Growth Marketing Recruitment: In-House Marketing vs. Growth Marketing Agency

Published on: | Updated on: | Caroline Lane

In part 1 of our series on hiring growth marketing talent, we established the eight key functions that comprise a core growth marketing team. 

But what is the best way to fill all of those roles? And how can you deliver rapid growth without creating excessive admin for your marketing managers?

Your two basic options are building an in-house growth marketing team or hiring a growth marketing agency

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each:

The Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing


  • Full-time availability to work for your brand
  • Built-in investment in your brand’s success
  • Ability to coordinate more easily with other internal departments


  • Highly expensive to commit to eight full-time hires
  • Harder to replace if results are not meeting expectations
  • You will likely need more than eight people to meet all of your growth marketing needs

Growth Marketing Agency


  • More cost-effective and lower commitment 
  • Enable more targeted support and greater domain-specific expertise
  • Allow you to benefit from their experience working with a range of other brands


  • Require onboarding
  • Communication and culture-fit may not be right
  • Difficult to choose the right agency

How to Outsource Growth Marketing Talent

Clearly, there are multiple benefits to hiring a growth marketing agency or building an in-house team. But for the vast majority of brands, at least some outsourcing will be necessary. This raises some big questions, many of which we answer below:

Should you hire growth marketing freelancers?

There is a big trend towards using freelancers in the marketing world, particularly since COVID-19. The growing marketplace for specialists in all of the areas we’ve covered makes this a viable strategy for B2B brands, as they can likely access quality talent with relative ease. However, there are a few challenges to address.

Leaning too heavily on freelancers will likely lead to a large talent pool, and all of those relationships have to be managed individually. On top of that, coordinating workflows can be a big challenge with numerous siloed freelancers, which can create bottlenecks for your growth marketing efforts.

Freelancers may help you plug gaps in the early stages of your marketing. But as your business scales, it will probably be more efficient to use a growth marketing agency and allow them to source and manage any freelancers you might need.

Choosing a growth marketing agency

As growth marketing has grown in prominence, the number of agencies has skyrocketed. Given that most agencies offer similar services — and make similar claims — it can feel like rolling the dice when you hire one.

The reality is there are a few basic requirements that will help you filter out 90% of prospective partners. Any growth marketing agency worth hiring will have:

Proven expertise in growth marketing

Ask them: Do you have a proven track record of measurable success working with other brands? Can you showcase the quality work you’ve produced? What makes a great growth marketing strategy?

A large enough talent network

Ask them: Can your team scale as our brand grows? How do you handle excess demand? How responsive are you?

Industry-specific expertise

Ask them: How much experience do you have in our market? How well do you understand the challenges our buyers face? Can you show us evidence of previous success in our industry?

A set of values that match yours

Ask them: How do you define a successful client relationship? What are your priorities when working with a brand? 

The best growth marketing agencies will have strong, authoritative answers to all of these questions. But that begs the question: Once you’ve hired a growth marketing agency, how do you ensure the collaboration runs smoothly? 

3 Key Factors For a Positive Growth Marketing Agency Relationship

1. Efficient Onboarding

The first few weeks of working with an agency may be the most crucial. It’s during this period you establish the tone and cadence of communication, the baseline expectations of your engagement, and the level of involvement your team will have in the marketing process.

Invest more time and effort during these weeks to ensure your agency has a detailed understanding of your products or services and buyers. This could range from a simple platform walkthrough to a full factory visit. 

Also, ensure the agency spends a lot of time early on getting to grips with your existing data and tech stack. Their efforts will be defined by the quality of data and their ability to leverage it. They might have to totally revamp your system; they might simply integrate or migrate it to a new CRM.

2. Consistent Communication

Regular communication is key to ensuring you have proper visibility of your agency’s activities. It’s also important that the agency feels comfortable asking for additional information or support to improve the quality of their work.

Set up regular meeting cadences and establish clear lines of communication as soon as possible. Each party should know who their primary point of contact is and how they prefer to receive communication. 

3. Reliable Performance Measurement

Growth marketing is all about increasing revenue and scaling your profitability. Measurement is a key part of that, and any agency worth working with should be ready to be held to high expectations.

Agree on detailed KPIs and quarterly targets, but bear in mind that these targets will affect the agency’s priorities. You should therefore ensure any goal you set encourages the right strategic approach. 

For example: don’t focus exclusively on click-through rates (CTRs); instead, look at how many prospects are requesting demos and are converting into viable opportunities. This measures the actual impact an ad has, not just how many clicks it generates — and incentivizes your agency to focus on what makes a real difference to your brand. 

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Want to learn how we can take the burden off your internal team, reduce your need for full-time hires and drive lasting growth for your brand?

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