Got Marketing Goals? Outsourcing Marketing Can Help You Achieve Them
Got Marketing Goals? Outsourcing Can Help You Achieve Them
Whether part of a global corporate strategy or a tired entrepreneur’s musings about business growth after a long day, every business has marketing goals. Not everyone, though, has a great strategy and a team in place to make those goals a reality. If you’re among the business owners and leaders who want a more robust marketing strategy, but don’t know where to start, outsourcing could be the best answer.
In fact, you’re probably already outsourcing business functions without even thinking of outsourcing as a strategy. If you’ve hired a janitorial or maintenance service, for instance, you’re outsourcing. If you have a payroll service or a tax professional to tackle accounting functions, you’re outsourcing.
Business owners and managers usually have three basic needs that prompt contracting with an outside service or agency to perform specific tasks: complementing specific internal job functions, acquiring crucial expertise, and managing costs. Outsourcing marketing projects helps meet all three of these business needs.
What’s in a Name?
So you’re a marketer or you’ve hired a marketer. What, exactly, does that mean? The marketing function can encompass a multitude of responsibilities and tasks, including anything from face-to-face sales to website development. Marketers may be overwhelmed with many competing priorities and duties.
Ideally, your marketer is the person most familiar with your business’s core products or services and with your customers’ needs. Your marketer knows better than anyone how your customers interact with you. Your marketer sees the big picture and will be able to develop an overall marketing strategy. If you’re a small business owner who’s trying to do everything on your own, you’re also functioning in a marketing role.
Defining your marketer’s job function and essential responsibilities more precisely can help you use that person’s talents to the fullest. You wouldn’t ask your marketer to mop the floors or prepare your tax return. Complementing the functions your marketer is responsible for tackling in house with duties that are more appropriately outsourced, will strengthen your overall marketing strategy.
In an interview with Erik Huberman of Hawke Media, author Jonathan Lacoste asked about the new trend of outsourcing even the highest level marketing executives. Huberman explains that “an outsourced CMO is not meant to replace internal marketing strengths, but it can supplement and complement” and discusses the advantages that approach can have. When you elect to outsource marketing initiatives, you’re actually giving your internal staff a stronger set of tools by complementing what they already bring to the table.
Similarly, other experts on outsourcing see supplementing internal job functions as a win-win scenario. Nancy Mann Jackson talked with several entrepreneurs about “How to Build a Better Business with Outsourcing.” Among the entrepreneurs she interviewed, she shares the following insight from David Walsh, an expert on outsourcing: "Small business, augmented by a global pool of human capital, can compete directly with the biggest players in their space, and win."
Marketing is Not a DIY Project
Expertise really is a crucial component of any marketing strategy, so don’t be fooled by easy access to new marketing tools. Yes, anyone can set up a website or post on social media, but is that really all that’s involved? Despite the prevalence of new technologies that tempt business owners and even some marketers to see the marketing function as more of a do-it-yourself project, without the benefit of a keen understanding of and experience with these tools, the DIY project could be costly in mistakes and lost opportunities.
After all, back in the day when marketing strategies focused largely on print and other forms of communications, a business owner would never have expected a marketer to produce and publish a print advertisement or produce a commercial. Why now would an in-house marketer be expected to tackle everything from the company’s website development to social media advertisements and strategies to manage SEO along with all other marketing duties in a normal work week?
The skill sets involved in today’s digital marketing world are more specialized than ever before. Mike Skeehan, owner of the Salted Stone agency, explains his views on outsourcing: “There are at least seven distinct skill sets required to produce the individual components required to run a successful inbound marketing program.” Skeehan lists the distinct roles and skills his team and other outsourcing agencies bring to the table: marketing strategist, marketing technologist, content marketer, social media marketer, graphic designer, frontend developer, and project manager.
Though the access to digital marketing tools is widely available, the specialized knowledge and expertise in using those tools are incredibly valuable assets. Those who specialize in web development and SEO, for instance, are constantly monitoring the challenges and the changes in their profession. Technologies – and the way we interact with them – are constantly evolving, and dedicated professionals stay on top of these trends.
Outsourcing marketing initiatives gives you access to these dedicated professionals. Gaining their expertise is really no different from gaining the expertise of a tax professional who keeps up with changing tax codes and regulations that impact your business. Through outsourcing, you’re getting the most up-to-date, professional guidance available.
It’s Not All About the Benjamins, But You Might Save Some
Cost is always a primary driver for many business decisions, and outsourcing any business function will have pros and cons based on cost versus benefit. The first cost consideration is to determine if the task is worth the value of an employee’s time. As an extreme example of cost versus benefit, authors have speculated about the relative cost of a wealthy man such as Bill Gates taking time to pick up a penny off the ground. Since Bill Gates’ time is so valuable, it would cost him far more than what the penny is worth to spend time picking it up.
Likewise, companies outsource different functions because it’s more cost effective to hire an outside contractor. Paying that janitorial service you’ve hired, for instance, costs less than the value of your time or your employees’ time to do the same job. And what about those seven distinct skill sets Skeehan shows are needed for a successful marketing campaign? Is it more cost effective to hire full-time employees with that expertise even if you don’t need their expertise for a full 40 hours weekly? Of course not.
Outsourcing marketing projects – or even your full marketing plan – means you’re getting experts with specialized skills sets, but paying them less than it would cost for full-time employees with the same expertise. And while your outsourced team is helping generate new business for you, you and your employees can focus on your core strengths that make your business profitable.