Before jumping into the details of when to outsource marketing and when to keep it in-house, let’s take some time to define what we mean by “outsourced marketing.” Defined, outsourced marketing is when an organization contracts with external company resources to implement marketing strategies and tactics. This could be for functions like marketing research, development of marketing strategies, execution of ongoing lead generation tactics and ongoing strategic consulting.
The most basic logic behind marketing outsourcing is that it provides expertise in each marketing discipline (SEO, SEM, content writing, website development, landing page creation, branding, online advertising and video direction/production) at lower costs than developing internal resources. Additionally, it allows flexibility and scalability for projects and campaigns of any size and scope. It’s this pay-for-service model that compels companies of all sizes to opt for outsourcing, because it allows for the utilization of services for long or short periods of time.
Outsourcing the marketing function to external resources can deliver significant benefits to the organization. Some of the most readily apparent efficiency gains from outsourcing are as follows:
1. Focus on Company Core Competencies
Outsourcing the marketing function can be smart for organizations that want to narrowly focus on their core competencies. While outsourcing is not always necessary for these organizations, it allows them to invest company personnel time on only those functions that are at the heart of the organization’s deliverables.
2. Exponentially Increases the Talent Pool
By outsourcing marketing functions, you exponentially increase your talent pool. As more complex projects emerge, in-house teams may not have the skills required to implement the project. This is where outsourcing to a more experienced marketing agency can bring efficiency gains. These external resources will have the skills, tools, and expertise needed to coordinate and execute marketing campaigns across multiple channels.
3. Reduce Fixed Costs
One significant benefit to outsourcing business functions is that you move a significant chunk of your expenses from fixed costs to variable costs. This is 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 benefit costs are a real driver for marketing outsourcing.
4. Access to Unique Perspectives
A less tangible but very important benefit of marketing outsourcing is the ability to tap into unique perspectives and objective points of view. Oftentimes in-house designers, content creators, and analysts can become myopic or narrow-minded when looking to solve company business problems. By bringing in external company resources to help with creative, branding, and content, you tap into the ingenuity and inventive ideas of outside resources. This helps business leaders avoid limitations like groupthink and tunnel vision when problem-solving.
5. Budgets for In-House Staff are Declining
As budgets shrink, organizations are being forced to produce higher results with declining resources. This has resulted in fewer finances available for securing and maintaining highly technical and highly skilled staffers. This is where outsourcing key technical functions like website development, branding, and video production make sense. By engaging with agencies for these functions, organizations can stay financially nimble while also maintaining a high quality look and feel for their brand.
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.
However, 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 value 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.