From startups to enterprise organizations, they are all turning to digital marketing firms for help.

In 2018 alone, businesses spent $209 billion on digital ads. This rapid increase in spending shows just how much emphasis businesses are putting towards digital marketing. And digital marketing firms played a big role.

Regardless of the size of your business, you need a strategy for improving your online visibility- and this is where a digital marketing firm can help.

From ranking highly in search engines to attracting more traffic from social media platforms, digital marketing firms can help you reach a wider audience online.

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For today’s hyper-growth companies, the management team and investors might want to outsource all of their marketing requirements to gain instant access to expertise, people and technology.

Whereas, a mid-size firm with two to four people on their marketing team might want to augment their team with repetitive marketing activities while still getting outside expertise, lowering human capital cost and reducing risk.

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Smart companies know they can’t stop their marketing activities – especially if they plan on establishing long-term value in their business. But, in the face of increasing complexity in the markets and customers, they serve.

Marketers are struggling to keep pace with competing for business demands, proliferating channels and partners, and a disconnect between the talent they have and the capabilities they need.

So, where do they turn when marketing is necessary, but resources, expertise, focus, and funds are scarce? They find the answer in marketing outsourcing.

Understanding Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Firms

Digital marketing refers to a collection of activities aimed at improving the online visibility of your business. While your company may attempt to handle all digital marketing activities in-house, hiring a professional firm is almost always a better option.

Such firms have experienced and professional staff that is capable of performing advertising tasks with a high level of efficiency.

Digital marketing firms not only have years of experience in working with many clients, but they also have an in-depth understanding of your specific industry. This experience allows them to bring unique perspectives when generating more leads for your business.

A digital marketing firm can also help you save on digital advertising costs. This is because they’re capable of handling tasks more efficiently and at a larger scale. Digital marketing agencies essentially relieve your in-house marketing team of costly or time-consuming tasks, allowing your employees to focus on more value-generating activities.

Because 40% of all media spending in the U.S is now digital, your company needs to leverage digital advertising channels if your goal is to achieve growth.

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Why hire a digital marketing agency?

Digital technology and marketing automation make measuring marketing progress more transparent. The days of hiding behind traditional and vague metrics like influence and awareness are over.

Executive management including chief marketing officers now judges marketing successes and failures faster by using online systems and dashboards that reveal campaign analytics in real-time.

You know that making a business case for your marketing initiatives is a must, but internal marketing teams may not have the time or digital tools and skills needed to track and prove ROI for ongoing campaigns. The right outsourced marketing partner has the resources and talent to make a business case for all marketing tactics.

Here are some examples of why you might consider hiring a digital marketing agency.

  • Do you have an internal team of 1 – 3, and just need ongoing support to lead you in the right direction?
  • Are you lacking an internal team, and need to outsource everything because you don’t have the time or resources to accomplish it yourself
  • Do you need help in a certain area of marketing such as content marketing, SEO, website design, social media, marketing technology, or improving your lead conversions?

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Benefits of hiring a digital marketing agency

A company can achieve a 25 to 35 percent decrease in salaries and overhead costs immediately. The base salary paid to employees does not represent the total cost to the company. There is the cost of benefits such as FICA, insurance, workman’s compensation, and profit-sharing plans. Many marketing employees also enjoy incentive and bonus plans. In addition, employers must also pay employees for holidays, vacation, and sick days.

Typically, there are 10 paid holidays each year and a minimum of two weeks of vacation. There are also costs associated with hiring staff, such as job posting and advertising, resume reviews and interviewing expense. When you outsource your marketing functions, you pay only for the work performed.

Here a list of benefits:

