Should You Hire In-House or Cannabis Agency for Marketing and PR?

Cannabis Agency

What do big cannabis brands and cannabis start-up entrepreneurs have in common? They’re all asking one another, should I hire a cannabis agency or should I hire an in-house team?

They’re asking themselves this question against a wild backdrop and volatile cannabis marketplace. There’s a correction happening in the cannabis industry, meanwhile, thousands of cannabis startups are also happening.

It truly is the wild, wild, west in cannabis right now. The reason they’re asking themselves this question is because regardless of lay-offs and investment size, what both these businesses also have in common are some very big plans that require PR and marketing.

Many companies have concerns about hiring agencies, they worry about finding the right agency, they worry about disclosure to people outside the company. Those are legitimate concerns, many of those same concerns can be an issue with employees, but with an agency they can be addressed with strategic questions and planning, and taking a little time to get to know your potential cannabis pr agency or cannabis marketing agency. And the good news is that the best agencies seem to know one another. If you find a great cannabis marketing agency or a great cannabis branding agency, chances are, they know a cannabis PR firm they like and trust.

But what are the practical business reasons for hiring an agency over an in-house team for cannabis brands?


A single hire’s salary can cost you more than an agency, and that single hire, because they are human, has limitations. Agencies specialize in providing you with the specialists you need when you need them. Add this to the fact that you won’t be paying benefits, payroll taxes, and health insurance and it adds up to savings for both big cannabis brands and cannabis startups.

Think about it, in addition to your CMO and/or a Communications Officer, who will each need a manager and team, including a media relations specialist, a content writer, a social media manager, a graphic designer and a multitude of marketing and listening tools which can all easily add up to $400,000 or more, plus benefits.

Plus, if something dramatic happens, it’s also usually less expensive to separate from an agency. Many marketing agencies and PR agencies, including us, have a separation agreement in the contract that spells out the process if something radically changes, so it’s a reasonably straightforward process that brings peace of mind to cannabis executives in this volatile time.

The IRS Sees Agencies As an Expense

Agencies streamline payroll AND they are also a business expense. That sounds pretty nice to a lot of people in highly regulated and taxed cannabis industries. Talk to your CPA about what makes the most sense for your business.


Think of your agency as your expansion team. In addition to receiving top-notch strategy and planning, you’ll also have access to team members who are in the thick of it and can give a point of view from the front lines too. When you have a team of people, it’s easier to tap into insights and trends that you might otherwise miss. But it’s also important to note that when you hire a cannabis PR firm or a cannabis marketing firm you’ll get a team of professionals who can more easily scale up during launches or big campaigns.

Even if you do decide to take certain elements in-house, your agency continues to serve you with perspective and resources that support your in-house team. For example, many cannabis brands want a PR expert in-house for a multitude of reasons, especially corporate communications and investor relations. But your PR executive still needs a team to help execute, especially in the area of media relations. Few in-house communications executives are actively pitching and engaging with journalists as often as our team is, our media relations team is a top-notch time saver for in-house executives.

Seeing the Forest Through The Trees

It’s easy to lose perspective when there’s a lot going on. An agency can provide additional listening and strategy insights you might not have considered. Having a team that has your back and isn’t bogged down in your office politics can really keep things moving along.

In-house team members tend to be front-line advocates internally. And that’s a really important role, especially if you’re trying to build a culture as many cannabis brands are. But those day-to-day tasks, meetings, and internal cajoling tend to make consistent outward-looking perspectives difficult. Use your agency to bring you a consistent overall vision of the marketplace and strategies that will set you apart for the long run.

Get to Work Fast!

The right agency can get to work much faster than onboarding an employee.  Cannabis agencies have a client on-boarding process that will be systematic and strategic because they want to get to work too. You won’t spend your time showing someone where the coffee maker is, you’ll spend your time reviewing strategy and goals. Plus, we have now have experienced cannabis PR firms and cannabis marketing firms, who understand both the unique cannabis industry and the laws surrounding communication and advertising, something that you only get when you hire experts.

Access To The Latest Technology & Tools

You pay a fair share for platforms and services that are critical to your cannabis business. So do agencies. We have top-notch monitoring, analytics, and communications platforms – you get access to those without adding those non-critical operating costs to your bottom line.