Marketing strategies are rapidly changing and traditional marketing managers, who were perhaps previously expected to be a ‘Jack of all Trades’ and able to dabble in, or at least oversee, a wide portfolio of marketing activities are typically finding it increasingly difficult to stay on top of trends and skills in all marketing disciplines. This is where specialists come in. There was a swing towards hiring single-discipline marketers over the last couple of decades, allowing the individuals to really hone their craft and focus solely on one area of specialty. But of course, when a recession hits, one of the first departments to be reviewed is often marketing. Too many heads meant an obvious area to reduce staffing. But of course, that saw specific skill sets walk out the door.
Nowadays, it’s important that marketing managers must understand not only how to access the skills they need in-house but also understand the benefits of outsourcing to fill the skills gaps, provide fresh ideas, perhaps identify new ways of working and to resource up efficiently.
So get a cuppa and sit back while we look at some of the reasons why outsourcing your marketing could just make your life a whole lot easier.
#1 You can tap into specialised skills and expertise
Effective marketing requires a wide range of capabilities. There are times when these are not available internally. By outsourcing, you will get a team of experts at your disposal. As marketing teams became smaller and budgets were slashed, events were often dropped from the marketing plan. This resulted in a shortage of inhouse events management skills. Equally, during the downturn, it was considered more important to focus marketing and communication resource on bringing in new sales opportunities, which meant that less time, attention, and skills were devoted to internal communication.
#2 It allows you to ‘buy in resource’ only when you need it
Not only is outsourcing a great solution to a long-term skills gap, but it can also provide cover it times of need. Got someone on long-term sick? Hire an expert, who will quickly pick up the reins, but have no expectations of a long-term job with you once your member of staff returns. Got a particular project – a website refresh, production of your annual 42-page catalogue, a series of staff roadshows to be held around the country – that will take resource away from the day-to-day marketing activity that you need your inhouse team to be focused on? Outsource the project to external experts for the period of the project and allow the inhouse team time to focus on delivering results as usual.
#3 With outsourcing there’s no ‘downtime’ to pay for
There are fixed costs factored into any marketing budget including people, systems, and capital. With outsourcing, the level of service can scale up or down as needed to fit your budget and priorities without overhead costs. If you have a permanent member of staff, you are paying them to just be there – whether or not you are actually running any campaigns. So, if you know that no marketing activity will happen during the school summer holidays, stand down the outsourced marketing manager – but let them know you’ll want them back again in September! And of course, as they’re not a member of your staff, you won’t be expected to pay them while they’re having their annual two weeks in the sun… or if they’re off sick or on maternity leave. And of course, when you decide you no longer need an outsourced service, there no redundancy costs and none of the ‘pain’ of letting a member of staff go during difficult times.
#4 Get your project / campaign delivered on time with no disruption to day-to-day activity
Businesses need to adapt to their customers and markets and position themselves to take advantage of immediate opportunities. Getting to market quickly and staying ahead of the competition, is the key objective. An outsourced marketing professional doesn’t carry the ‘baggage’ that your employees do. They don’t need appraisals, they’re not involved in endless team meetings and they don’t have hundreds of other little tasks that distract them from the project they’re meant to be working on. Give a project to an outsourced marketer, agree the timescales for delivery and they’ll get on with it without those daily distractions.
#5 Get ‘big business’ benefits even if you’re running an SMB
Smaller businesses usually don’t have the budget (or the requirement) for a full time inhouse marketing team. Hiring an outsourced marketing manager brings a wealth of experience you’d not normally see in a small business, at a fraction of the cost as they’re only working for you when you need them. Marketing professionals who have moved in to the outsourcing field have often served their time within large (often blue chip) organizations, so bring with them a whole wealth of experience and ideas that can help transform your marketing activities, making your business look professional and potentially bigger than it actually is.
#6 Measuring, monitoring and tracking performance
Understanding your customers in today’s data-overload world is no easy task. When an inhouse member of staff is busy running campaigns, it’s often the case that as they put a campaign to bed, they’re instantly focused on the next deliverable. This leaves no time for learning or reflecting on what went well and what you would change for the next time. Throw in to the mix the fact that their personal objectives often relate to number of units sold or revenue figures, it can often distract their attention away from individual campaign performance. With an outsourced marketing expert you can ensure that campaign measurement is a key deliverable and they will monitor, report and suggest improvements to activity as par for the course. Outsourced marketing managers can help drive decisions about optimising your marketing budget across every campaign regardless of which marketing tools you are using.
#7 Free up your time to concentrate on your day job
Many smaller business owners find themselves having to carry out activities that they wouldn’t naturally do, such as accounts, HR and marketing. Let an outsourced marketing manager take away the pressure of this and allow you time to do what it is you do best (usually the reason you’ve started your own business in the first place).
#8 Fresh eyes and new ideas
Developing your marketing strategy with an external expert can bring new ideas, and identify different opportunities and routes to market that you may not have previously considered. Sometimes, you are just too close to your business to see what you have from your customers’ point of view. It also eliminates the ‘we’ve always done it this way mentality’. Outsourcing your marketing strategy will bring a balanced and unbiased viewpoint, helping you to identify and select the right tools to maximise your return on investment. They work with all disciplines and will help you determine the best resources to capitalise on your marketing budget. Outsourcing has become an essential aspect of the marketing function.
Looking to extend your reach and get a different viewpoint on your marketing activity? Get in touch on 01482 672742 or firstname.lastname@example.org