Is a marketing apprentice or freelancer best for your business?

It can often be difficult for businesses to choose the right talent to drive their marketing initiatives. 

A marketing apprentice provides businesses with the opportunity to nurture and develop talent from within their organisation or through external recruitment. 

A freelance marketer comes in with ready-made skills, delivers the job and then moves on with no ongoing development commitment for you. 

But there is more to consider than that. Choosing between the two can be difficult so we’re taking a delve into the key differences between a marketing apprentice and a marketing freelancer, exploring their respective pros and cons and helping you make an informed decision for your business. 

Understanding marketing apprentices 

We’re going to start with marketing apprenticeships. You can read about how Working Knowledge can help you hire an outstanding marketing apprentice here.  

Apprenticeships typically involve a structured training programme, often facilitated by organisations like the Working Knowledge Marketing Academy, where apprentices gain hands-on experience while working toward recognised qualifications in marketing. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Working Knowledge gives apprentices and employers support all the way along that journey to ensure a positive experience and outcome for all parties. 

Apprentices bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the role, often infusing new ideas, ways of working and creativity into marketing campaigns. They’re invested in your success in the long term. 

They can also be a fantastic investment enabling business owners to develop their workforce, cultivating skilled professionals who can grow with the company over time. With a programme like the Working Knowledge one, they will learn a broad range of skills across the marketing mix, including everything from understanding and communicating with your customer and data analytics to social media management, search engine optimisation (SEO), lead generation, email marketing and CRM management. Yesterday’s apprentice is tomorrow’s marketing manager. 

With government funding available for apprenticeships, businesses can access high-quality training and support at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee and without ploughing money into a freelance pot. 

Are there any drawbacks to hiring an apprentice? 

There are certainly other considerations when it comes to bringing in an apprentice. You might have to be patient, for example. Everybody learns at a different pace and apprentices may require time to ramp up their skills and experience. However, with our programme, all our module assignments are designed to deliver a useful and practical output that can directly positively impact the business, for example, developing an email campaign or website landing page. 

Supervising and mentoring apprentices often requires time and resources from existing staff, which may strain workload and productivity. But that’s where an organisation like Working Knowledge can take the weight off your shoulders. Our apprentices are fully supported by their marketing coach, peer group and our specialist trainers. It’s like having a whole marketing department at your fingertips! 

Where an apprentice might lack the experience and expertise to compete with a seasoned veteran, their energy, enthusiasm for learning and commitment to your cause can overcome those concerns. 

Understanding marketing freelancers 

Marketing freelancers are independent professionals who offer their services on a contract basis, providing businesses with specialised expertise and support across specific marketing functions. They usually work remotely and can be engaged for one-off projects or ongoing retainer arrangements. 

The biggest advantage to bringing in a freelancer is their immediate impact. Freelancers can hit the ground running, often bringing years of experience and expertise to projects from day one. 

There’s also less commitment on your part than there would be with an apprentice. Freelancers can flex project scope, timelines and budget, allowing businesses to scale their marketing efforts up or down as needed. 

Freelancers often specialise in niche areas of marketing , providing businesses with access to specialised skills and knowledge that may well not be available in-house. 

And the financial commitment with a freelancer is easily flexed – hire them on a project-by-project basis and you give yourself a cost-effective alternative to the overheads associated with hiring a full-time employee. 

There’s no substitute for commitment 

But there’s also the lack of control to think about. Freelancers may have limited availability or be engaged in multiple projects simultaneously, potentially impacting your project timelines and deliverables. 

And it’s never a good thing to be wholly reliant on individual freelancers, who – with no ties to you – can just walk away at any time and leave you high and dry. 

That’s what gives apprentices the edge – there’s a commitment there, fresh ideas that can help take your business forward as opposed to a box-ticking approach that gets the job done but can leave you stagnant with no accumulated learning. 

Marketing apprenticeships provide businesses with an opportunity to develop talent from within or recruit externally, fostering long-term growth and investment in the workforce.  

If you’re considering hiring a marketing apprentice, we provide a comprehensive recruitment service. Our apprentices are typically age 23+ and 60% have degrees. 

For more information on how a Working Knowledge marketing apprenticeship could work for your business, schedule a call today.