How much does it cost to do your own marketing and advertising?

Many small businesses choose to do their own marketing and advertising, rather than hiring an agency. Taking this route seems like it would save a lot of money—but consider that every hour you spend on marketing is time you won’t be managing your business. So how much time are these businesses really saving?


Marketing and advertising can be kind of an addictive career, and a lot of marketers spend many years in the industry. Here at Field Group, we have over 60 years of combined marketing and advertising experience (that’s an English major’s math, so it’s probably actually higher than that).

Of course, you don’t need to have 60 years of marketing experience to be able to do it on your own. But all that time we’ve spent in the field means we’ve already learned what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to. That means you can expect a higher return on investment for your marketing dollars if you go through an agency than if you go it alone.


A lot of employees at a marketing agency will have various degrees: B.A.s in marketing/communications or technical degrees in design or art. Let’s assume the average agency has 10 employees—that means, collectively, they spent over 30 years in college!

Now, you probably don’t have time to go to 30 years worth of college right this minute. And, it’s no small feat to master a program like InDesign or learn how to wrangle media reps. While you can certainly have a go, it’s going to take some serious time and energy. And that might mean your business is getting less than 100% of you in the meantime.

Hiring your own employees

If you were to hire your own in-house marketing team, the costs would really add up. You would have to wade through resumes, schedule interviews, complete orientations and training, not to mention salaries and other benefits. For less than the cost of one full-time employee, you could hire an agency that has 10 or more employees with different skillsets (design, project management, media buying). Agencies only work when you need them, so you wouldn’t need to spend money on them when you don’t have campaigns or projects to work on.


Marketing agencies will have built up a lot of relationships over the years: with media reps, in the community, etc. These relationships give them resources to get better media attention with press releases, lower rates on TV and radio spots, and better pricing on printed items like brochures and flyers. These savings can be passed on to clients, saving you money compared to what you would spend if you did it yourself.

How much time and money are you really saving?

Kudos to you if you choose to do your own marketing—it’s a big and important task. Make sure you consider how much time you actually spend on marketing, and remember that all of that time takes away your ability to run your business and do what you truly enjoy. You should weigh the cost of hiring an outside marketing agency against the quality product and ideas an agency can produce. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision whether or not doing your own marketing is truly effective and affordable for your business.

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