3 for 3: Why Hire an Agency ? (Infographic)


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2. Article

You have a company. You’re eager to grow. You’ve set goals and have a clear vision for the path you want to take.

When it’s time to execute your plan, should you hire an agency or begin building an employee marketing team to assist your CMO?

As a media- and marketing-focused professional services firm, Studio Hyperset is fairly biased about the answer to this question. (Spoiler alert: we’re on the agency side!) So, to balance our inquiry, we asked three industry experts whom we admire to give us their opinions on three relevant topics:

  1. the efficiency of an agency vs. an employee marketing team
  2. the creative resources of an agency vs. those of an employee marketing team
  3. the cost of an agency vs. an employee marketing team


Melissa Archuleta is an experienced marketing executive with a well-rounded background in project management, business development, and creative communications strategy. She has worked with some of the top non-profit organizations in the United States, including Planned Parenthood, The California Endowment, and Obama for America.

Evaluating the efficiency of an agency vs. an employee marketing team, she suggests:

“An agency can build brand awareness, drive communications, and promote the company/product without disrupting the core business model.”

Hiring an agency allows you to build a bridge between your business and an established network of creative professionals. Rather than building a team from scratch, retaining an agency allows you to immediately leverage existing camaraderie and interpersonal chemistry as well as proven workflows and critical project management systems.

Instead of worrying about executing tasks, this leaves your C-level marketing leaders free to focus on internal goals and communicate vision. This union of client-side vision and goals with agency-side talent and project management skills, in fact, characterizes the best business-agency relationships.

Melissa notes:

“A good firm or consultant will do all the heavy lifting and should provide high-level reports to demonstrate how your investment is working and if it’s effective.”

As this suggests, we might say vision is the fuel of the agency-client relationship, project management is the operational machinery, and data is the “lingua franca” that allows everyone involved to communicate, evaluate, and plan as effectively (and efficiently) as possible.

Creative Resources

Krysta Masciale co-founded B!G DEAL BRANDING in 2011 and continues to lead the agency as CEO, shaping the company’s culture and leading its strategy team.

She suggests:

“Agencies have more manpower, which means various levels of expertise can be allotted to your organization.”

Our team, for example, is comprised of talented leaders, technology developers, project managers, graphic designers, marketing professionals, filmmakers, and writers. This enormous skill-set — strategically placed around the world to enable 24/7 workflows — is always available to our clients.

When a business employs one individual, or even a group of single individuals, it begins immediately limiting its resources and capabilities. Moreover, as the Harvard Business Review notes, the idea of hitching a business’ “wagon to a rising star” and expecting “the company’s profits will soar” is “a powerful idea.” But, “[l]ike many popular ideas, it doesn’t work.”

What if your “stars” lack luster? What if one or more begin thinking about shining in other universes?

Working with an agency not only allows you to offload a great deal of the HR responsibilities (and anxieties) associated with an employee marketing team. It also gives you access to an array of talented creatives, many of whom a business may not have thought to hire, or been able to afford to hire, on its own.

This access to professional talent — which, in Studio Hyperset’s case, is being continually replenished, invigorated, and developed — can empower growth-oriented businesses in extraordinary ways.


Dan Tyre has spent his professional life dedicated to sales, sales management, and company growth. His extensive work with startups, small businesses, and rapidly-scaling teams has given him a unique perspective on business, sales, and life, which he enthusiastically shares via frequent public speaking, group mentoring, and team coaching engagements. A member of the original team, Dan joined HubSpot in May 2007 and managed their BDR program, lead the SMB team, and managed the company’s sales recruiting, sales training, and management mentorship and leadership programs.

Regarding the cost of retaining an agency, Dan suggests:

“A quality agency with a full retainer could be as inexpensive $5-$10,000 per month, which is about equal to one full-time employee.”

According to Entrepreneur, the cost of hiring a CMO and an employee marketing team could easily run $274,182-$437,682 per year.

As PayScale notes, CMO salaries cost, on average, $162,682 per year. Other common marketing team salaries break down as follows.

Depending on industry and experience:

Compare this to hiring a full-time CMO and supplementing him/her with a marketing agency retainer that costs $10,000/month. Rather than having a mean salary cost of $355,932/year, you’ll instead pay approximately $282,682/year and thereby save approximately $73,250 in personnel costs.

CMO + Employee Marketing Team
$355,932 (Mean Cost)
CMO + Agency Retainer @ $10k/mo
+$73,250 savings

In addition to putting downward pressure on personnel costs, Dan suggests agency retainers can also create enormous value for businesses. Not only do they allow executives to put an “outside resource … on the hook for performance,” Dan notes:

“Many agencies have a range of marketers to help in peak times or for specific campaigns, and aggregating multiple customers gives an agency familiarity with good outcomes and what to do right and what to avoid.”

In other words, unlike an employee marketing team, agencies often serve a portfolio of clients in a range of verticals, all of whom have different visions and goals. This diverse set of clients, needs, and sectors means agencies, simply by doing business, experience constant professional development mandates; enhance their knowledge, skills, and best-practices; and integrate A/B testing and other forms of validated learning into day-to-day operations.

Retaining an agency, then, not only helps improve your business’s operational efficiency, increases its access to creative talent, and decreases its personnel expenses. Doing so also allows it to leverage cutting-edge business development techniques discovered, honed, and proven by an agency’s work with other clients.

As such, while the cost of your retainer remains steady, its value increases month over month. It’s always buying more creative capital and strategic insight than it did the month before.

Marketing Plan

Cynthia Wilson

Chief Relationship Officer

Cynthia served as SH's CRO from 2013-16. She studied Journalism and Technical Communication, with a focus on Public Relations and a minor in music, at Colorado State University. In her professional life, she's worked with a number of different companies including the music incubator SpokesBuzz, where she managed social media and blog content for their SXSW showcase. Cynthia has also managed PR and logistics for the USA Pro Challenge Women's Grand Prix, served as content manager for Cheese Chick Productions' "Best of Show" project at the American Cheese Society's annual conference, and coordinated marketing for the MouCo Cheese Company. In addition to serving as CRO, Cynthia created content for Studio Hyperset's "3 for 3" blog post series.