  • Manage fixed costs as variable costs. Fixed costs in people, systems, and facilities often account for the largest portion of a marketing budget. Marketing organizations need the flexibility to adapt quickly to sudden changes in customer demographics and markets as well as take advantage of immediate opportunities. Outsourcing marketing functions allow you to modify your marketing services based on your current situation rather than constantly altering your internal team to meet current workloads.
  • Access expertise in marketing and sales strategy and implementation, as well as a critical technology. Marketing is an ever-evolving industry. Because of their multiple responsibilities, an in-house team may not have developed the skills or time necessary to successfully implement a complex, modern marketing strategy, but marketing agencies are solely focused on the marketing and sales discipline. Outsourcing to an experienced team that integrates seamlessly into your infrastructure will infuse your organization with new energies and ideas. You’ll introduce fresh and innovative marketing and sales approaches to your customers and business partners.
  • Eliminate hidden costs. While the specific costs of outsourcing might appear to be higher than doing it yourself, there are hidden costs in maintaining internal fixed marketing assets. These include absorbing delays caused by changing priorities, attrition, lack of support when it is needed, etc. Also, the costs of expansion and contraction of marketing functions, even on a monthly basis, can be expensive when done internally.
  • Scalability. While a three-year retainer agreement with a database marketer may be fiscally indistinguishable from a fixed cost, the level of service provided can scale up or down as the situation changes. While an outsourcer might charge more for any one unit of work, he also bears much of the risk prompted by changes in your strategy.
  • Get an outside perspective on your business. Sometimes you can get too close to your business and not see your marketing strategies, programs, or materials from your audience’s perspective. Even though you may know your business inside and out by living and breathing it each day, your perspective is still one-sided. To market successfully to your current audience – and capture new markets – you need to step out of your shoes and into those of your target markets or customers. Having a group on the “outside” supporting your needs can help provide a fresh view of your customer’s perspective.
  • Minimize the impact of marketing staff reductions. You need to continue with projects, but your resources are limited. By outsourcing, you can find qualified, experienced teams to support your marketing needs so the effort, money, and energy you’ve already invested don’t go to waste. Use outside experience with “what works and doesn’t work” scenarios. Whether it’s planning, copywriting, or designing, the right outsource team will have experience with a variety of different marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. You can rely on their lessons over the years to find the correct solution for your business challenge.
  • Maintain momentum with critical projects. They will never fall to the wayside, drop down the priority list, or become forgotten. Today, people change jobs or are hit with lay-offs, while in the middle of projects. When those people leave the company, they will most likely take the project assets with them (in the form of tribal knowledge). When you outsource your marketing relationships, you have one centralized team as your partner, and your knowledge assets remain protected and archived for future use.
  • Hire only whenever and wherever you need resources (on-demand). Hiring full- time staff can be costly when you add up wages, insurance coverage, office equipment and supply needs, training costs, etc. Finding an outsourcing partner allows you the flexibility to bring on talented, knowledgeable experts exactly when and where you need them. And you don’t have to manage or train the entire team – the outsourcing firm does that while you focus on the daily needs of running your own business and generating revenue.
  • Cost reductions. Not only does outsourcing save money in salaries and overhead, but the outsourcing partner can also save you money in direct purchases on marketing programs as well (e.g., printing, media buys, advertising, etc.). By leveraging their supplier, a good outsourcing partner can manage to save a company 10 to 25 percent in overall marketing spending.


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Core functions of a digital marketing agency

Digital marketing firms are becoming more complex by the day. However, there are specific services that almost every digital marketing agency provides. These core services can help your business increase its online presence while remaining on top of market trends.

You can expect your digital marketing firm to provide the following core services:

Creating Digital Ads

One of the core functions of a digital marketing agency is to create digital advertisements. These ads come in many different forms- including PPC ads, social media ads, and Google search ads.

In the digital space, having your ad visible to potential customers is as important as creating the ad itself. Indeed, while you and your digital marketing firm may have spent a fortune in creating the perfect ad, the project will be of little use if your target audience can’t view it.

Digital marketing firms can implement strategies to have your ad become increasingly visible online. From using the right type of ad copy to having your ad rank highly on search engines, digital marketing agencies improve the ROI of your online ad campaigns.

Content marketing

As digital marketers often say: Content is King. Content marketing involves developing unique, relevant, and attractive content for your potential customers. Whether it’s a blog that contains useful information or an e-book that provides industry insights, a digital marketing firm can help you increase your visibility online by becoming a thought leader within your field.

Creating useful and relevant content for your target audience also builds trust among customers, develops brand loyalty, and positions your business as an industry leader within its field.

This includes the content for email marketing, video production, and social media marketing.

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Web design

A digital marketing firm can also help with web design. Many agencies contain an in-house team of web developers and programmers who can develop a new website from scratch, redesign a current website, or optimize your website for mobile compatibility and SEO.

With quality and responsive website, you will be able to elevate your brand and draw more traffic to your online platforms.

Carrying out market research

The needs and pain points of your customers change regularly. There are always rising trends that cause a shift in preferences and customer expectations- and you should remain on top of these trends at all times.

A digital marketing firm offers digital marketing services that can help you remain current by carrying out market research and data analysis.

