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Fight! Hiring a marketing freelancer vs. agency

Two men boxing, one boxer is being hit on the jaw by his opponent with a left hook

Alright, you've got a big marketing project on the horizon and you're stuck in a dilemma: Do you hire a freelance marketer or go with a marketing agency?

Trust us, you're not alone. We've been in your shoes—torn between options, budgets, and timelines.

It's time for a duel. The fleet of foot freelancer vs. the agency heavy weight.

Ding ding, lets go!

Round 1: Cost Comparison

Freelancers: Value for Money

Ah, the budget—a marketer's best friend and worst nightmare. When it comes to cost, hiring a freelance marketer is often more cost-effective. You're paying only for the work done, nothing more. Forget about shelling out for overhead costs, health benefits, Ping Pong tables or beer fridges.

Agencies: A Pricey Affair?

Agencies come with a whole team, which sounds great until you realize you're paying for everyone—even the people not directly working on your project. Plus, their overhead costs are passed down to you. Yep, that swanky city centre office with high ceilings, big windows and a ball pool(?) isn't paying for itself!

Cost Winner: Freelancers

Scores on the doors

Freelancers: 1

Agencies: 0

Round 2: Skillsets

A Freelancer's Arsenal

Freelancers are the Swiss Army knives of the marketing world. Need SEO? There's a freelancer for that. Social media management? Yep, another freelancer specializes in just that. With freelancers they've generally doubled down on what they love and what they are great at, their skills are highly specialized and laser-focused.

Agency Know-How

Agencies offer a broad range of skills under one roof and these folk aften work together on other projects so are used to combining their skills for clients. While that's beneficial for full-service marketing needs, remember—you're often paying for expertise you may not even need.

Skillset Winner: It's a Tie!

Scores on the doors

Freelancers: 1.5

Agencies: 0.5

*Time out!*

By working with us at IMG - you get the laser focused specialism of hiring a marketing freelancer plus because we have a huge breadth of skills in our community it means you also get full service support. Which is kinda the best of both worlds.

Oh and we don't have swanky offices or account managers so we're still cost effective. :)

Round 3: Flexibility and Contract Terms

Freelancer: Your On-Demand Pro

Freelancers offer the flexibility to scale your marketing efforts and to dial up or down the skills you need. Remember, freelancers still have bills to pay and families to feed so they do like certainty too. Generally if you want short term support you'll pay more than if you offer something over a longer 3-6 month period, but you can absolutely get hyper flexibility.

Agencies: The strings are attached

Because they need more certainty of resource planning, agencies often require longer contract terms. Switching gears mid-way through a contract can also be more cumbersome than turning a cruise ship.

Flexibility Winner: Freelancer

Scores on the doors

Freelancers: 2.5

Agencies: 0.5

*Time out!*

If it's flexibility at scale you want, then hello! We made a point of having no long-term contracts in our business so if things change direction radically then you can change the team or cancel super quickly.

Round 4: Management

Keep it Simple with Freelancers

When you hire a freelance marketer or many marketers, you are dealing directly with those people. They act as an extension of your existing marketing team and can sit in your regular meetings so they're right up to speed with you and your teams workload and priorities in the business. They seamlessly integrate, which makes communication and project management super simple.

Juggling with Agencies

Working with agencies can often mean multiple points of contact. The more cooks in the kitchen, the harder it can be to make your favourite dish, or in this case—run a successful marketing campaign. Don't get us wrong, agencies deliver excellent service and you can often speak direct to your contacts but you're always one of many clients they're serving.

Management Winner: Freelancer

Scores on the doors

Freelancers: 3.5

Agencies: 0.5

Round 5: Scalability

Focus with Freelancers

When businesses grow and you need diverse skills on tap, you might need to add multiple freelancers too the mix. This can become time consuming in terms of finding all of the skills you need, onboarding those different freelancers and then making sure they all play nicely together to deliver what you want. That can be a bit of a headache.

Expansion with Agencies

the beauty of a big agency is you can basically leave your problems at their door and they'll use their resource to make it happen. Of course it'll cost you, but they have breadth of skills and can pull people in from other areas to support.

Scalability Winner: Agency

Scores on the doors

Freelancers: 3.5

Agencies: 1.5

*Time out!*

Because we have a diverse community of highly skilled freelancers here at IMG, we provide both the laser focus of the freelancer plus the diversity and scalability of an agency, but without the cost. An example of this is when we helped the UKs largest SaaS business when they needed to test, launch and then scale a new digital marketing function.

We created IMG based on what we wanted as client side marketers it's literally the best of both worlds!

Freelancer vs. agency - Making your choice

This freelancer vs. agency piece is obviously tongue in cheek - we love you too agencies. But weighing up the pros and cons based on what challenges marketers are facing today, it's pretty clear that if you're looking for specialized skills, flexibility, and a more straightforward management style—all without breaking the bank—you might want to hire a freelance marketer.

Agencies, while expensive, can offer a more comprehensive service package, It's all about what your specific needs are.

But if you haven't considered hiring a freelance marketer yet, you might be missing out on a flexible, cost-effective solution that could fit like a glove with your marketing objectives.

If you're after the best of both worlds then reach out to us. We've got an army of highly skilled freelancers (and media and partner contacts) to help you get the outcome you need for your current challenges.

At the end of the day, it's not just about getting the job done—it's about getting it done right.


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