Essential Considerations When Choosing Between Marketing Freelancers or Contractors

— September 22, 2017

When it comes to executing your marketing needs, you only want the best and most talented professionals to take on the responsibilities. But not all opportunities and projects call for a full-time hire to your team.

There are plenty of non-employee contingent work solutions – from independent contractors to freelancers to agency partners, to choose from to complete your marketing campaigns and projects. With all of the available flexible marketing workforces to choose from, you may find it difficult to determine which is the best solution for your business.

Some of the most common interim marketing workforce options across businesses of all sizes are freelancers and contractors. They share many similarities but each has its own distinguishing factors that are important to weigh and consider. Various elements like your specific business structure and the work you need done can be the deciding factor in which option is the best for you.

Before you contact a marketing staffing agency or make a final decision, you should consider some key factors…

The Key Difference Between Marketing Contractors and Freelancers

Essential Considerations When Choosing Between Marketing Freelancers or Contractors

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It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the major difference between marketing contractors and freelancers before you decide which is the best fit for your company at any given time.

Marketing freelancers are generally independent professionals who provide services on a per-project basis. They may bill you on an hourly basis or negotiate a set payment option upon the completion of the project. They work independently and have the responsibility of holding themselves accountable during the course of the project. When your company works directly with freelancers it bears the burden of seeking them out, evaluating their qualifications, and arranging a deal.

Marketing contractors on the other hand are found through a third-party partner such as a staffing agency. After explaining all your needs and requirements, the agency then takes on the duty of finding the right marketing talent for your organization. The marketing talent both parties agree on then becomes an employee of your staffing agency and starts to work alongside your team. After you pay your staffing partner an agreed upon amount of hourly work, the agency handles all matters regarding compensation and employment with the marketing contractor.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Coming to a Decision

Depending on your business, each option has its advantages that can help you determine which solution provides the most value. Make sure to ask yourself these questions before making a final decision:

How long do you need help?

Do you need help with a project that just needs a few hours or days of work or are you facing a long-term project that requires a time frame of months or longer?

Employing freelance work can be a good solution for your short-term or one-off challenges such as updating web images, getting copy for some PPC ads, or creating a few new e-commerce landing pages.

Using contract marketing staffing to find partner with a contractor is usually a better solution for more complex projects with larger scopes. These may include managing social media accounts, optimizing your web properties to be mobile-friendly, or organizing customer data.

How important is reliability?

As freelancers are solely accountable for themselves and are completely independent, they sometimes have a reputation of being unreliable. They don’t necessarily owe you an explanation for everything they’re doing (or not doing), which can be a recipe for disaster if you’re trying to close a major marketing project or mission-critical campaign.

If you highly value accountability and reliability, you’ll feel more comfortable finding a contractor through a staffing agency than a freelancer operating on their own terms.

How urgent are you to get started?

Are you in a big hurry to get a job done or is it something you can afford to take your time on to make sure it’s done right?

The time it takes to get a freelancer on board depends on your situation and how high your standards are. If your needs are urgent and you’re not too concerned with thoroughly assessing one’s qualifications too strictly, you may be able to partner with someone today. However, if you have strict requirements, it could take weeks or months to find the person best fit for the job.

While a marketing staffing firm isn’t going to place someone in a role by the end of the day, they will most likely be able to find someone consistently quickly as they probably have a few options available in their network. Staffing agencies work to build a network of viable candidates to provide companies with the top talent. It may take some time but you can be assured that you will be introduced to a professional that is well-qualified for the position.

What level of expertise do you need?

Generally, traditional marketing skills are found in most freelancers. However, finding very niche or cutting-edge skills requires a lot more attention and effort.

It’s one thing to find a freelancer for a quick project encompassing junior-level graphic design work. But finding a marketing professional who has extensive knowledge in sophisticated customer analytics techniques and working with complex data management tools is another story.

For more advanced and technical skills that aren’t easy to find, you may have more luck employing a marketing staffing agency who has experience and knowledge in finding contractors that possess specific capabilities and skills.


From contractors to freelancers to agencies, marketing leaders have a variety of options to allocate their various projects and campaigns to. Before you hurry to make a decision, consider each solution’s advantages and gauge what your business could benefit from in the long-run. Once you’ve carefully evaluated each option and asked yourself these questions, you’ll be in a strong position to make a final decision.

My company has created an easy to follow flowchart aimed to help alleviate the burden of finding the best workforce solution for your business. Download this free flow chart to choose the best solution for your business today!

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