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Do I need a Marketing Manager or Marketing Agency for my business?

What is the difference between a marketing manager and freelance or agency marketing services?

When I first started in digital marketing in 2013 I was one of the few digital marketing specialists in my area. I knew the market would eventually be flooded as technology continued to advance. 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of the business industry as we know it. It sped up the need for digital marketing skills and created a boom in marketing manager positions. It isn’t uncommon for almost every business to need help with digital marketing now. 

As the industry has changed, the difference between a Marketing Manager and hiring freelance or agency marketing services has become a grey area. 

If you need help with your marketing here is a comparison breakdown of the two options so you can determine what might work best for your business. 


Freelance/Agency: Typically billed hourly or by the project, freelance or agency prices are going to likely be at a higher hourly rate. Rates might vary from $75/hour to $250/hour. The payout is usually as an independent contractor and may involve a 1099.

Marketing Manager: A marketing manager is usually considered a staff position, although they could be paid as an employee or independent contractor. Their salary or predefined monthly wage will be based on a required number of hours and the hourly wage might range from $15-$35/hour.


Agency: Freelancer and agency availability can vary. They take projects on a first come first serve basis and may book out in advance or get busy on several projects at once. They typically take on clients on an as-needed basis, by the project, or on a monthly service retainer.

MM: A marketing manager will likely be putting aside anywhere from 5-40 hours a week just for you. This job is usually set up as as a part-time or full-time job which means they will be available on a regular basis for ongoing weekly work.


Agency: Freelance and agencies cover speciality services such as marketing consulting, web development, copywriting, graphic design, and/or other 1-1 services.

MM: A marketing manager job description will often include ongoing tasks such as team management, project management, tracking timelines, and overseeing other staff. For smaller companies it can also include planning content, posting on social media, creating content for blogs and email, admin tasks, and more. 

Hiring process

Agency: If you are ready to hire a freelance contractor or an agency, you’ll want to contact them directly and request a quote. This is typically followed by a an intake call and free estimate, and if you accept their terms, a contract and/or a SOW (Statement of Work). If you want to learn more about working with me, feel free to explore my services or reach out for a free quote.

MM: If you are ready to start looking for a marketing manager, you’ll want to post a job listing locally or on a website like Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, or LinkedIn Jobs. Your posting should include your job requirements, wages, preferred experience, and more. Once you have some applicants you’ll need to conduct an interview and provide a job description as part of the hiring process.

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