When internal talent is stretched thin and in-house teams are struggling to get campaigns over the line, outsourcing marketing tasks to a specialist third-party can alleviate a ton of the operational pressures your team might be facing.
That being said, outsourcing is a big decision that requires financial commitment and an agreeable working relationship between companies. So, if you have the bandwidth and budget, it can make more sense for some tasks to be kept in-house, or to use a combination of the two.
There are three outsourcing routes you can take:
- Outsource your marketing in full
- Keep all of your marketing efforts in-house
- Use a combination of outsourced and in-house marketing
Requirements will differ between businesses. The option you select will be determined by your financial situation and the experience, capacity, and skill sets of your current in-house team.
Here, let's dive into the advantages of outsourcing your marketing efforts, and which individual components of your overall marketing strategy might be best-suited for your brand to outsource versus tackling in-house.
The Advantages of Outsourcing Marketing
Time constraints, limited budgets, and even complacency can make it all too easy for even the best marketers to fall back on familiar tactics.
But for marketing to be effective, it needs to be innovative and engaging, so relying on the easy option will only get you so far. Outsourcing connects you with marketing agencies who specialize in keeping on-top of new technology and trends.
These professionals can offer an outsider's perspective of your business and bring new, exciting ideas and strategies to the table.
Additionally, maintaining a salaried in-house marketing team can be expensive and — depending on your marketing requirements — often unnecessary. Turning to a third party whenever you require marketing collateral means you're only using budget when it's necessary.
For instance, let's say you work for a small company and want to publish two blog posts a week on your company's blog. Rather than paying an in-house blogger to write full-time for your brand, you might consider hiring a freelancer to write those two posts per week, which is undeniably cheaper than the alternative. As your company grows, you can reassess whether it makes sense to pay a writer full-time.
With time, you'll be able to develop a fixed budget that better reflects marketing expenditure in terms of requirements. This budget will help you determine if developing an in-house team is financially viable for your business.
If you want to outsource some (but not all) of your marketing efforts, let's dive into a few different aspects of your overall strategy where you might consider hiring a third-party to do the heavy lifting.
Outsourcing Content Marketing
Authoritative, informative content that positions your business as a thought leader can do wonders for your bottom line. So what does it matter if it's written or designed by people outside of your organization? As long as these writers or video creators are fully immersed in, and understand the complexities of your business, they should be able to serve up relevant, engaging content for your target audience.
If you want to outsource your content marketing efforts, you can choose to go with an agency or freelancer — sites like Upwork and Fiverr are great resources for entrepreneurs and allow you to vet a professional's work before committing.
Take a look at How to Find Freelancers for Your Business to learn more about how to find top-notch freelancers for your business.
However, you might feel that your internal team has a better grasp on the nuances of your business. That's fine! There are a number of marketing tools and platforms available to make the content creation process simpler. For example: WordPress and its deeply functional dashboard; Ceros with its collaborative, experiential slant; or HubSpot's own marketing suite, which brings blogging, social media, and website material together under one powerful software solution.
Outsourcing Marketing Strategy
From lead generation tactics to email workflows, a solid marketing strategy should cater to all stages of the buyer's journey. This vital groundwork includes developing buyer personas, mapping campaigns to need states, and identifying growing trends in the market.
Outsourcing your marketing strategy to a career specialist means you're enlisting the help of someone whose job it is to keep abreast of industry innovations and new, creative methods of marketing delivery. They will also be able to identify audience demographics that you may not have considered before.
However, it may not be financially viable for your business to outsource the entire task to a marketing strategist. If that's the case, then another solution is for you to commission a 'strategy skeleton' for your internal team to build on. For instance, the outsourced strategist defines your buyer personas and then your team adds the muscle and sinew to the bare strategic bones.
Outsourcing Marketing Analytics
Your marketing intelligence is informed by how well you use your data analytics. Many businesses will find that they just don't have the in-house expertise to extract nuggets of insight that can turn marketing efforts into gold. Moreover, it can be expensive and time-consuming to recruit and train an in-house team of data scientists and engineers.
Specialty agencies, however, can provide the expertise necessary to interpret your data and offer data-driven insights in response to your existing analytics. Additionally, they can offer a number of solutions that can be fitted to your budget and requirements.
Instead of stretching your resources thin or incurring unnecessary costs, you can focus on developing outstanding products and delivering exceptional service, drawing on the insights unearthed by your marketing intelligence agency.
If you're interested in diving into marketing intelligence in-house, take a look at How Market Intelligence Will Make Your Marketing Team More Agile to explore whether that's the right solution for your needs.
Outsourcing Email Marketing
Wary of either cluttering a prospect's inbox or being forgotten by them altogether? A successful email marketing strategy can make automation and personalization your secret weapons.
For instance, hands-off, lead-nurturing workflows can fire off emails automatically based on a user's action — such as when a user clicks on a social media advertisement or plays a video. Outsourcing the creation and setup of these workflows takes much of the manual, administrative labor from your shoulders and places it into the hands of professionals.
Should the in-house route sound like a better option, you'll need an infrastructure in place to facilitate the timed delivery of these emails, as well as an internal strategic and content team to develop them. HubSpot's marketing suite offers an intuitive framework to outline your email workflow strategy and its automatic triggers.
Outsourcing Social Media Strategy
There are plenty of benefits to keeping social media in-house: for instance, social media is one of the most direct opportunities your business has to connect and engage with prospects and customers. If you keep social media in-house, you can hire full-time social media strategists who communicate with prospects via social media and then relay that information back to leadership to inform more personalized, targeted brand messages moving forward.
However, if you work for a smaller company with a limited budget, a full-time social media manager might currently be out-of-reach.
Additionally, the power of social media might actually make it an important task for you to outsource — when done correctly, social media can take your brand's reach and visibility to the next level, so you might want to outsource to an agency with proven success in the industry.
You can also delegate certain social media tasks to a third-party group, rather than handing off the entire strategy to them. For instance, maybe you notice Instagram is a fantastic avenue to connect with leads, but your social media manager is currently juggling Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as well, making it difficult for her to give her full attention to Instagram.
To combat the issue, you might hire an agency to focus primarily on all things related to Instagram, including Instagram advertising, posting to Instagram Stories, and hiring Instagram influencers to promote your products or services.
If you don't want to hire a third-party agency for your social media needs, however, there are plenty of impressive social media tools to help you automatically post across channels on a regular basis, use data to refine your strategy over time, and communicate with prospects at-scale.
Every business requires a marketing strategy that's tailored to their unique challenges. Some may find that outsourcing the entire marketing spectrum is right for them, while others may want to implement marketing technology and develop a core team around it.
We recommend keeping activity in-house if your current marketing technology is generating excellent ROI and you have a trained, experienced marketing workforce with the capacity to handle long-term campaign work and ad-hoc tasks.
You should consider outsourcing all of your marketing activity if your team members are wearing too many marketing hats, consistently missing deadlines, or are hampered more than helped by your current marketing technology.
A happy medium can be found by using a mix of agency and in-house resources, alongside powerful marketing tools. With an experienced third-party agency guiding you every step of the way, you'll be able to upskill staff and onboard new technology without overspending or embarking on a lengthy recruitment process.
Additionally, if you're having a difficult time making an informed decision, consider reaching out to a consultancy (like ours, Huble Digital) to explore which software and skill sets can transform your marketing efforts in 2020 and beyond.