when-to-outsource-marketing-and-when-to-keep-it-in-house

When to Outsource Marketing and When to Keep It In-House

If you had to make a list of all the elements crucial to your organization's long-term growth, marketing would undoubtedly be right at the top. To be effective, marketing is something that needs constant attention. There may come a time when you are faced with a business decision: do you keep your marketing in-house or do you outsource to a third-party agency? In the decision-making process, it's essential to keep in mind the ultimate goals of your organization, among other factors.

When to Outsource Marketing

At its core, outsourced marketing is precisely what it sounds like: you're handing over the reins of your marketing efforts to a trusted third party to handle your marketing. They could handle certain aspects or take over everything from traditional advertising to social media marketing and everything in between, on your behalf. Here are situations where it may be prudent for you to turn the reigns over to a professional team: 

  • Current Marketing Trends

    One of the biggest signs that it may be time to consider outsourcing has to do with the challenge of keeping up with the latest trends. Tools and technology change practically overnight, and agencies have the ability to invest a significant amount of time in keeping up with the latest trends in all aspects of marketing. Doing this on your own would take a tremendous amount of time, and that is time you don't necessarily have.

  • Skills and Expertise

    Another major sign is when you start to realize that you don't completely understand all the ins and outs of certain marketing strategies. Rather than bluff your way through, you decide to find someone who has the knowledge and experience you lack. You're an expert in your business - not necessarily advertising. Conversely, agencies are stacked with individuals who bring years of combined experience to the table. They've likely supported comparable organizations and they know how to get the job done.

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  • Business is in Growth Mode

    It is also a reasonable time to outsource your marketing when you're scaling your business. A marketing agency can adequately serve your organization in both short and long-term capacities. If you're on the cusp of deploying a large strategy or in major growth mode, there are other parts of your business that need your time and attention. You can't do everything, and an agency has employees on hand that can be singularly focused on the task at hand. 

  • Cost Consciousness

    Outsourcing is an ideal option when cost-effectiveness is important to you. Don't forget that a team of experts will always be able to help you get your campaigns up and running not only faster but more efficiently as well. You don't have to worry about "learning lessons the hard way" because this dedicated team of people has already done so. The investment you make in opting to outsource can save you not just money in the long run but can help you get it right the first time. 

  • Lose the Forest for the Trees

    Finally, a major sign that it is likely time to outsource your marketing comes by way of when, rather than focusing on your strategy, you find yourself focusing on the tasks that make up that strategy. Simply put, outsourcing gives your internal team the ability to focus on those efforts that will have the most impact. They will spend less time dealing with the often complicated day-to-day tasks of marketing and can spend more time focusing on where they can do the most good. An agency can handle everything else.

  • It is a Job for Superman

    If you find yourself stressed and frustrated because you just can't get it all done. You have goals, and it's not that you don't know what to do, it's that you don't have the time to get it all done. Face it, between all of the other tasks your job requires, marketing gets pushed down the priority list. Eventually, the "I'll get to this later" becomes never. If your business could be better if those things actually got done, it's time to outsource. Sometimes, it pays to know when to cry "uncle." 

  • The Expiration Date is Approaching

    Sometimes, your marketing needs a facelift. Having someone come in and look at your business from a fresh perspective, and bringing new ideas to the table can be invaluable.  If you're stuck in "this is the way we've always done it" and are finding that old methodologies are not producing the same level of results, you may be approaching your campaign's expiration date. It's time to look for a fresh crop of ideas. 

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When to Keep Marketing In-House

Having said that, there are times when it does make more sense to keep your marketing in-house and handled by people you have on the payroll. We're not saying this applies in every situation. Every business is different and every business owner has a unique situation with goals, employees, products, services, target market, etc. That being said, here are times when we've recognized it might make sense to keep your marketing under roof:

  • Budget is Small

    Aside from small projects here and there, it doesn't make sense to hire an advertising agency if your budget doesn't allow it. The barrier to entry is different for different agencies, so have a candid conversation about the budget with the marketing company you are considering. Make sure you're not having champagne taste on a beer budget. Or, consider starting small by outsourcing a few specific projects at a time. Your budget and your relationship can grow over time. 

  • Grand Slam! 

    Your internal team is knocking it out of the park, you should celebrate that fact. If you are satisfied with your business' growth, are seeing both a steady stream of new business along with repeat business, your profit margins are holding and the future looks solid...don't rock the boat. If it's working, let it work. 

  • Comfortable Status Quo

    You like what you are currently doing and are satisfied with the results.  Some business owners enjoy doing the advertising themselves and don't have ambitions of total market domination. You've carved your niche and are comfortable with where things are at. Relax and enjoy the ride! 

Fostering a Healthy Partnership Between Your Internal Marketing Team and Your Ad Agency

It's very important to note that the possibility exists for your internal marketing team to perceive an agency as a threat. They might feel threatened by a marketing agency bringing a higher level of expertise to the table, and it's possible they may then feel like their work is not up to par. That is never the intention. We want to make a specific point of saying that our goal is to make your marketing team look like heroes. We are there to augment their work and enhance what they bring to the table, not be critical of it.

Our experience is that when an internal marketing team and an ad agency partner correctly, the synergy created when both levels of insight and expertise merge is a huge win-win. 

Overall, if your internal marketing team is stretched thin, outsourcing your marketing efforts makes a significant amount of sense. It can alleviate operational pressure and help people focus on that which is most important.

Keeping some tasks in-house or combining both in a "best of both worlds" situation can also make sense if you have the bandwidth and the budget to do so. Outsourcing requires a financial commitment and an acceptable working relationship - don't let yourself forget that.

To find out more information about when to outsource your marketing and when to keep things in-house, or to get answers to any other questions you may have, please don't delay - contact us today.

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