Marketing Consultants vs Marketing Managers serve similar roles, but a Marketing Consultant will likely be more experienced and a better value. Here’s why…

  • A Marketing Manager is likely to be someone with 3-5 years of experience. A Marketing Consultant, by contrast, typically brings 10-20 years of experience to your business
  • By hiring a Marketing Manager, your company needs to pay taxes and benefits: not so with a Marketing Consultant. Additionally, there are other expenses involved with hiring a marketing manager — namely, office space, a desk, phone & computer, plus all the software that’s required to power marketing automation today.
  • It is far easier to terminate a Marketing Consultant vs. a Marketing Manager. If you feel your Marketing Consultant is not performing, 30 days notice, or whatever is stipulated in your contract is all that’s required. And there are no hard feelings. With an internal hire, however, companies must follow strict rules about how to fire an employee gracefully and, thanks to the abundance of lawsuits in the workplace, walk on eggshells when figuring out the right way to fire employees. What small business owner has time to walk on all those eggshells?
  • A Marketing Consultant, especially a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, is backed by an extensive partner network that supplies marketing automation tools at discount prices, and those savings are passed on to you

But there’s a far more important reason why you should consider hiring a Marketing Consultant over a Marketing Manager. Most marketing managers just aren’t equipped to stay abreast of the growing complexity of digital marketing.

How Time Has Changed The Debate Over Marketing Consultant vs. Marketing Manager

Brief History of SEO

The Internet, and Google specifically, have dramatically changed the way businesses acquire new customers. When the Internet was young, ranking on page 1 was a simple recipe. About all that was involved was the optimization of one’s web pages with the appropriate meta-title and description tags. If your content matched those tags, then you were golden.

When marketers caught on, Google shifted its algorithms. Suffice it to say that SEO is not nearly as simple as ‘the old days.’ As Dorothy says, ” Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

In the background, during all of Google’s algorithmic shifts, Social Media grew up and further influenced the way information is shared. Google is giving more weight, now, to signals from social media platforms, and those platforms are now selling advertising of their own.

Marketing Has Become Far More Technical and Complicated

With all these newly emerging marketing channels and technologies, marketing has become much more complicated. It’s difficult enough for marketers and business owners to gain mastery over just one of these channels, but knowing them all requires an extremely wide skill set. Therefore, because the skill set of a Marketing Consultant vs. a Marketing Manager is far broader, hiring a Marketing Consultant will ensure that all your marketing bases are covered.

A Marketing Consultant is Like a Rock-Star-Finish-Carpenter-Turned-General- Contractor, Whereas a Marketing Manager is Like a Young GC

The best analogy I can give you of what a marketing consultant does is that of an experienced general contractor. If you were building a rough cabin, a finish carpenter or a young general contractor without much experience might be adequate for that job. But if you were building an entire house, you’d look to an experienced general contractor who has a reputation of bringing in very high quality, skilled subs for the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, right? I don’t know too many people who would be comfortable letting their painter install their electrical panel or letting their plumber hang their doors or install their windows, do you?

Today, marketing requires an extremely wide skill set, and each functional area requires specific, and most often, technical supporting skills. Most of marketing, today, is technology-driven, and that has further accelerated the rate of change in all the sub-areas of marketing. For example, 16 years ago, WordPress did not exist, and now it accounts for over 75% of all content management systems. Ten years ago, few companies even had CRMs, and seven years ago, Consumer Reports was about the only place one could find product reviews, and in general, reviews did not play a meaningful role in the buyer journey. So not only do marketers need deep technical expertise in all of these functional marketing areas, they need to invest time to stay current in them because they change so rapidly.

A marketing consultant, for lack of a better analogy, is like an experienced general contractor who is a rock star finish carpenter. Yes, he or she knows the electrical codes, how to slope a deck, and how to install a window. However; their highest and best use is to play quarterback for each new building project, and it’s expected that they will call in a select team of highly qualified sub-contractors. You rely on them for their experience, judgment, and ability to get a job done right and on time.

