For many small and mid-sized companies, it's difficult to develop, plan and execute a marketing strategy. Limited resources are the main reason - there's isn't enough time time, money and expertise to get it right. That's why some companies outsource their marketing. Is it right for your company?
Would you install a new furnace in your home, or replace all the plumbing yourself? Probably not. This is best left for seasoned professionals who specialize in these areas. You can try to save money and cut corners by doing it yourself - but chances are you will end up with a small fire in the basement and a lot of wet household items (trust me on this one).
This analogy holds true for marketing functions - SMB's often hire a junior marketing manager thinking that this will save money and increase marketing effectiveness in the short term. Unfortunately this is often not the case. By hiring inexperienced individuals, costs can easily sky-rocket and strategic campaigns become infrequent or disorganized. In addition to the lack of expertise, the overhead to employ an individual full-time can actually be quite costly - therefore negating the original intention of the hire.
Why not outsource? With the increasing number of tools available and the complexity of integrated campaigns - why not leave it to seasoned professionals? I have seen a number of companies go this route with tremendous success. Some of the benefits of outsource marketing are below:
1. Range of Expertise - outsource marketing firms are made up of seasoned professionals who understand strategy, tools and tactics in a variety of marketing areas. With dynamic changes in the marketing arena, a variety of expertise at your disposal is critical.
2. Lower Cost - it is amazing how many times I see SMB owners think they are saving money by hiring a sole full-time marketing manager. Often times a salaried employee is unnecessary and the overhead is significant. Quality outsource marketing firms can be placed on retainer at a fraction of the cost, with the benefit of more experience at your fingertips.
3. Strength in Numbers - rather than hire an individual, why not have a team of professionals at your service? This allows for more integrated campaigns, a greater number of tools to deploy and increased flexibility.
4. Increased Efficiency - a team of marketing professionals will be able to churn out high quality marketing campaigns at a much faster rate than an individual manager. This makes for increased quantity and quality of marketing materials for SMB's.
Outsource marketing has moved beyond SMB's as well. Corporations are beginning to recognize that large marketing departments can be drastically reduced - resulting in cost savings, greater expertise and increased efficiency. The old argument put forth by in-house marketers that outsourced professionals 'don't understand the brand' well enough to execute campaigns is antiquated at this point. While executive level strategy can remain in-house, planning and execution can often be farmed out with great success. Specialized talent can then be allocated to address particular areas required for marketing. This is particularly relevant as new technology continues to provide opportunities for more effective marketing if deployed strategically.
Both SMB's and large corporations should constantly be assessing their marketing requirements and plotting these requirments against current in-house staff. If the two don't match - it's time to outsource.