Marketing Advice

Outsourcing to a Fractional Marketing Director vs. Hiring a FTE

Posted by Travis Baker on July 27, 2017

Recently we spoke to a company that was considering adding a marketing associate to their team. I am all in favor of hiring more marketing people, believe me.

However, in this case, this company, let’s call them “Company A,” they already had a full -time marketing associate and a marketing coordinator.

So I was a bit confused. I asked why they weren't promoting their current marketing associate to a leadership role and then adding another associate.

They felt that their marketing associate was not ready to be promoted and they had enough work (maybe) for another person. I asked if they had considered outsourcing the work. They said they had never really thought about it.

I run into companies all the time that have strong ideas about what they outsource vs. what they keep in-house. I believe that you have to challenge your assumptions on occasion to grow. There are some things I don’t outsource and a some that I do. My theory is that if someone else can do it better (and maybe cheaper) and I can spend more time on what makes me money I outsource.Interested in learning more about  Fractional Marketing?

Here are reasons I told “Company A” they should definitely not outsource to a fractional marketing director. If they answered “yes” to any of them and they should hire internally.

  • You already have a full-time marketing director
  • You want to build your internal team of marketers for other reasons
  • You feel the tasks can only be done internally

The answer to all of these was “No.”

Their concern was that if they hire internally, they get 40 hours a week vs. whatever they have to pay to outsource. That is fair, so I suggested we run some numbers. 

The Numbers

The base salary for a marketing associate in Charlotte NC (the location of this company) is right at $50,000. Because of benefits, taxes, etc. it is more realistic to say that we need to add 1.25 to 1.4 of salary. That is before space for your employee, technology expenses; such as a laptop, phone allowance, all that fun stuff.

Maybe let’s say conservatively 1.4x etc. So with a marketing associate salary of 50K x 1.4, you are looking at a nice round $70K for your new associate.

Bear in mind this is ensuring that you find a great employee on the first run, recruiting is not cheap. fractional marketing director 366 marketing.png

Now let’s look at the other side. Let’s say that your hourly rate for a fractional marketing director is $95 an hour. Not the highest in Charlotte NC, but probably not the lowest either.

$70,000/95 is 736 hours. Your full-time employee would work 2,080 hours. Minus, of course, let’s say, three weeks of vacation and sick time. So really 1960 hours for your FTE.

Well, 1960 is a lot more hours than our 736 hours that we got for the same price for our fractional marketing director. In fact, it is 1,224 hours more.

That's a pretty big difference.

My question is, do you think your employees are working 100% of the time that you are paying them? I have to admit even though I was a very dedicated employee I answered phone calls from my wife, online banking and even played some office fantasy football…...and of course March Madness….

The only time that we bill is when we are performing work for our client. In fact, we go as far as to break it down to quarter hours. We even have timers that ensure that when we stop working, we stop billing.

So back to our theoretical FTE. Let’s say maybe you lose an hour a day from your full-time employees. So let’s take our 49 weeks of work minus one hour a day. We lose about 245 hours to bring us to 1,715.

How much of that time is tied up in non-productive work? I am not saying busy work, but just something that might not be the best use of their time Possibly random projects or tasks that don't necessarily relate to marketing directly. Perhaps filling out expense reports or organizing a company outing. Or like me at one job, consulting with one of our divisions about the paint color in their lobby.

Maybe another 10 hours a week? So we are down to 1,225 total hours. And that is still 489 hours over our fractional marketing director at 736.

And that breaks down only 9.9 hours a week. So strictly by the math maybe it doesn't make any sense. However there is one other consideration.

Value of a fractional marketing director

The main aspect I think a fractional marketing director brings to the table is that they have a bit more insight from the jump than a marketing associate. They bring more value.

I have been a marketing associate, coordinator and director. I believe that the experience adds value. For instance, you can’t compare the time your CFO works vs. the hours that a second-year accountant works.

I don’t know what “Company A” will decide, and frankly it is immaterial for this discussion. What is important is that you think about what marketing resources you do in-house and what you outsource.

And if it makes sense to hire a FTE where you could get more value from other sources.

If you want to talk about how a fractional marketing director might work for your company give us a shout at 366 marketing.

Topics: fractional marketing director