Why you should outsource your marketing
Traditionally, many companies have reduced their budgets and tried to perform as many services as possible in-house to cut costs, rather than utilising the outside perspective of an external agency. This has created an insular environment, allowing things to only be considered from within the ‘office’, for many businesses.
Our current economic state, one which has forced many businesses to consider downsizing or even closing their doors altogether, has raised the question should I hire, utilise existing staff, or outsource?
Unfortunately, traditionalism has prevailed for many businesses, who have opted to use existing staff or hire a single new worker to meet the needs for certain processes internally, thinking it will save money in the long run.
For a lot of operational departments, such as customer service or manufacturing, the preferred solution is often easily extrapolated using cost, production, or quality calculations, allowing business owners or managers to make the right decision based on the hard data available at the time.
For marketing, however, the answer isn’t as clear-cut or easily calculated; there are multiple factors and stressors to consider. Costings, quality of work, and time efficiency certainly all have a part to play in the decision-making process, but the fact that much of marketing revolves around forming a strong relationship between company, customers, and other outside influences and audiences, there also needs to be critical appraisal involved.
By internalising resources, does this make it as effective? Or is an outside, critical opinion better suited to forming stronger relationships with external audiences?
When you view marketing functions as a production cost (how much will it cost to do X amount of work and how much will that work produce in terms of revenue?) It puts marketing squarely into the operationally-focussed category which, it could be argued, is not where marketing functions belong.
Many businesses fall into this trap – marketing departments produce tangible material, at the end of the day, that can have a value placed upon it. As a result, it would be natural to try to find the cheapest way to produce the end product with as little compromise on quality as possible.
The bonus of outsourcing marketing functions, however, is that external agencies are not hindered by internal politics or any inward-facing processes of the businesses they help promote. This gives them a unique, external perception and viewpoint that internal departments are unable to gain by their very definition. Since external agencies usually have multiple clients on their books, they have a much wider outlook than businesses using internal assets. This critical, external perspective can help put the business front and centre in the attention of its desired audience much better than a department with a budget-justifying, internal focus, and can create opportunity for higher profit margins and more durable campaigns than can a ‘production-focussed’ marketing department.
Rather than considering only the palpable, measurable elements, such as salary and time efficiency costings, the impact of internalising a marketing department compared with outsourcing to an external marketing agency, along with who may be best suited to see things from the customer’s perspective, needs to be taken into consideration when making the internal vs external decision.
That is not to say that internal marketing departments don’t work. On the contrary, they can be incredibly effective. But normally this is only when they’re given freedom to critically appraise the company culture that they are a part of, using an outsider’s perspective, to help them ‘get inside the heads’ of the ideal customer and target audience.
Many company executives are less inclined to listen to constructively critical comments from within their own company hierarchy than they are from someone with experience externally, and so are more willing to work collaboratively with external agencies to try new approaches to marketing.
External marketing agencies, especially ones that work collaboratively with companies as their outsourced marketing department, can provide a unique perspective that is simply not possible to gain from an internal department, providing additional benefits that can outweigh simple cost considerations. In considering cost, with external marketing agencies you often benefit from having multiple marketing specialists working on your marketing efforts for the same cost as a single marketing professional.
Whether you are a small, independent business with a few staff, or an established company with multiple offices, the benefit of having an external perspective on your marketing efforts is well worth considering when deciding between internalising or outsourcing your marketing functions.