Today's gig-driven economy means there are more individuals than ever hanging a virtual shingle and advertising their expertise for hire. Especially in advertising, marketing and design fields, freelancing has become a key aspect of the gig economy.
Marketing Agency vs Freelancer
While it is tempting to hire a freelance writer or designer for your next project, an agency might be a better option. Here are some points to consider when making the choice.
It Takes a Team
In most cases, hiring a freelancer is cheaper - there, the cat is out of the bag. However, freelancers are often one-man bands (or one-woman shows). They don't have a pool of resources to draw from - there isn't an extra set of eyes reviewing copy or design elements. There isn't anyone to brainstorm with or rely on for new insight. A marketing agency, on the other hand, brings the added benefit of more people to your project. More people means more experience, wisdom, and creativity than you can get from just one freelancer.
What You Pay For
Agencies have overhead which drives up their rates. However, the leverage of an agency can bring unexpected benefits to your project. An agency has often worked with the biggest media in town, established relationships with high-profile people, and generated a body of work that can be leveraged to increase your reputation. All of these elements work in your favor. In the end, an agency rate may be higher on paper, but the connections, insight and advice you'll receive from a team of experts might make it the more cost-effective option.
Time vs. Talent
Some marketers hesitate to use agencies due to a long held belief that they are stodgy or maybe a little too set in their ways. Freelancers are a little quicker, typically younger, and seem to know all of the latest buzz words. However, just because something's fast, doesn't mean it's good. The breadth of talent a marketing agency can provide far outweighs the extra one or two days it may take them to turn around a project.
When deciding between a freelancer or agency for your next advertising, marketing or design project, consider all of the above. Remember that it must be about value, not cost - you want to see the best possible work for the money you'll spend. A marketing agency is almost always your best bet in that regard.
Ryan's Experience as a Freelancer and Working in a Marketing Agency
I have worked for large and small agencies. Also, for 10 years I was solely a freelancer. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Finding a freelancer who is talented and experienced, can communicate well, and is available is a challenge that I see many companies running into. Working with a marketing agency typically avoids this scenario. However, processes can bog down a lot of agencies. That is why we formed Energyhill: to have processes that align with our clients' goals and are customized to our clients' needs. For example, we've had partners that just need print material, but need it to tie into their digital campaigns and initiatives. As a team of digital experts, we can make that happen; most freelancers working solo would have trouble. Flexible processes and a team of specialists allow us to pool resources, get creative, and deliver on our goals efficiently. All in all, I'd much prefer the agency route, now that I have been in both worlds.
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