Our work MO and how we make a difference (& FAQ’s)
For close to a decade, I have seen the digital marketing vertical within the startup and SMB segment very closely. And I have found it to be painfully lopsided across the globe. The story of how business owners are terrific at building a quality product or service but not so great at marketing is all too common.
In most cases, I have seen business founders either hire smart junior executives, trusting that they will learn the trade along the way, pay a fat salary for one star marketer and somehow hope she/he will bring in some magic, or outsource to a super expensive agency which promises the moon in 3 months. Sadly, I have very seldom seen these options work out at scale. Sure, one out every ten startups get lucky and nail it. But what about the rest?
At MarHack, we are trying to break the barriers and take enterprise level marketing to the grassroots.
— Bodhisattwa Debnath (Founder, MarHack)
How much does in-house digital marketing cost?
As reported by indeed.com after analysing over 40,000 job advertisements in the past 12 months, if you were to build a full-service in-house digital marketing team, here’s what it would cost you (these don’t count budget for tools and services, SEO, PPC and Social Media managers who are a level below the mentioned positions): Marketing Manager (22,143 salaries reported) $73,633 per year, Analytics Manager (4,103 salaries reported) $104,749 per year, Program Manager (30,931 salaries reported) $78,675 per year.
How much does outsourced digital marketing cost?
Typically and quite honestly speaking, the range is massive. You can hire “social media experts” to drive you 100,000 “real traffic” from places like Fiverr and People Per Hour for under $20 a project. Let’s just say we are all smart enough to not go there. A quality single-solution freelancer (someone who does one job well – like an SEO specialist or Social Media Manager) quotes anywhere between $50 to $100 per hour. A solutions partner (a.k.a an agency) will cost you up to $20,000 a month. A full-service agency, depending on your needs, generally quotes anywhere between $5000 to $50,000 a month.
“costs an average of $2,000-$4,000 per month – and that’s just for Twitter” – The Content Factory, “Standard social media marketing budgets are around $1,000 – $5,000 per month depending on what’s included.” – Quora, “social media agency like Vayner Media charges their clients a minimum of $50k-$60k a MONTH” – Quora.
Why does high-quality digital marketing cost so much?
I’ll let you on to a few guarded secrets from inside the marketing services industry. Why am I doing it? Because for six years I have been on the other end and when I crossed over to the service provider side, what I found was a can of worms.
A majority of full-service agencies white-label their work. Typically, when you pay say $10,000 a month to an agency, over 60% of that goes towards white-labelled services. These are smaller category-focused services, sometimes from low-cost geographies.
It’s still a human resource heavy stack. Most standard digital marketing service providers have between 50-200 employees but the active client list ranges between 10 to 25 (for really big names). Operational stacks are usually extremely hierarchical and the payroll costs are one of the biggest expenditures for any agency.
How do we break the cost and quality barrier?
First, we are a tech-heavy service at the top and bottom of the execution funnel. Instead of outsourcing core functionalities and competency, or setting up a behemoth of an employee base, we either build intuitive technology in-house or use industry-leading solutions. These enable us to execute at lightning speed and deliver exceptional quality. With MarHack, you will reap the benefits of tools like AHrefs, Buzzsumo, Moz, Audiense, Hubspot, Raven Tools, AdEspresso, Muck Rack, and many others.
Second, instead of setting up brick-and-mortar offices, we are a 100% remote organisation. This allows us to recruit top talent in the industry and keep the team lean and well connected without any hierarchical complexities. We are huge fans of Slack, Asana and Trello.
Third, we trimmed our entire bookkeeping overhead. Believe it or not, a considerably large amount of business revenue for marketing service providers goes into bookkeeping. This includes creating and sending reports to clients, payroll, invoicing and more. We outsource all of these to quality and lightweight tools like Harvest which help us retain transparency and reduces overhead.
No blackbox marketing
The most common form of service given by marketing professionals or agencies is based on deliverables. These are essentially “packages”. Which means, a typical package includes traffic growth of certain numbers, social media management of x number of days in a week, getting you 10k social media followers, growing your revenue by X %, etc. What happens underneath to get you those results, if often under the wraps or vague at the strategic levels.
At MarHack, you work with you and your team as consultants or execution partners instead of from the outside. That’s why, as a company, we categorically avoid “acceleration projects” where we are called in to “scale the efforts we (the client) have been making”. Depending on how involved you want to get, you can either sit back and see the numbers come in, or get as involved with us as you do with your in-house employee. We don’t just deliver the results, we show you how it’s done so you can do it yourself.
Metrics that matter
You will never find us talking of “impressions” and “reach”. We know these don’t matter to your business unless it generates revenue or increases brand awareness. We only deal with number of sales, bookings, leads generated, spends to revenue ratio and other solid numbers that you can actually use – for yourself, your investors and stakeholders.