Most business owners would agree that if the business is to not only survive but thrive, successful marketing is absolutely vital. The challenge is working out how to obtain the best value from your marketing investment. With limited time and resources, what is the best way to manage your marketing activities in a way that is most likely to deliver a greater ROI for your business? One of the considerations in answering this question is whether to outsource all or some of the marketing function of your business to external marketing consultants/agents or manage it in-house.
What are the key benefits of outsourcing?
With recent figures suggesting that around 80% of Australian companies outsource some of their activities, more and more businesses are recognising the benefits that outsourcing arrangements can bring. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, when it came to outsourcing: 59% outsourced to cut costs; 57% did so in order to focus on core business; 47% said it solved capacity issues; and 31% indicated that it enhances service quality.
Although the major advantage of an in-house team may be an initial, short-term cost saving, as well as a group of workers who understand your corporate culture and priorities, in many cases a reputable marketing agency could add more value. Take a look at some of the significant advantages outsourcing can bring to your marketing:
- Experienced in-house marketing professionals managing your projects: agency professionals often have many years of senior management marketing experience in a range of sectors under their belts. This means that when you enlist their support, you are getting the sort of expensive expertise that would probably be unrealistic to finance full-time in-house, unless you have a generous budget!
- Clearly defined outcomes: one of the issues with in-house teams is that they can be diverted from initial priorities to fire-fight or to accommodate other organisational priorities. This can weaken your marketing success significantly, even undoing previous progress. Consistency and regular updating is vital for marketing to work: an agency will be contracted to deliver the monthly, weekly or daily tasks you have asked for.
- Minimal management: once the outcomes and objectives of your marketing have been agreed with the agency, it’s over to them to make it happen. Whereas an internal marketing team can be decimated by resourcing issues (for example staff sickness or a diversion of resources), an agency is bound by their contract to deliver.
- Fresh creative talent: not only can an in-house marketing team find that their ideas are growing stale, corporate culture may sometimes stifle challenging or innovative marketing. Taking on an agency allows the emergence of fresh ways of working that could really make a difference.
- Stay up-to-date: marketing, particularly digital marketing, is an extremely fast-moving industry! With new ideas, trends and innovations emerging almost daily, staying ahead is a challenge in itself. A good agency makes its money by being on top of what’s happening in the marketing sector and using it to the benefit of their clients.
- Clarity of approach and an outside perspective: with so many competing priorities, it can be difficult for managers and decision-makers to be clear on how their brand is developing and how best to market in order to future-proof their sales. A marketing consultant can offer that much needed external view, providing direction where it’s most needed.
Should you outsource your marketing strategy as well as execution?
Obviously there are a number of different forms which outsourcing can take. A distinction is usually made between strategy and execution: many companies are comfortable with outsourcing execution (for example a PPC campaign or social media posting) but may be reluctant to outsource their business strategy work. The reality is that a strong marketing strategy requires as much, if not more, high-level attention than execution work.
The reasons for using an agency for your business marketing strategy are essentially those given above: in summary, an agency will provide you with work completed by high-level marketing personnel who are able to take an objective look at your business and approach the project from a position of knowledge.
When you use an agency for your business marketing strategy, you are likely to see:
- Clear information on your audience: demographics, preferences etc. This provides an accurate baseline against which to measure progress.
- Metrics information (sales, uncompleted transactions, traffic etc). This information is frequently overlooked by businesses, which creates difficulty in analysing the impact of marketing initiatives.
- Short- and long-term outcomes, designed to enhance sustainability.
- Deliverable objectives.
- Innovative approaches devised by senior marketers who are experts in their field and have an excellent knowledge of what’s fresh and effective in the marketing sector.
- A coherent, logical strategy that provides a clear steer for the next few years, but with sufficient flexibility to evolve as your company does.
- A realistic budget. Although a good marketing agency will look at what needs to be achieved first, then consider the budget required, that doesn’t mean you will end up with something that’s prohibitively expensive. Agencies are well aware of budgetary constraints and will proactively use their expertise to come up with ways to deliver what you need for a price you can afford.
What to look for in a marketing outsourcer?
Not all agencies are created equal, which is why it’s important to find one that’s going to deliver exactly what you’re looking for. Our top tips for finding a suitable outsourcer include:
- Check who’s going to be doing the work: ideally you want senior marketing personnel responsible for the successful delivery of your marketing strategy.
- Ensure that there is potential for flexibility, particularly if you intend for some work to be done in-house. The right agency for you should be able to work seamlessly with your existing team.
- Get a feel for their individual style and approach: like any other creative industry, marketing professionals have their own unique perspective, so it’s important to find an agency that suits your corporate image and values.
Although outsourcing marketing strategy or execution may not be right for every company, it’s often the case that if you want long-term, strategised marketing success, it’s going to be more cost-effective to use an agency efficiently, rather than maintaining an in-house team on a permanent basis.
Get in touch to find out more about how an innovative marketing agency like Marketing Outsourced could help your business.