How to Run a Full Service Marketing Agency Without Designers

Mmm... cookies!

By continuing to use our website, you consent to our cookie policy.

Privacy Policy
Here’s How to Run a Full Service Marketing Agency Without Hiring Designers

How to Run a Full Service Marketing Agency Without Hiring Designers

Full service includes design. But do you really need to hire a graphic designer to have a successful full service marketing agency? Definitely not, and here’s why!

June 17, 2022
10 minutes


You might think that a full service marketing agency cannot be run without a designer in-house. Or, more likely, that you’d need an entire design team. Think again! We’re here to explain how you can provide a premium service to your clients with terrific design outsourcing solutions.

What is a full service digital marketing agency? Is it possible to run one without hiring designers? How can you still provide quality design to your clients without a designer in-house?

We’re here to answer all your burning questions!

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

There are many types of marketing firms, so let’s start by understanding what differentiates a full service digital marketing agency from the rest.

Here are some of the most common types of marketing agencies.

  • Advertising agencies: They create ad campaigns for existing brands and companies. They’re often employed for the launch of a new product or service or to manage a sizable multichannel campaign.
  • Brand agencies: They focus on developing brands. This includes different tasks, such as market research, creation of a brand mission statement, development and design of logo and brand guidelines, etc.
  • Design agencies: Although they are still involved in ideation, design agencies are more of a “service” than any other. You turn to them with a clear idea of what you need, and they come up with creative design solutions.
  • PR agencies: They usually don’t involve design but instead focus on opportunities for getting a company or product free media coverage.
  • SEO agencies: These specialized agencies come up with keyword lists relevant to your business. They devise and help you implement an SEO strategy that gets your site to rank high in search engines.
  • Social media agencies: A relatively new type of agency (compared to the rest), these smaller agencies focus on your social media presence. They devise and implement a strategy aligned with your brand, goals, and relevant social media trends.
  • Web design agency: Designing a website is a huge task that often requires a whole team. These specialized agencies can often provide additional support for implementing complex designs (motion graphics, interactive design elements, etc.).

A full service marketing agency, on the other hand, encompasses all of these areas. So, you can see how a designer is a pretty integral part of any such agency.

Learn how to design captivating digital ads

Get inspired by the catchiest and best-designed ads we found.

From a logo to UI/UX, there’s no beating around the bush. As a full service digital marketing agency you are expected to provide clients with stunning graphic design.

Why you need to offer graphic design services


When people think of a creative agency, they often remember the show Mad Men and imagine that a catchy campaign tagline is the be-all of advertising. But what does a full service marketing agency do these days, and is everything entirely as focused on catchy copywriting

Design is an integral part of marketing and, therefore, should be a part of the core offer of any full service digital marketing and advertising agency. People these days are used to visual communication, so if you can’t come up with stellar graphics, your marketing campaigns are doomed to fail.

Here are a few reasons why any full service digital marketing agency should offer graphic design services to its clients.

1. It’s part of branding

Suppose you’re a small agency just starting out. Who is likely to be your clients? Small businesses just starting out.

These are often the people who wonder, “what does a full service marketing agency do” before they solicit your services. They are starting from scratch and need a lot of guidance and support.

More importantly, many clients will include small businesses owners that don’t have an established brand identity yet. This is where you come in.

Imagine doing extensive market research, helping them come up with a mission statement, and even devising a logo concept; and then, you send them off to find a designer to create the logo and visual identity. Pretty disappointing, right?

By offering the complete branding package, you become more competitive and more appealing to your primary target clients.

2. Design improves sales

A full service digital marketing and advertising agency helps clients grow their business and boost sales. These days, it’s a task that cannot be done without graphic design.

Good design is directly related to sales. Let’s take a look at an example. In 2014, Coke launched the “Share a Coke” campaign. As you know, the campaign involved a simple change in the packaging design to include names, pet names, and different fun titles and personalize the iconic cans. The result? Coke saw an increase in sales which hadn’t happened for decades prior.

A more recent study by McKinsey proved that businesses with a strong focus on design outperformed the industry benchmark.

And there is also lots of other data and statistics to support this claim. Here are a few vital findings:

  • 60% of consumers will avoid brands with unattractive logos.
  • A stellar UI design on your website can boost conversion by up to 400%.
  • 75% of consumers base their opinion of an e-commerce website on design.
  • 81% of consumers have tried a product because they liked the packaging.

3. It expands your client list

As you might expect, there are many more people who need design than those who don’t. Only one-third of designers in the US work as in-house designers. That means a vast market of businesses and people rely on outsourced solutions, such as a full service marketing agency.

Remember that most people partner with a full service marketing agency with continued collaboration in mind. Unlike, for example, advertising services, these creative companies are supposed to offer continued support in your ongoing marketing efforts. Since design is an integral part of marketing, your agency needs to be able to cover this area in the long haul.

4. Visual communication is more effective

Did you know that images are processed 60,000 times faster than text? Nope, I didn’t add any extra zeroes to that number.

