

Agency Cons

Of course, while there are immense benefits to partnering with an agency, there is a limit to your access to the team which can lead to issues if your business is not on schedule.

While you might be able to call a 40-hour-a-week employee on a weeknight and request a 12-hour turnaround, you might not have the same flexibility with your agency. Your agency will work to have you weeks ahead of schedule so you never need to have these sorts of fire drills.

Speaking of communication, there is some structure required on your end when working with an agency to make the most of the process. While you can do round after round of revisions with your hourly or salary employee, you may have a contract in place with your agency that limits your business to a set amount of back-and-forths. This ensures that your meetings are productive and your time is valued—but it also means you and your team will need to make careful, detailed edits each time to make the most of your contract.

Employee Pros

When you have an employee (or employees) dedicated full-time to your marketing needs, you have the benefit of on-call service. You can walk into the office, tap them on the shoulder, and make instant requests and deadlines.

This means that your business can produce content, graphic design collateral and posts, and data at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this also means your employee may end up feeling under pressure, rushed, and ultimately a bit burned out.

A paid employee can also become an invested part of your business and brand. If you are looking to create a values-driven brand, the buy-in from employees at all levels can be important, especially if you’ve already benefited from the strong brand leadership that an agency provides.

If your brand is strong and you simply need regular design work done, an in-house designer could be ideal. If you are ready to grow, however, you may outgrow them.

Employee Cons

By solely relying on an employee for your marketing and design services, you may lose the ability to see your business from a fresh perspective. Unless you are dedicating time and budget for it, your employee or employee team won’t have the time or energy to continue their education, exploring new processes, tools and methods to help you grow.

If your marketing plan is limited to a single employee, you run the risk of losing your entire strategy if that employee walks out the door. An agency provides stability and the comfort that there will always be someone watching out for your business through the good times and the bad.

At the end of the day, it’s far simpler to hire and fire an agency than it is to hire and fire an employee. By going with an agency, you skip all the hassle of employment maintenance which means you can focus all of your energy on building your business.

A single person simply can’t do it all! The designer on your team is not a pro when it comes to SEO; the marketing maven on your team may crash and burn when making video content. There’s just no denying that a single employee will be able to manage only a portion of your brand marketing and execution. So, which parts are you willing to compromise?

Luckily, this difficult decision is not one you have to make alone. Any agency can explore your needs and identify the plan (or hybrid plan) that works best for you. Learn more about how HatchMark Studio can expand your marketing, graphic design, and social media capabilities here.