If we were being a little unethical, we would simply answer this question – yes, you should outsource. But that isn’t the ethical answer and it’s much better that we give you the points to consider so that you can answer this question in a way that works best for your business. So, what should you consider when deciding whether to outsource your marketing or employ your own marketing team?
The amount of cash you have available for your marketing is important in two ways.
- What are you going to spend on marketing your business?
Put simply, if you don’t have a big budget, there is little point in employing your own team, or even person. If there isn’t a budget for them to spend, they will get bored very quickly and leave.
- Can you pay people?
The term marketing is a catch all phrase for many different specialities. In the same way you would never ask an IT support engineer to write code for a new mobile app, asking someone with web development skills to run a PR campaign is unlikely to get the results you are looking for. If your marketing plan uses more than a couple of marketing channels, you will need a diverse skillset. There are three ways to do that:
- Find a highly skilled marketing manager with a strong, but diverse, skillset. Extremely hard to find
- Employ a marketing manager but give them a marketing budget to bring in contractors with the skill set you need.
- Outsource your marketing to a company that can gather these skills for you.
Maintaining those skills is not easy. As in many industries, marketing changes at a remarkable rate. If you employ your own team; they must have time to learn. That’s “not your problem” with outsourced providers.
Of course, there is no reason why you cannot have a combination of these three. We frequently work with clients who have a junior marketing exec, who we work with to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to and have someone to go to when they have issues.
Marketing Best Practices
You’ve grown your business to the size it is now using a combination of marketing activities. Most have worked for you and that is great. But what other marketing could work even better? Bringing an independent point of view into the business will help identify opportunities to further improve your marketing performance. This doesn’t have to be a long-term thing; it can be a consultancy project for a brief period.
A marketing consultant will have far more exposure to different marketing channels, and know more about what can be achieved than an internal marketing manager.
As a business owner much of your time is managing your team. What time isn’t used this way is working with clients or working ON the business. Whether you outsource your marketing or employ your own team, you will need to dedicate time to the relationship. But an outsourced provider will need less of your time that your own marketing team will need.
Your skills are in delivering what your clients want and need. This may not include much in the way of marketing skills, so your time is better spent on what you are good at.
Changing your mind
If you use an outsourced marketing solution, and find that it isn’t working, you can get rid of them easily (subject to contractual commitments). Another agency can be up and running very quickly. Replacing a marketing manager who isn’t delivering is far harder. Disciplinary procedures (should they be needed) and notice periods make things complicated.
A good marketing agency will want to be let go. At SME Needs, we work with small businesses to help them grow until it makes sense to move to an in-house solution. The decision is normally based on marketing complexity, volume, and costs. We’ll even help you find the right team to take over.
If you are looking to strengthen your marketing, these five questions will help you to decide whether to outsource your marketing or bring someone in house. We are, of course, more than happy to talk this through and answer any questions you have. Give us a call, on 020 8634 5911, or contact us here and we will call you.