I run an ad agency. But I’ll be the first one to tell you that outsourcing your entire marketing responsibility is the wrong move.
Am I shooting myself in the foot? After talking to so many brands, I realize that outsourced and in-house marketing can co-exist in a synergy. And deliver amazing results to boot. So my answer is a resounding NO.
Yes, I would love to work with as many brands as I can talk to. But the reality is, some brands are better left alone — in terms of their marketing team. Why? Because they have the money and time to hire and build out every aspect of their marketing team.
But it’s not always just about having deep pockets to build a team. It’s also necessary to create an internal marketing ecosystem and knowledge base within those companies to have a well-coordinated team structure that runs like a well oiled machine.
On the flip side, a full in-house marketing team isn’t practical for other companies. But without any marketing expertise, businesses are missing opportunities and leaving a lot of money on the table. This is where outsourcing becomes a practical option.
Any size business can outsource their marketing for the right reasons
The reality is, any company can outsource some or all of their marketing to an agency. What the business decides to outsource is influenced by the gaps in their marketing team. Most companies have marketing teams that are partially filled.
What do I mean?
Many brands we work with have a VP or Director of Marketing who oversee high level strategy and direction of their business. Unfortunately, they are also responsible to execute all the campaigns — social media, search, display, analytics, and email — that’s a lot of hats to wear.
Yes, there are superhuman marketers who can pull it off (those are rare and expensive). But for the rest of you, juggling so many responsibilities is just too stressful and a disaster waiting to happen.
But building a team is not a viable option. Why? According to research, a single marketer ranges from $61,000 to more than $120,000 — which is more than just a drop in the bucket for many companies.
To build a functional marketing team, you need to hire talent for copy writing, social media, search engine marketing, email marketing, just to name a few.
I’ll go over each of the marketing talent later so you have an idea of what you’re look for when you decide to outsource your marketing team.
But for now, let’s say the average marketing talent was $100,000 — you’re still looking at an annual budget of $400,000 – $500,000 all in. We won’t get into the nitty gritty of calculating revenue per employee or ROI, but needless to say, it’s a hefty investment.
The alternative is to outsource marketing talent to fill your talent gaps without breaking the bank on an in-house team.
Essential marketing gaps you need to fill
#1. Content copyrighting
Let me put it out.
People don’t hate content, they hate bad content.
In the age of internet and social research, content is increasingly more important for long-term marketing strategies.
Content is how end consumers learn about brands, products, and services. Copyrighting skill is vital to the success for brands to tell their story, establish authority, and demonstrate authenticity.
It’s easy to write, but to create content that is engaging and helpful takes practice and time.
Traditional marketers are used to writing short ad text, slogans, and catch phrases. You will have a difficult time if you are asking your ad copywriter to write articles or long-form content.
Like I said, a good copywriter can tell your story through words and keep the attention of your readers from beginning to end.
Whether you’re reaching new customers or sending email newsletters to existing customers, bad content can turn your reader away and not return.
A good piece of content has far-reaching benefits like:
- link building opportunities from other websites and blogs
- higher rate of social engagement on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc
- increase brand visibility in search and social
- build authority within the industry
Bad copyrighting on the other hand can lead to undesirable and disastrous content. And the opposite will happen for your brand. Your content will disappoint your visitors because it adds no value, you’ll have no social engagement, and give way to your competitor to take the lead over you.
#2. Social media
Your business is existing in a world of constant connection. Whether you like it or not, your customers are never off the grid.
That means, customers also have the increasingly unreasonable expectation that your business is never off the grid either.
It’s getting more and more challenging for businesses to quench the demands of their customers. But brands that make themselves accessible will break away from the crowd.
T-Mobile is an example of a brand that has embraced social media. It’s not always about business. That’s where many brands falter.
Even their CEO, John Legere is engaging on Twitter with his followers by posting cooking videos every Sunday for #SlowCookerSunday. If you haven’t seen it, it’s very entertaining to watch a CEO cook up a Sunday meal in his kitchen. I digress.
The point I am making is that social media agility is a critical component of your overall marketing skill set.
No one person, no matter how advanced, can do all the social marketing needed for a midsize company.
But the social media “gooroos” told me I could use social media to drive sales
Yes, but they didn’t tell you the other half of the equation. The part that doesn’t drive dollars into your pocket — because it’s less sexy. You may not sign the contract if they told you that your social media marketing will only drive web traffic and no conversions. Would you?