More specifically, digital marketing agencies organize focus groups where they test, analyze and interpret data relevant to your specific market. This allows you to make data-driven decisions when embarking on a digital marketing campaign.


Digital marketing firms are also experts in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO refers to ranking highly on search engines whenever your target audience searches for a particular keyword. SEO services have become broad and complex, covering everything from content creation to link building and on-page analysis.

Because over 90% of online traffic doesn’t look past the first page of Google, a digital marketing firm can handle your core SEO tasks and help your business rank on the first page of Google searches.

A Business Case for Hiring a Marketing Agency

There is only a small community of successful, talented, and experienced “growth hackers” — or digital growth experts, and trying to secure one full-time can cost well into six-figures per year. For new companies, or a company just exploring digital marketing strategies, this makes little sense.

If you’re a small to mid-sized business or an organization focused on other growth initiatives such as product, outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency that can strategize and execute across multiple marketing channels, could be key.

Additionally, you can get all of the perks of having a full-service performance-based marketing staff while staying within your budget. Hiring a digital marketing agency provides cross-functional experts — who have likely worked with top-tier brands — at a fraction of the cost and with no long-term commitments.

Outsourcing marketing allows companies to focus their resources and control their headcount. This form of operations allows the company to hand over full responsibility for the outsourced function within clearly defined management guidelines and then monitor the performance.

When you break down the costs of a full internal marketing department versus the cost of outsourcing with an external partner, the business case begins to tip for not allowing the “context” to conceal the “core.”


RolesAnnual SalariesCost
Marketing Director$118,000
Content Marketer$80,000
Graphic Design$80,000
SEO Manager$80,000
Website Manager$80,000
Social Media Mgr.$80,000
Annual cost$493,000$120,000
Realized Saving:$225,000 per year

The table illustrates the realized cost savings of 54 percent. There are more soft benefits as well.

Consider the perks of working with a high-performance marketing partner that offers you results, flexibility, and reduction in staff and overhead.

Companies can typically have equal, if not better, results while maintaining product and service quality for a fraction of the cost. In most small to mid-sized organizations, marketing can be outsourced while internal teams focus on the core.

Cost is the most popular reason for outsourcing. You get an entire team of experts, a proven system, and regular accountability—all for less than the cost of hiring one employee.

Not to mention, you avoid the risk of a bad hire, which can cost two and a half times their annual salary. Strategy, such as improving company focus on core business and improving quality, also play a major role in the decision to outsource marketing functions.

On the revenue side, companies with a professional partner can see anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of sales revenue gains. The partner you choose is important and should have a blend of business acumen, sales and marketing experience, and creative insights. This holistic insight provides a complete solution to drive profitable growth quickly.


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In today’s unpredictable economy, companies are trying to find new and innovative ways to keep the marketing momentum going while dealing with budget cutbacks and dramatic fluctuations in the market.

Look for digital marketing companies that offer high-quality work, can improve conversion rates, and are cost effective.

Boards and CEOs are expanding marketers’ scope of work to include more focus on customer experience and beyond.

Forrester Research report revealed that marketers take on new responsibilities that span the entire organization, like creating social media policies and setting new hiring standards. However, 89 percent of respondents are struggling because they are asked to make the changes without a shift in budget or resources.

These firms are turning to digital marketing firms to help them develop sales funnels, increase lead conversions, and developing a marketing scorecard.

The decision to hire a digital marketing firm can be both strategic and tactical. Many companies have a philosophy of outsourcing any activity that is not core to their business.

For example, developing a positioning strategy may be central to the company, while writing a press release may not be. At the tactical level, companies often find themselves strapped for marketing resources to respond to a rapid or unexpected change in the business or perhaps an increased volume of marketing campaigns.

General FAQ

What is digital marketing?

At a high level, digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. 

Why digital marketing matters?

Digital marketing allows you to make marketing transparent, measurable, and accountable for revenue growth. Your finger can be on the true pulse of the revenue growth investments and results across the entire revenue process – from prospects to leads to pipeline to revenue. 

What channels make up digital marketing?

There are seven major categories of online marketing are: Search engine optimization (SEO), Search engine marketing (SEM), Content marketing, Social Media Marketing (SMM), Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), Affiliate marketing, and Email marketing.

What’s the future of digital marketing?

The digital marketing landscape changes so much and so frequently that it’s almost impossible to imagine what the future of digital marketing. However, the offline and online world’s are coming together. Traditional devices such as automobile, door locks, ovens, and even billboards will all be modernized to leverage digital media.

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