It’s Not Just About the Talent; There’s a Huge Cost Savings Involved with Hiring a Marketing Consultant vs. a Marketing Manager

But there’s an economic advantage, too, of outsourcing your marketing to a marketing consultant. The technical skills required to service the wide variety of marketing channels that are available to us today are diverse, and often not found in the same person. Some are strongly right-brain, technical skills like coding; others are left-brain creative skills like graphic design. And at the heart of all marketing today is content. Good writers, like an impeccable finish carpenter, are difficult to find. So depending on the business type, in order to satisfy the talent requirements needed in a marketing department, you’d have to hire a full-time marketing manager, halftime web designer, content writer, social media manager, SEO specialist and email marketer, and a quarter-time graphic designer. Based on the salaries reported at the end of July 2018 on, that comes to over $301,000 per year. And that’s before taxes and benefits, so tack on another 25-30% for that. And it doesn’t take into account the need for extra office space, furniture, computers, phones, and the like.

cost of hiring marketing manager vs consultant

Conversely, you can pay one Marketing Consultant to accomplish the same tasks, and get a better result because chances are you will choose someone who is far more senior vs. a mid-level marketing manager. And those years of experience will pay out in spades when it comes time to determining the right marketing strategy for your company.

But, not all marketing consultants are created equally, are they? Certified Duct Tape Marketing consultants have all gone through rigorous training and a strict certification procedure. We receive weekly industry updates, attend quarterly boot camps and an annual Summit where we learn and share best practices in marketing strategy, analytics, and automation. In addition to a consultant network of over 150 global, top-performing certified marketing consultants, we all draw from the strength of our partner network, through which we receive substantial discounts on tools and technologies, and can pass these savings on to you, our customers.

Marketing Is A System

Economic benefits aside, the reason Duct Tape Marketing Consultants are successful is that we all subscribe to the same philosophy that marketing is a system. And by understanding the fundamental elements of that system and applying it across all industries, we can be successful. Two of the most fundamental tenets of the Duct Tape System are:

  • the importance of having a clear marketing strategy that’s aligned with other business goals, and
  • a deep understanding of consumer behavior, especially with regard to the psyche of the buying process, something we refer to as the customer journey through the marketing hourglass.

How Does Clear Lake Marketing Solutions Help Its Customers?

My firm, Clear Lake Marketing Solutions, services its customers through both standard & customized packages and a-la-carte services because the needs of every business are unique. The best way to tell which package is most appropriate for your business is through a strategic review of your industry, your competitors, your value proposition and your online presence. We pair your sales goals to lead generating tactics that stand the best chance of helping you meet your targets. We select those tactics that are likely to have the highest ROI, and we execute those tactics until we have measurable results. Through science, analysis, and metrics, we refine your strategy until you surpass your goals. As we proceed, we train your internal staff on how to execute the plan, so you can reduce your overhead to and dependence on your consultant. Finally, when we take off the training wheels, you are pedaling away with a crazy smile on your face, and we know we’ve done our job well because you no longer need us for anything more than a quarterly check-in or tune-up. But by that time, you’re just paying for an oil change and a lube rather than a whole engine.

If You Really Need In-House Marketing Staff

For the most part, having your Marketing Consultant work remotely is the best of both worlds. They can stay connected through Slack, text, or email to your entire team, but you don’t have to bear the burden of their overhead costs. In some businesses, however, it’s important to have at least someone from your marketing department on-premise. In these situations, ask your Marketing Consultant to hire and train a marketing manager, associate, or even someone on your staff to carry out those marketing functions that require real-time touches with your staff. You will still save money, yet be guaranteed knowledge transfer should you decide to fire your Marketing Consultant.

Schedule a Free 15 Minute Consultation

If you’re at the point where you know you need to do something to get more customers in your door, but not sure where to start, shot us an email at hello @ and we’ll set up a free 15-minute consultation, and we’ll give you some ideas.

About Ann Grace

Based in Marin County, I’m a marketing specialist with an MBA and over 25 years of experience. I work remotely, for the most part, serving small, medium and large companies in the US.

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