When you should (or shouldn’t) outsource your marketing
Marketing is no longer a one-man job. Instagram and other social networks launch new features weekly. Responsive coding for your email broadcasts is now nonnegotiable. Basically, there’s no shortage of strategies and technologies to stay up-to-date on. It’s enough to make any marketer’s head spin.
If this frustration sounds familiar, it may be time to outsource some of your marketing. Hybrid marketing teams that pair internal and external resources can deliver more immediate and better results, all while keeping your organization lean and overhead costs low.
Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers outlined seven signs it’s time to outsource. We’ve expanded upon them below to highlight how they apply to small-to-mid-sized B2B and B2C businesses:
- Your revenue isn’t growing fast enough.
Every marketing tactic is subject to overuse. While your monthly mailer may still be “working,” is it helping your grow — or just stay afloat? Outsourcing can refresh your approach and put the focus back on filling your sales funnel.
- Your marketing staff is overworked.
Does your marketing manager complain she’s overworked? You may not be able to hire full-time support, but an outside agency can alleviate the burden without adding HR-related costs, such as health insurance.
- You always seem to be running behind.
If your staff members miss deadlines frequently, it’s probably time to recruit outside help. Doing so can spare you the embarrassing mistakes that often crop up under intense pressure and allow you to capitalize on the newest trends before your competitors.
- Your marketing strategies are thrown together.
The best marketers scrutinize campaigns at every stage: brainstorming, research, creation and measurement. It’s easy to gloss over these tests when you have an endless to-do list — but neglecting them may cost you results. An outside firm can standardize your launch process, guaranteeing greater efficiency.
- You’re limited to a handful of channels.
As noted above, members of your marketing staff — and you! — have limited time, resources and expertise. While you may excel at writing sales copy, do you have an in-depth knowledge of targeting Facebook Ads? If not, you may be squandering your ad budget on ill-fitting prospects.
As digital marketing continues to develop, your finite resources will cause you to miss out on the benefits of niche opportunities. Stick with what your team does best, and then outsource more specialized work, such as video production and website maintenance.
- You focus too much on tasks and not enough on strategy.
Do you feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel? Your days are full, but you’re not sure you’re making progress. Outsourcing allows you to both inject creativity into your strategy and delegate productivity-sucking tasks.
- You’re disappointed with your marketing results.
You may have identified that your current setup isn’t working — but you haven’t done anything about it. If so, it’s time to try something new. Why not give someone else a crack at achieving the goal you haven’t quite hit?
How do I choose the right agency?
Choosing the right partner is just as important as the decision to outsource. Many great (and not-so-great) companies are out there; don’t settle for less than the best. Consider the following before committing to any agency or freelancer:
Are you impressed by their website (or other marketing collateral)?
A marketing company should succeed at marketing itself, right? Sales copy riddled with typos, an outdated blog and lacking a responsive website are red flags. Ask to see samples of their work and speak with references to filter out the losers.
Are they attentive?
Think of this potential partnership like a budding relationship. Don’t you expect the person sitting across from you to work to impress you? Consultants calling in late repeatedly will likely miss deadlines. If you receive vague answers to your questions, don’t be surprised to see additional fees on your invoice or receive deliverables that don’t meet your technical requirements.
Expect them to do their homework. Have they reviewed your website? Do they understand your target demographic? Do they ask questions to clarify your goals?
How will they measure your results?
With countless reporting tools available, there’s no excuse for an agency not to share concrete proof of ROI. Ask for a sample report, including benchmarks for 90 days out or another interval. There’s always a learning curve with new partnerships, so establish a tempered, reasonable foundation before expecting exponential growth.
Which parts of your marketing, if any, do you outsource? Why or why not?