Building an In-House Digital Marketing Team vs. Strategic Outsourcing during a Pandemic – The Dollars and Cents

What makes more sense for your budget – building an in-house digital marketing team or outsourcing digital marketing strategically?

As COVID has impacted business revenue as well as cash flow across multiple industries, many marketing managers are now budget-strapped. Some of them believe that turning to in-house resources may help them in getting the job done cheaper.

However, executives need to look at how budget limitations lead to inflated overhead at the top levels.

Companies who have marketing budgets of less than $500,000 annually actually benefit most by having a couple of key marketing people who guide the brand and then strategically outsourcing the rest. This approach works well, particularly when the business is weathering a challenging economic situation.

So if this is the case, then why do marketing managers often push to build larger in-house marketing teams? The real reasons usually have nothing to do with the budget.

  • Achievement – the bigger the department, the bigger they perceive their success.
  • Convenience – though more expensive, they find it more convenient to walk across the office and ask someone else for help vs. following a pre-set content schedule with an outsourced agency. (Doing this actually contributes to wasted budget and wasted time resources!)
  • Control – if they oversee in-house assets, they can better manage what is reported upstream.

Watch out for signs of the above because it can leave you with an inflated team size, high employee overhead, and may not even lead to maximum results – and wondering how it happened.

In Canada, outsourcing digital marketing strategically can actually save costs and lead to better in-house management and organization. Just look at the dollars and cents for proof.

What is needed for a robust digital marketing team:

  • A marketing manager to guide strategy: when working in-house, a salary of $120,000.
  • A search-engine optimization (SEO) expert: $60,000 salary.
  • A writer capable of consistently producing error-free communications — including context, grammar, and spelling, plus consistency and use of punctuation: $60,000 salary.
  • A graphic artist and editor: $60,000 salary.
  • A website developer that knows PHP: $90,000 salary.
  • Total: $390,000

And then add to that total 20% to account for recruitment, turn over, benefits, etc. With all said and done, you will have a salary overhead close to $450,000. This does not even include junior team members, like marketing coordinators. And depending on location and longevity in the role, the salaries are often even higher than indicated.

Plus, you will have to pay for all the tools in-house that they may need, including:

  • Keyword research tools.
  • Graphic art tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Web development tools.
  • And more.

Unless your marketing budget is approaching $500,000 annually, you should really consider strategic outsourcing for your digital.

Beyond cost-savings, strategic outsourcing offers many other benefits, such as:

  • Consistency in content and voice – no impact of employee turnover.
  • Skilled resources for a fraction of the cost.
  • Public relations material that you can be proud of – meaning no spelling, grammatical, or formatting errors.
  • Scalability – ramp up or down as needed.
  • Better time and resource management – when you need content, it is delivered on schedule. When in-house resources are in charge of content creation, it is easy for projects to slide in favour of other priorities, vacation days, last-minute requests, and the like. By working with an outside agency, you are committing to a plan, which is better in the long-run for both costs and results.

It often seems at first glance that in-house digital marketing teams offer cost-savings, more flexibility, and more control – but in practice, this is rarely the case. Having a bigger in-house team simply means more to manage and more costs associated with it.

Outsourcing strategically can help provide you flexibility and better outcomes without the extra expenses – especially when the market conditions are as unpredictable and volatile as they are today.

The Purpose Company offers both consultations for those building digital marketing teams and outsourced digital marketing services. Contact us today to discuss your marketing budget and how to make the most of your in-house and outsourced resources.

Call 647-880-9709 or visit