Should I Collaborate with a Marketing Firm or Hire a Freelancer on Upwork?


In building your brand, you will inevitably realize at some point that you’ll need to bring in creative professionals to achieve your marketing goals. Whether it’s a campaign you’re building or a total rebrand, there are some things you simply CAN’T do inhouse, and other things that you might be able to wing, but that are better left to the professionals for truly stunning results.

So, who do you hire? And how do you hire? For many executives, it can be very, very tempting to keep the budget as low as possible for marketing initiatives, but what is the hidden cost?

The Crossroads

As far as we are concerned, when it comes to finding a marketing and brand development partner to help elevate your company’s mission and goals, there are “two roads diverged,” to borrow the eloquence of one Mr. Robert Frost.

When you stand at the crossroads on your journey toward a better brand, you can go one of two ways...

There’s option #1: finding a long-term partner who will come to love and foster your vision and help you take actionable steps to be the BEST you can be in realizing your goals in your marketing endeavors. Often times, this means working with a local marketing team who possesses varied skill sets, an understanding of the local culture, and insight into your demographics. We liken this option to marrying, versus…

Option #2: finding a quick fix to grind out some copy, graphic design, or a new website. Often one can find a relatively inexpensive freelancer on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Cloudpeeps. The freelancers will vary in location, ability, experience, and professionalism. They are not hired to help become architects of your brand’s marketing strategy, they are simply hired to perform an immediate function, often with very little context of your brand’s culture and goals, and sometimes from the other side of the world. Using our relationship metaphor, this option is pretty much your typical one night stand.

It’s all about the relationship with your marketing partner.

So what are you after? Getting the job done as cheaply as possible, in a way that may not actually better your business, or finding a partner or team of partners you can trust to craft intentional, evocative content that will increase your brand’s market awareness?

We are often asked what the benefits are of partnering with Mountain Laurel Digital for marketing and SEO strategy versus hiring a freelancer on Upwork.

Quite simply, when you hire someone remotely for one off jobs, here’s what’s lost:

Familiarity: Admit it, entrusting your marketing goals to a freelancer you have not met or spoken with is dicey. If you’ve never done it before, you won’t know what to ask, what to expect, whether someone has proven experience and credentials, or whether they “get you.” You won’t shake their hand, look them in the eye, and otherwise vibe with them. Without the nonverbal cues or roots in the same community, how can you verify that your partner is the right person for your brand?

Context: This could be local, cultural, or refer to the understanding (or lack thereof) of the demographics who engage with you. All of this information is critical to the success of your marketing and branding goals, because without the knowledge of who you’re talking to and what motivates them, you won’t be saying anything that resonates.

Strategy: When you hire a marketing firm like Mountain Laurel Digital, you are enlisting a team of experienced professionals to holistically analyze your brand. We never think in terms of one piece of content, one campaign, or a single SEO goal. We design plans to increase your brand’s exposure, earn you loyalists, position you as a resource, and enter the hearts of the people for whom you exist. We find other experts to integrate our services with in order to elevate your brand in a multifaceted way. Hiring a freelancer can’t touch that level of partnership.

Quality: You might be able to squeak out a few meh blog posts using Upwork, and it might be hella cheap, but with lower rates comes lower quality. To borrow a quote from Red Adair, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

There is a stark difference in the services you will receive when you hire a marketing firm versus a remote freelancer in your marketing endeavors. At Mountain Laurel Digital, we offer bespoke processes and deliverables, driven by an understanding of your brand, your demographic, and the technicality of increasing your online exposure. We love helping our clients month after month, year after year, in building their brands’ equity.

To schedule a consultation with the marketing experts at Mountain Laurel Digital, email

Caitlin Campbell