Here are a few other eye-opening statistics.

And the list goes on. We’re so used to taking in information through visual channels that these days it’s really unwise to rely on text alone. You can’t really create an attractive marketing and advertising offer without including graphic design in it.

Learn how to use informal communication to attract customers

Get acquainted with communication strategies that will humanize your brand

Why you shouldn’t hire a graphic designer for your full service marketing agency

Now you know why graphic design is essential for any integrated marketing agency. So you’re probably already thinking about hiring a graphic designer right away.

A full-time graphic designer is not your only option. In fact, outsourcing is already a very popular tactic with many agencies. The latest Cella creative industry report suggests that a staggering 90% of agencies use freelancers and independent contractors to support their growing body of work. Here are some of the main benefits of outsourcing for marketing agencies.

1. It’s expensive

A full-time designer in the US earns an average of 60k per year. Compare that to an average rate of $35 on Upwork, and you can see how it can be very easy to cut down on costs. Agencies often work from project to project, so flexibility in their design budget can be a tremendous advantage.

Moreover, unlimited graphic design is another brilliant outsourcing solution that provides flexibility and affordability.

2. You get limited skills

As an agency, you deliver a vast body of work for various clients. From different formats to various styles, it’s doubtful that a single graphic designer can satisfy all your clients’ needs.

Cella’s 2019 report suggested that most agencies outsource to increase capabilities (65%) and access specialized skills (54%). Don’t miss out on the chance to hire the top professionals for every project and truly impress your clients with the professionalism and diversity you can provide.

3. It’s time-consuming

Oddly enough, time management is one of the biggest hesitations agencies have about outsourcing. Does it take a lot of time to sift through hundreds of portfolios and applications every time you need a freelancer to jump on board? Definitely.

However, building a long-term relationship with a freelancer is a way to keep quality candidates on your radar and decrease HR hours. Speaking of, don’t forget that this isn’t something you can forget about once you hire someone in-house. Team meetings, holidays, evaluations, and training are just some hours your designer might spend on something other than creating design for your clients.

As you will see in the next section, unlimited graphic design services offer the perfect hassle-free solution. There’s no admin, contracts, or anything else to worry about. Just reliable graphic design provided by a team of versatile professionals.

Design outsourcing options for agencies

Ready to outsource your design needs? Terrific! Your agency will grow tremendously, and your clients will love it.

Here’s a quick overview of three affordable options for outsourcing design.



As you might suspect, nothing beats working with freelancers when it comes to versatility. With around 90% of US freelancers working freelance, you’ll have no shortage of choices. Moreover, you can often hire freelancers from different countries and, possibly, pay much less for high-quality work.

The main drawbacks of freelancers are time management and costs. While they are an affordable option for smaller, one-off projects, your annual budget might take a blow if you need numerous projects with many revisions. As was already mentioned, finding a skilled freelancer takes time and effort.

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

Download our guide to find a solution that suits your business

Designer contest

Many people are unfamiliar with this outsourcing option. It allows you to submit a design request and have multiple freelance designers compete with their concepts. At the end of the contest, you can choose a winner and pay them for the work or decide that no one has submitted a concept that’s good enough.

You can see the appeal already, right? It’s a way to get heaps of ideas without any commitment. Naturally, designers are painfully aware that this way, they might not get paid for their work. So, the results are usually not on par with freelance work or that created by design services.

It’s by no means a feasible long-term solution, but worth a shot if you want to throw some ideas around or dip your toes into design outsourcing.

Unlimited design service

Finally, we get to the most effective way to outsource design. If you haven’t heard already, unlimited design services (also known as subscription-based design services) allow you to make unlimited design requests at a fixed monthly rate. You don’t need to do any HR work yourself - we have dozens of skilled designers on our team that you can work with!

This is a godsend for any full service digital marketing and advertising agency. Whether it’s a landing page, merch, or complete branding projects, with our service, you can satisfy the needs of virtually any client. Paying the same flat monthly fee means you can allocate your budget in advance and avoid nasty surprises.

In addition to that, unlimited services work for you all year round. If your previous designer cannot finish the work, there’s always another one ready to take over. You’ll never need to face clients about a missed deadline!

Does it get better than that? Sure does. With ManyPixels, you also have the option to cancel or pause your subscription at any time. No extra charges or repercussions. If you find yourself in a dormant period while you look for new clients, all it takes is a few clicks, and we’ll put your subscription on hold. For a symbolic $10 a month, you can keep access to all your files in our custom design platform.

Learn how to get started with our unlimited graphic design service

Download the ManyPixels User Guide — you’ll find all the useful information there

Sounds good? Book a 1:1 demo session for an opportunity to ask us any questions. Or go ahead and pick a plan to start your subscription! You can also check out some of the work we’ve done for marketing agencies like yours!

Wait... there's more!

Enjoyed the read? Subscribe to our mailing list for all the latest tips, how-tos and news on graphic design and marketing.


Danica Popovic

June 17, 2022

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.