As a marketer, it can seem like the deck is stacked against you as you strive for better results each quarter with limited time and resources.
You try to maintain your competitive edge by keeping up with industry trends and the latest tech while simultaneously sustaining a breakneck pace on the treadmill of your daily tasks. Your resources are strapped, there’s no time for strategy, and you’re falling further and further behind on your long-term goals.
If this sounds familiar, it may be time to think about bringing in a ringer. It can be scary to hand over marketing responsibilities to an outside agency, but outsourcing your marketing can increase efficiency, fill gaps, and keep you on the cutting edge.
Outsourcing marketing functions to external resources can deliver significant benefits to your organization. We’ve compiled the top 5 reasons why your business might choose to outsource a portion or all of your marketing functions:
1. Focus on company core competencies and high level functions
Outsourcing marketing functions can be a smart choice for organizations that want to focus on their core competencies. This allows them to invest company personnel time on only those functions that are at the heart of the organization’s deliverables.
Outsourcing marketing functions can be especially impactful for small and mid-sized businesses or owner-operators who spend much of their time executing business operations. These smart SMB owners recognize the importance of marketing to drive growth but don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing, so they enlist the help of outsourced marketing experts to round out their team and enhance their business as a whole.
For organizations engaged in inbound marketing, the legion of leads driven by content marketing efforts can quickly swamp internal resources that should be focused on high level activities. Businesses who invest in nurturing their prospects are more likely to earn the trust — and the future dollars — of their potential customers, but following up with every single lead can become time-consuming and cumbersome for a small marketing team. Lead qualifying and nurturing functions are a great place for an outsourced marketing team to begin reducing the burden on your team and becoming familiar with your business.
2. Accommodate accelerated growth
Another key driver prompting company leadership to outsource marketing is the need for quick growth.
For some businesses, accelerating growth is dependent on reducing time-to-market. When it comes to strategizing and executing on tactics for launching a new brand, repackaging a product, or developing a content strategy for your organization, timeliness is a chief concern.
It would take significant time, effort, and energy for an in-house team to be assembled to support these functions. Both human resources and company management would be needed to identify, recruit, hire, and educate new team members. In this case, it’s a smart move to outsource marketing to a cross-functional team that is already assembled, proven successful, and ready to hit the ground running.
In other situations, growth happens all at once.
As organizational growth through company acquisitions becomes more commonplace, outsourcing marketing functions can be a useful tool during the merger of existing brands. When multiple brands come together under one corporate umbrella, their marketing databases need to merge and other internal systems must converge to assure brand consistency throughout the marketplace.
To avoid placing these demands on internal team members who maintain the day-to-day marketing responsibilities, an outsourced marketing team can take on the task of expertly incorporating the multiple brands as the organization moves towards a united strategy.
3. Reduce fixed costs
Another key reason organizational management would look to start outsourcing marketing functions is cost management concerns. When hiring in-house staff to promote your products and services, you are adding significant fixed costs to your company overhead. Furthermore, the salary and benefit package expenses increase significantly when hiring technically skilled employees.
Another significant benefit to outsourcing business functions is moving a substantial chunk of your expenses from fixed costs to variable costs. This is especially important for organizations that are testing new markets or rolling out new products. The ability to execute on essential marketing functions like content creation, website development, and search engine marketing without the need to lock in fixed salary and benefits costs are a real driver for marketing outsourcing, allowing for flexibility and scalability in projects and campaigns of any size and scope.
Marketing budgets have begun to shrink, and marketing teams are being forced to produce better results with fewer resources. In situations where marketing dollars are tight, it makes sense to outsource key technical functions like website development, branding, and video production. By engaging with agencies for these functions, organizations can stay financially nimble while also maintaining a high quality look and feel for their brand.
4. Access to technology expertise and unique perspectives
In recent years, the marketing landscape has shifted significantly into the digital realm, and the skills needed to execute on these tactics have become increasingly technical and precise. What's more, these technologies are changing and evolving at a rapid pace, making it hard to keep up. As your business grows, you might find that your in-house team lacks the expertise needed to utilize these digital tools to the fullest.
By outsourcing marketing functions, you exponentially increase your talent pool. These external resources will have the skills, tools, and expertise needed to coordinate and execute marketing campaigns across multiple channels. Outsourcing provides expertise in a variety of marketing disciplines — SEO, SEM, website development, online advertising, social media marketing, and video production, just to name a few.
A less tangible but very important benefit of outsourced marketing is the ability to tap into unique perspectives and objective points of view. Oftentimes, in-house designers, content creators, and analysts can have the “this is the way we’ve always done it” blinders on when looking to solve company business problems. By bringing in external resources to help with creative, branding, and content, you tap into the ingenuity and inventive ideas of unbiased experts.
5. Increase competitive agility
The only constant in the competitive landscape is that it is constantly changing. New competitors are always entering the market, and your company’s position within the market is always in flux. It can be a struggle for companies to stay on top of new industry trends and ever-evolving marketing tech.
This environment necessitates quick movements and constant alterations to ensure relevance in the marketplace and alignment with demand. When you bring on an external resource, they can supplement your knowledge of current tech and trends while providing you with an agile team ready to take on the next wave of developments.
If your company wants to increase revenue and expand your market share, you should seek out an agency with a growth-focused mindset. An agency with this kind of holistic approach will consider the big picture and provide suggestions for improvements to your operations and systems that can help not only your marketing team but your whole company function smoothly from intaking new leads to delighting customers.
The decision to outsource marketing functions is a serious one. The merits of the decision should be weighed within the larger context of overall company strategy, internal bandwidth, and personnel resources.
If implemented correctly, outsourced marketing can deliver significant efficiency gains for organizations large and small. It can keep fixed costs low, increase the speed at which marketing results are delivered, keep internal marketing resources focused on high level activities, and help position the company against competitors.
Thinking about outsourcing marketing functions for your business or looking for more material to help convince upper management in that direction? Download our guide When to Outsource Your Marketing for details on how to get started.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.