You run a business, or a marketing team. You know how to do this stuff, right? So what are the benefits of outsourcing your marketing to an external agency?
It’s a rare internal team that covers every aspect of its own marketing. At the bottom of this article there’s a handy checklist of things that might highlight whether you’d benefit from using an external agency. But let’s look at some of the bigger issues in a bit of detail first…
Obviously it’s important to choose the right agency
Example. A client we worked with recently – a large company – has their internal marketing team handling the overarching marketing strategy; and then outsources content writing to one agency, photography to a freelancer, videography to another freelancer, and PR to another agency.
They put their PPC and SEO work with another small external agency, and web design and literature design to yet another agency and a freelancer respectively.
We actually stopped working with them. It became impossible for us to do a good job.
They handle their own social media marketing – just about – but the PR company does some of it too. The result? Most of their content is about banging their own drum – which is what PR does and isn’t great content marketing (it’s a bit boring and self-obsessed) – and their core messaging is kind of spread out all over the place. It became impossible to even sit down with a contact at the client company and have a sensible conversation about content strategy. Everything was everywhere, and every meeting was with a different person with a new outlook each time.
If you’ve got a multi-layered need for outsourcing like this, why not find the best agency you can – an agency you like working with – and put as much under one roof as possible? It’s the only way to get joined-up thinking. At the very least, keep it to a couple of agencies or freelancers, for your own sanity.
‘Internal means cheaper’ is a dangerous assumption to make
Firstly, does your team really have all the skills you need to do the job? Maybe you’re considering hiring a ‘starter’ to cover some of it – a designer perhaps, or a content writer. Hiring someone like this on an hourly freelance rate is going to be cheaper than calling in an agency, for sure.
But you need to factor in the time your creative leaders will invest training a starter, when they should be driving the job forward instead, and of course that’s assuming the starter is any good. What if the work they do isn’t up to scratch? Do you keep on keeping on, or start all over again looking for someone else?
Time lost and wasted here can be expensive. This is cutting corners and honestly, we’ve seen this approach lead to disaster a number of times.
Sometimes a quote from an agency can look a bit daunting, particularly if you have some talent in house. But add up all the time saved searching for freelancers, checking their work, training them and possibly fixing their mistakes, as well as the time your creative leaders have to give up, doing what is essentially HR and admin. Wouldn’t it be better to just call in some trusted experts and save yourself that aggro?
Your business has grown – or shrunk!
Whichever you’re looking at here, you may well have a team that no longer fits. And particularly when times are hard it’s easy to consider reducing spend on marketing. And that’s just madness – it’s THE most important time to push through that, together with your sales!
But if your business has grown and you can’t keep up, that’s also an issue. What was once a slick marketing machine is now under pressure, not keeping up and not functioning effectively. And hey, maybe your business starts to look untidy and unprofessional.
Look at set support for set fees with an agency if you’re struggling to push forward, so you can budget – ultimately you can probably do that more cheaply than hiring a decent marketing manager in house. And set really clear goals and KPIs.
If you’re struggling to keep up with business – go you! But don’t let your marketing slip. An agency can help bridge a gap, or even put together a feasibility study and strategy so you know how to move forward successfully and smoothly.
Special projects end up taking longer
You’d think that having your in house team complete a project would be faster than outsourcing. But the team should be busy with day to day work, which can affect the focus needed to finish an extra mission. Your marketing creatives can’t afford to drop the ball on the regular work, so the special project – let’s say a website audit and redesign – can take far, far longer.
There’s nothing like bundling up a specific job with clear outcomes and goals and just handing it to someone else to get on with – putting in place transparent reporting and project management timeline. Factor in a regular meeting with updates so you can keep track and we pretty much guarantee your project will get finished WAY faster than if you do it in house.
Signs you could really use an external agency
I could go on forever, but we’re all busy people. Here’s a bunch of questions to ponder…
- You find yourself outsourcing skills like copywriting, strategic planning or web design on a per project basis.
- You don’t have a clear idea of your own USPs, brand personality or target audience.
- You’ve stopped thinking about the bigger picture, the outside perspective.
- Your marketing projects often run over time and over budget.
- You don’t know how to make the most of your website.
- You’re not sure how to remarket to existing/past clients.
- You don’t know how to measure your marketing ROI.
- You aren’t getting enough/the right sales enquiries.
- When you do get them, there’s no follow up procedure and they slip away.
- Your website isn’t getting enough traffic or generating enough leads.
- You don’t have a clear strategy for your social media marketing.
- Or your content marketing.
- Or any kind of marketing.
- You’ve employed a marketing ‘starter’ and it’s not working – they need help.
- Literally nobody has time to blog…
- …or do the regular campaigns like newsletters, press releases or email marketing.
Does any of this sound familiar? Get in touch – we’re a friendly bunch and consultation won’t cost you a bean.