Published by Simon Brooks on 03rd January 2018 | Outsourced Marketing

Why outsourcing your marketing is a smart move

Why outsourced marketing could be right for your business

You’re running a successful business.

You intend to grow your turnover and you’re putting your plan in place.

Where are the new sales going to come from?

To begin with, you need more market awareness, greater brand visibility, a sales pipeline and increased levels of repeat business.

Perhaps your website could be overhauled to attract more visitors and generate more enquiries. Maybe a newsletter emailed to customers would be an effective way of generating repeat business? And while your existing logo is OK, it’s probably time for a branding refresh.

You might also be thinking that more regular marketing via social media is worth doing.

It all needs planning, managing and reviewing to ensure it’s working.

But who in the business has the time, knowledge, experience and skills to do it all?

The most obvious option is perhaps to hire a new or additional marketing person to take responsibility for building up the marketing programme that’s so obviously needed.

But with interest rates starting to increase and a sense of business uncertainty, you don’t want to take the plunge and make any significant new investments in budgets or personnel.

So what’s the most cost-effective route to more marketing?

Most companies we speak to believe they have three options:

  • Ask an existing employee to do some marketing alongside their existing job role
  • Hire a marketing executive, freelancer or contractor
  • Bring in a marketing agency to act as an outsourced marketing department.

In this article we’re going to evaluate the pros and cons of each of these options. Starting with outsourcing route.

If you want to do more marketing but without the overhead of an internal marketing team, the answer is here somewhere!

Option 1: Outsourced marketing with an experienced marketing agency

For less than the cost of an in-house marketing executive, you could outsource your marketing to an experienced marketing agency.

As well as being a less expensive option all round, you’ll also have access to a complete marketing skillset, offering you everything you need for a fully staffed virtual marketing department.

Services are typically offered in the form of a package of services priced to the level of service you need.

You may need to sign a contract, but not all agencies will insist on this, instead having the confidence that you’ll keep on working with them based on results.

Benefits of the fully outsourced marketing approach include:

a) Full marketing department skillset: By working with a multi-skilled agency, you’ll have access to a full range of skills including director-level strategy and management, design, digital, communications and print.

b) Properly planned marketing: Adopting the right marketing approach from day one will bring dividends in the longer term. By ‘proper planning’ we mean aligning marketing goals with those of the business, agreeing a strategy to achieve them and formulating a timed and budgeted action plan to manage and measure on a monthly basis.

In this way, your marketing will be set up for success from the start.

c) Evolving expertise: A marketing agency worth its salt invests in keeping abreast of new trends and technologies – for example, social media algorithms and new SEO techniques. So you don’t have to.

That means that you’ll always be assured of the most contemporary, informed and modern approach to your marketing; you’ll ‘keep up’ with or ahead of competitors in this sense, which can give your business a major advantage.

d) Known costs: From day one, you’ll know what’s planned for the coming months and what your marketing budget is going to be. Planning your costs and knowing that they’re set can be a big benefit for many businesses.

The set monthly fee can include whatever is agreed, and specifically the skills you don’t have in-house – which, for many businesses, range from website design and creative design to PR, email marketing, SEO and social media.

e) Full availability: Unlike staff, your marketing agency will always be available because it will provide cover while staff go on holiday or are off sick. This means your marketing can continue without interruption or disruption.

f) Low management overhead: Your outsourced marketing department will be managed by an experienced marketing director – which means you can focus on business, while much of the overhead associated with running a team is removed.

g) Customised marketing: While your marketing plan will, in effect, determine the package of marketing services that you receive, it will be completely customised for your business.

Just like the marketing plan created by an in-house marketing team, your package will be tailored to include exactly what’s needed to support the achievement of your business goals.

h) Flexibility: Your outsourced marketing team may be able to adapt, react and change more quickly than in-house team. Typically, service providers aim to be responsive and are eager to please, so flexibility goes with the territory.

For example, if it’s decided that a greater focus on digital marketing is required, your outsourced marketing team can bring in additional or different resources easily and quickly.

i) Aligned goals: The marketing agency you use for outsourced marketing is – by definition – strongly incentivised to make your marketing work and deliver results.

Why? Because your goals become their goals. If it’s not working, you switch direction, adjust the plan and try a new approach. The agency wants to keep on working with you so will do whatever they can – and is necessary – to retain your business.

Option 2: Asking an existing employee to do it

Getting an existing employee to do marketing alongside their existing job role may seem like an obvious choice, particularly if they are in sales already. They’ll know who they want to target, and what sort of things to say to appeal to customer needs.

But there are a number of drawbacks with this option:

a) Firstly, you’ve got to have the right kind of person who is willing and physically able to take on more work. It could be seen as unreasonable and unfair to suddenly add a whole chunk of extra responsibility to someone’s role and may also have contractual implications e.g. for job title, employment contract, salary and benefits – not to mention workload.

b) Secondly, assuming you have a member of staff with the time and the willingness to take on marketing, it’s a big ask to expect someone without the appropriate skills or experience to do a marketing job, even at a junior level.

c) Thirdly, once they start working on the extra time-consuming activities such as creating and managing email campaigns, managing the website or writing marketing reports, the job you originally employed them to do is bound to suffer.

Supposing all of the above can be addressed, are you going to be willing to provide your new part-time in-house marketer with a budget to buy in the additional skills they don’t have e.g. graphic design, SEP, web design or social media?

Option 3: Hiring a marketing executive or manager

Recruiting a marketing executive or marketing manager is a popular choice. But consider also that hiring a new member of staff can often create more work than it saves, and may sometimes represent a false economy. Here’s why.

a) Cost: The average salary for a full time junior marketer such as a Marketing Executive in Cambridgeshire is around £27k per annum, according to recruitment specialists Total Jobs Group.

On top of this, you’ll need to consider the recruitment fee (up to 20% of salary), National Insurance, office/IT equipment, private healthcare, pension, other benefits and the costs of specialist software e.g. Adobe CS for design work.

b) Skillset: Your new marketing executive is unlikely to have the full range of marketing skills you need to be a full marketing department. Most marketing generalists can turn their hand to design or website management, even social media and SEO, but their main expertise will be in marketing management.

This means that to perform to full potential as a marketing department, your marketing executive is going to need to hire in additional resource as needed. Which brings us to the next point.

c) Budget: The first question most new marketing recruits are likely to ask is “What’s the marketing budget?” Marketing does require expenditure – though of course we see it as investment rather than a pure expense.

Whichever way you see it, your marketing executive will require a marketing budget to run campaigns and buy in services (and extra time) needed to create, design and execute them.

d) Management overhead: Apart from the time needed in finding, interviewing and hiring the right person, your new marketing executive will need training and management will be a new added overhead.

Once in post – after a notice period of anything from 1 to 6 months – the new marketing executive will need face time. This will involve regular marketing meetings, day-to-day guidance and direction, and performance reviews.

e) Availability: Employees are entitled to annual leave and to take sick leave if they’re unwell. That means you could be left with a hole to fill if your one and only marketing executive is gone for a prolonged period.

In summary, the outsourcing route to marketing makes good business sense. It’s a cost effective, efficient, and flexible way of getting access to a wide range of marketing services to achieve your marketing and business goals for a set monthly marketing budget.

Not sure where to start? Let us help.

Contact C4B Media to discuss your marketing strategy and identify what is most likely to work for your business on 01763 877110 or click here to get started.

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