Of course they won’t. Why? Because they want you to sign the contract first.
You see, social media is an interesting marketing channel. It can be used to drive web traffic, you can sell products, and increase sales. One of the strongest use of social media is to build connection to drive engagement and build long-term relationships.
By determining what can be done in-house and what’s best suited for an outsourced company, money will be saved, campaigns will yield great results, and things will go smoothly.
It’s not just about scheduling social posts
You actually have to invest time in:
- Tracking your brand mentions, comments, retweets, tags, and links.
- Monitoring the conversations that are happening.
- Trying new audience growth tactics.
- Responding immediately to any inquiries, complaints, and comments.
All of this needs to happen 24/7, too.
To say that you can allocate 1-2 hours per week to manage your social pages is a farce. The larger your following, the more frequent you need to monitor your social activity. However, brands with smaller social followers have their work cut out for them.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you still think one person can handle all this and other marketing responsibilities, I hate to break it to you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
p/s: I covered how the T-Mobile customer experts on Twitter helped me resolve a monster of an issue.
#3. PPC advertising
One of the most widely use tactic to acquire customers is search engine marketing through pay-per-click (PPC).
From Google and Facebook to LinkedIn and Bing, businesses can reach customers through this time-tested marketing channel.
Just like with other marketing strategies, you need to constantly keep up with PPC changes to make sure you are using the latest, most relevant, and features released by the search engines.
You have to have much more than cursory understanding of the underlying technologies involved in the entire PPC ecosystem to successfully launch, manage, and optimize campaigns.
For midsize businesses this means having someone or people on the marketing team to constantly make adjustments to keywords, ad copy, landing pages, ad group and campaign expansion to stay ahead of the competition.
Technology changes with the wind. If you don’t have PPC expertise in-house, then outsourcing that area of marketing make sense to keep things running efficiently. It’s cheaper to outsource your PPC than to make a costly mistake that could cost your company tens or hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars.
Every client we work with have one thing in common. They have leaders in their marketing department, but no ground soldiers to be in the front line. That’s where an internet marketing agency like Fullmoon Digital come in.
We don’t need to take over the entire marketing function, even though we can. And just like many other ad agencies out there, we are here to fill in marketing gaps for midsize companies.
#4. Brand building and awareness
Though you may not be willing to admit it, you likely find it difficult to sell anything if nobody trusts your brand.
You might think this is obvious. But I have talked to many startups who think their brand is so loved they don’t need to focus marketing resources on brand development.
Without a brand, there’s really no use it doing any marketing. Why? Because your business will not be remembered.
You don’t need me to tell you building your brand takes time. You already know that. But what you do and how you make use of that time is important.
In-house marketing teams responsible for building the brand might not be able to do everything.
Take for example, boosting and amplifying content across social pages to increase reach and awareness might be something that your in-house team does not have the time to handle.
It helps to bring in outside expertise that is better suited in content distribution and amplification while your in-house team focus on building your brands’ voice and marketing collateral.
Ask yourself this honest question. How much time do you have to devote to managing your branded content?
This is especially true for companies that are so focused on building a wall around their brand. Defending the authority and influence of your brand requires undivided attention of your marketing team.
Creating that content will take up most of your resources. You’ll get peace of mind, that you have an extended agency as part of your marketing team.
Can you afford to outsource your marketing
Ad agencies and internet marketing companies offer wide price ranges.
Sometimes it’ll be much cheaper than your in-house marketer, and other times not. It all depends on what gaps you are looking to fill and the workload you require.
Outsourcing your marketing can cost anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars a month for a midsize business.
Compare that to the cost of your in-house marketer and everything that comes it like training, healthcare, vacation, etc. You’ll certainly save on those employee benefits, but even then sometimes outsourcing is not the right choice.
What you need to understand is whether you hire in-house marketers or outsource your marketing, you will be investing in the growth of your business.
The intent here is to outsource what you can’t do well, so you can focus on what you do well and do it even better.
Building the right team with the right skill set and specialization is critical to your business’ success. This shouldn’t be left to chance.
There is too much at stake and any sign of weakness will give your competitor every reason to strike you down.
Marketing is semi-effective if siloed. But when integrated into other departments, it can benefit every facet of your business.
Consider outsourcing and filling your marketing gaps before crisis happens. You are in the best position to know what you can handle in-house and what you need help with from an outsource marketing agency.