Outsource your Marketing for a Winning Strategy
You’ve come to the realization that your business needs a better marketing strategy. You know you don’t know enough about marketing to be truly effective, and you probably don’t have the time for it either. Do you opt for in-house marketing or outsource your marketing?
What is outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing is when a business hires an agency/firm, consultant, or freelancer to run their marketing efforts (typically a team or person who does have other clients as well), as opposed to hiring a full-time employee or team of people to work in-house and be dedicated to only working on that business’ marketing.
Why I should Outsource My Marketing
Simply put, as a small business, you can get a lot more bang for your buck when you work with a firm or agency than an individual hire. For less than the cost of hiring a whole full-time team, you can contract with a marketing ageny for a year-long contract (or shorter/longer), gaining the power of a team without the cost.
Agencies and the people in them are marketing professionals with loads of experience working with multiple clients, dealing with many different challenges, and typically, they have multi-discipline talents on board. This means more exposure for your business in more ways than you might be able to pull off on your own.
An outsourced agency will have more connections and more tools available to them to bring you the results you need. You can expect some or all of the following perks: top-notch design from a graphics department, better user interface and troubleshooting on your website, engaging content from seasoned copywriters, better reach on social media, existing relationships with media outlets making it easier to get your business the press it needs to succeed, and many more perks that you wouldn’t be able to get yourself or with a one- or two-person in-house team.
What to Consider if I’m Outsourcing My Marketing
There are always compromises you are making regardless of the decision you make. Below are some things to consider when deciding to outsource your marketing.
One disadvantage to outsourcing your marketing is that the firm or consultant you are outsourcing to will have other clients. This means that they are not working for your business all the time, and are not “on your clock.” That can feel frustrating to a small business owner who is looking for more personalized or dedicated attention. This is very different from hiring an employee who is there to work on your marketing and only your marketing.
For some small businesses, the cost of outsourcing marketing can be prohibitive. If you weren’t planning on hiring someone in-house and were going to take more of a DIY approach, the cost of outsourcing can feel overwhelming and unattainable. Outsourcing your marketing and expecting a team to strategize and run your marketing isn’t the same as hiring a freelancer to work on a few projects here and there.
Bringing an outside team in to manage your marketing typically requires a good deal of time to get them onboarded, or up to speed on everything they need to know. An agency isn’t going to walk into your business and automatically know everything about it. It takes time and effort to deliver all the right information to them: who are your customers, who are you trying to reach, what are your goals, what has worked or not worked for you in the past. You also should expect that you will need to continue to provide details about your business, services, and/or products to the marketing firm because their time will be best spent strategizing and creating effective marketing, not trying to learn everything YOU know about the business. The best results come from a true partnership, where you are making your marketing a priority too.
Why small businesses make the ultimate decision to outsource their marketing
The “I Don’t Know” Factor
Most people who own a business are in that business because that is the industry they know. Marketing is not the business they know. For instance, I run a marketing business. I don’t know enough about financials, and I don’t need a full-time financial person on my staff. So I hire it out. I outsource my bookkeeping needs. I don’t need to know how to do financials. I just need to hire the right people to do it. It’s the same with marketing. You don’t know how to do it, and you may not need a full-time employee to do it (see needs/cost below), but you know you need it.
Needs to Cost Ratio
Many small businesses don’t have the need for a full-time person or team to run their marketing because their needs don’t match with that of a full-time employee or team. This depends on the goals and strategies the business wants to put in place, but if you’re in need of website upkeep, social media management, some digital advertising, various print collateral, maybe some presentations now and again, you simply may not need someone working 40 hours a week for you. Therefore, the cost of hiring a full-time employee is not in line with the need. Outsourcing marketing can often be done at a lower cost than an FTE, plus, if you are hiring an agency, you get the benefit of multiple people with a wider array of expertise (see VALUE above).
A small business may outsource their marketing because they are intrigued by the idea of “guaranteed results”. Marketing firms and consultants usually have deep experience within particular industries (such as dental marketing, restaurant marketing, or tourism marketing) or with particular types of marketing (i.e. email marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing). A small business may choose to outsource their marketing because of demonstrated past results of that firm, and because it can feel a bit more like a plug-n-play option, where the marketer already knows the industry or medium well and can hit the ground running.
You’ve decided to outsource your marketing. How do you choose the right firm?
Know what you are looking for
Even if you don’t know the specifics of what type of marketing you need to be doing, at least know what your goals are. And if possible, have some opinion around whether you are looking to do things like brand strategy (identifying your target market, messaging to that market, and developing a visual brand), website design/development, Search engine optimization or marketing, e-commerce, social media, e-mail marketing, advertising, public relations, etc.
Know your budget
How much can you spend right now? There are all sorts of marketers, agencies, and consultants out there. Are you looking to spend $1,000 a month? $5,000 a month? $20,000 a month? Do you have a sizeable budget for advertising? Knowing your budget, and being upfront about that budget with potential candidates, can save you (and your candidates) a lot of time in your agency search.
Ask other business owners that you know who they have worked with and liked. It can even be a good idea to ask friendly competitors. They may know of a team with specific experience in your industry.
Do your research
Look at portfolios. Read case studies. See the results. Ask for references and follow up on them. Make an effort to seek out as much as you can about a potential candidate to save you from hiring the wrong team.
Interview the candidates
Any marketer or agency you hire will not be in a bubble doing what they do. You (or your staff) will need to interact with them on a regular basis. Make sure you spend a couple of hours talking to prospects. Do their insights, values, and business ideals match yours? Does their personality and vision fit with your business? Do you feel like they are listening to you, or talking over you?
You’re now prepared to outsource your marketing and take your business to the next level! Looking for a team that might fit your needs? We’d love to chat! Set up a 15-Minute Call with us to see if KDD is the right fit for you!