The cost of a digital marketing agency NZ

The cost of a digital marketing agency NZ

The cost of a digital marketing agency NZ

If you're looking to grow your business, and have identified digital marketing to be a key part of that strategy then two options present themselves. You can either hire internal marketing resources or engage with one or more digital marketing agencies. 

To help you assess each option we'll explore the typical budgets companies dedicate to digital marketing and the average price of a digital marketing agency in New Zealand. 

How much should you budget for marketing?

According to HubSpot, the average company spends 6.4% of total revenue on marketing. A B2B company spends 2-5% of its revenue on marketing. For B2C companies it's typically 5-10%.

National averages vary with Australia sitting at around 10-13% from multiple sources, and New Zealand averages sitting slightly lower at 5-12%.

Over the years, the amount of revenue businesses allocate to marketing has grown, with an average of 9.1% in 2023. The recommended amount is industry-specific but generally, B2B companies should spend between 2% and 5% of their revenue on marketing, while B2C companies should invest between 5% and 10%. 

Businesses are also shifting their priorities in where that marketing budget is spent, recognising the biggest return on investment is now coming from digital channels like social media, email marketing, online advertising, and content marketing. As a result, many are also looking for digital marketing agencies to support them.

Marketing agency pricing

Marketing agencies typically charge in two ways — on a retainer basis or as a lump sum for each project. A per-project payment structure means the agency will provide a fixed-price quote based on the required time, tools, and skills. With a retainer payment structure, your agency will provide an agreed service or a set number of monthly hours, aligned with an agreed monthly fee. 

In New Zealand, we’ve seen a vast range of prices for digital marketing, from $250 per month to well over $10,000 a month. At each price point the quantity, and quality, of inclusions vary - you’ll likely be aware in your industry that low cost doesn’t always equal low quality but there are often compromises somewhere.

At Vanguard 86, our managed marketing services are offered at three different levels — Build, Grow, or Accelerate, designed to suit a range of marketing budgets and objectives.

What factors influence marketing costs? 

The cost of digital marketing services can vary widely. Here are the key factors that may influence the cost of digital marketing services.

Scope of Services

Digital marketing services may include search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), social media management, content creation, email marketing, influencer marketing, and more. Some agencies offer additional services which will typically be costed separately from your monthly rate. 

For example, at Vanguard 86, we offer fixed-price managed marketing including scalable and repeatable monthly marketing. This includes creating and launching emails, blogs, social media posts, and lead-generation activities. As needed, we also offer website development, one-on-one coaching, strategy days, and additional services


The reputation of your digital marketing agency will play a role in their pricing. A more experienced agency with a slew of awards may charge a higher rate due to their industry recognition and established expertise. 

This cost is likely determined by the staff they employ too. Specialist skills, such as PPC, SEO, CRO, and UX design will command a premium, and this will likely be reflected in fees that gain access to these skills.


Digital marketing prices can vary based on the agency’s location, particularly in large cities where overheads are higher and there is more demand. For example, a digital marketing agency in Auckland will typically charge much higher rates than a regional digital marketing agency. 

Marketing objectives 

Your business goals and the complexity of your campaigns may impact the cost of your marketing, depending on how much time is required. For example, a comprehensive marketing campaign for a new product launch may require more resources and planning than a simple one-off social media campaign. 


Some marketing campaigns involve paid advertising platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The costs for these platforms can vary, based on the platforms and your allocated budget. 

If you’re just starting, Google recommends starting with a daily ad spend between $10 and $50. On average, businesses allocate approximately $9,000 to $10,000 to advertising campaigns. 

It is also worth noting that the average return on investment for Google Ads is 800%. However, you will need ongoing Google ads management from an experienced specialist to achieve these results and maximise profitability.

Outsourcing vs In-house Marketing

Deciding whether to work with an agency or keep your marketing in-house is a significant decision — often called insourcing vs outsourcing. Insourcing is when you hire the required marketing skills within your business, including upskilling existing team members, hiring for a new position, or employing contractors. 

According to Payscale, the median cost of a digital marketing manager in New Zealand is NZD 81k. On top of salary, you’ll also need to budget for the cost-to-hire, onboarding, training, and workstation costs. If we add in the costs of hiring two more people to fill your needs, you can expect to invest over NZD 200k in annual salaries just to get off the ground.

It’s incredibly rare for a digital marketing manager to be an expert in all things digital. Many are more strategic, while some are more tactical. You likely need someone that can come up with the strategy, and implement it. Often specialisations don’t cross well, in that a numbers-driven analyst or PPC specialist might not be good at designing a high-converting web page or email. Hence why you’ll need a team to implement mid-level digital marketing well.

On the other hand, outsourcing involves an external partner who completes your marketing on your behalf, including freelancers or agencies. When outsourcing your marketing to an agency, you gain a wealth of shared knowledge and skill sets. You can even use an agency to augment your internal marketing resources, filling their skill gaps so you can cover more areas of digital marketing.

In terms of cost, agencies often provide a more cost-effective solution, allowing you to access a team of marketing specialists without the overhead costs of maintaining a full-time staff member. For more information, read our full article about the outsourcing vs insourcing comparison.

Our services — Digital marketing NZ and Australia

At Vanguard 86, our most popular marketing service is our managed digital marketing, provided on a per-month basis. Our managed marketing programmes start from $4,897.50 +GST per month, depending on your unique needs.  

We also offer additional services, available on a one-off basis so you can tailor your marketing to your objectives and resources. Our additional services start from a few hundred dollars and go north of hundreds of thousands, depending on your needs.  

Managed Marketing per month

  • Build — An entry-level service delivering digital marketing content and lead generation, managing your Google ads, monitoring performance, and optimising results. This programme is suited to businesses with minimal, inconsistent, or un-measurable marketing activities wanting to grow their business.
  • Grow — A mid-tier programme delivering content for a rapidly growing business, delivering more content and introducing SEO, automation, A/B testing, and analytics. This service is ideal for businesses with high-growth needs in competitive markets.
  • Accelerate — In addition to everything in the Build and Grow programmes, Accelerate also includes deep analytics, customer insights, additional A/B testing, dynamic content, lead nurturing, sales management, software integration, and outbound marketing support. 

Additional marketing services

  • Marketing Coaching — Our marketing coaching programme explores the buyer’s journey and how your marketing can create a positive shift in the conversation. We use the "They Ask, You Answer" framework, helping you to build content that converts.
  • HubSpot Setup — We can lend our expertise to your HubSpot onboarding process, doing all the legwork for you so you can focus on running your business. This service includes direct training, full CRM setup, and 90-day support from our team.
  • Strategy day — Our digital marketing strategist will spend the day with your team, helping you develop an actionable 3-6 month plan for your sales and marketing.
  • Website design and build — Our skilled team will design, build, and refine your new website on HubSpot to improve your visibility, branding, and customer experience. This also includes optimising your sitemap, SEO, loading time, and more. 
We also offer specialist Google Advertising, and SEO services, with more information available on request.

For more information and pricing or to discuss the best option for your business, book a meeting with one of our digital marketing specialists. Alternatively, you can browse the full range of services on our website.

Explore our marketing services

Our managed marketing services are the most popular and successful service that we offer. Our three programmes provide businesses with a team that will create custom plans and solutions with your unique goals in mind. 

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Explore our marketing services