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Oct

21

2014

The Real Cost of Using Hubspot

Inbound Marketing

You may have done your pricing research and ROI analysis of Hubspot, but have you considered the real cost of making it work?

In economics, real cost is defined as “The overall actual expense involved in creating [stuff]... typically includes the value of all tangible resources such as raw materials and labor…” So beyond just the financial consideration of being a Hubspot customer, there is a time and labor consideration as well.

Many business owners get wrapped up in the vision of what Hubspot can do for their company, but when its time to actually implement that vision, it can be overwhelming. The majority of the time the task is delegated to in-house marketing personnel, or outsourced to an Hubspot Partner (aka a certified inbound marketing agency such as ourselves).

In order to get a basis for comparison, let’s compare the time it would typically take in-house employees to develop the components of an inbound marketing campaign, versus an average agency retainer cost for similar work (retainers are the monthly fee the agency will charge to do marketing for a company).

Every company is different, and both scenarios could make sense in different situations, that are also case dependant on things like industry peculiarities and budget. But for the sake of comparison, we are not considering those external variables in this blog.

So here is the breakdown of the real cost for executing inbound marketing campaigns.

Time

If an in-house employee is expected to create every aspect of the campaign (copy, design, build, promote, report) by themselves, things tend to turn south pretty quickly.

Even the most talented of inbound marketers generally aren't completely proficient in every aspect of campaign development. That means it will take more than one employee to execute, and outsourcing would still be needed to compensate for those skill gaps.

In-house managers also have the time management hurdle to cross with the limited amount of time one person has to complete the work. For example, when creating a premium offer (such as an e-book, whitepaper, case study, etc), there may be a dozen or more tasks:

  • Researching the offer (2 hours)
  • Developing the campaign outline (3 hours)
  • Writing the copy and designing the offer (15 hours depending on the offer complexity)
  • Copywriting, design and building of the landing pages (2 hours), thank you page (1 hours), emails (2 hours), automated nurturing sequences (2-4 hours depending on the sequence length), and Calls-To-Action (1 hour)
  • Quality checking each piece of the campaign (3 hours)
  • Adding the campaign to the website and current promotions (2 hours), as well as creating unique promotions specific to the campaign (depends on the promotion)

If one or two people were executing all these tasks, it could take a minimum of 35 hours (or 4.5 days of work if the employee is ONLY working on that task) to complete one campaign.

However, a typical Hubspot agency has multiple people working on multiple tasks in unison. That means in the one week it would take an in-house employee to develop one campaign; the agency could also create the same campaign, as well as write blogs, schedule social promotions, review analytics and reports, all with a more professional, cohesive finished product.

Finally, from an HR standpoint, employees are just more expensive than a vendor. It typically costs a company between 20% - 25% above their salary as a real cost. God forbid that person should quit, leaving a big gap left to fill, and taking longer to get that next person up to speed.

To be fair, there is one major time consideration when partnering with a Hubspot agency: the ramp-up time needed to properly research the company. In-house marketing personnel may already be up to speed.

Money

At this point we are going to go ahead and assume you've run the numbers for your Hubspot fee, and maybe you've even had an agency retainer quote (if you haven’t, lets talk). To sum it up:

  • The price you pay for Hubspot depends on how many services you’ll need from them, and how many contacts you have. If you are a Hubspot customer, you have to pay for this fee regardless if you are working with an agency or not, so this pricing is not a part of the comparison.
  • The monthly price you pay to work with a Hubspot Partner depends on how much work needs to be done in order to meet the time expectation of your goals.

As explained in our previous blog, every customer’s inbound marketing campaign is unique, and the monthly retainers reflect that. The main considerations when pricing out a monthly program include 1. the tools, 2. the goals, and 3. the approach.

1. The tools can range anywhere from the standard blog writing, email, social, and landing page offers; to webinars, podcasts, video, forums, and more. Tool selection depends on what their buyer personas and contacts are most engaged by.

2. How fast the company wants to ramp up and meet their goals will determine how many of those tools are used, and how frequently they are created.

3. When the company and the agency collaborate, the approach they use can also determine the pricing. Questions such as “How involved with content development will the client be?” and “How extensive will the approval process be?” will influence the cost analysis.

There are many things to consider, but the main benefit of clarifying the program and determining cost of working with an agency, is this: the company is only purchasing what they need. The agency bears the responsibility of hiring and having available all the talent/skill set required to execute.

The other main benefit of clarifying cost is the marketing activities are customized for each client depending on their goals. Beginning months may focus on initial development and strategy, while later months may focus on content execution and distribution.

Every campaign is different, and every line item has numerous factors that must be considered when giving an actual quote from an agency.

A Detailed Analysis

For more information, as well as a chart breakdown of the actual time and cost comparision of an in-house employee and Hubspot Partner, check out our latest exclusive ebook, Hubspot: DIY or Not?. It will not only go over the breakdown in time and money, but also:

  • the qualities an inbound marketer will have,
  • other factors to compare outside of time and money,
  • and if you decide to use an inbound marketing agency, how to find and choose the best one for your company.

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