Despite being a marketing agency (that naturally makes money through businesses outsourcing their marketing functions), we are indeed aware that the decision to outsource specific facets of marketing is not always an easy one or, dare we say it, the best one.
However, as is testament to the growth in both our own size and the size of other marketing agencies around the world, there are many challenges facing businesses that call for none other than the decision to entrust another with marketing. Within this blog we outline three of the common drivers that are pushing growing businesses toward outsourced marketing.
1. Insufficient Expertise or Bandwidth
As businesses grow, so does both the need for, and the reliance on multifaceted marketing expertise. This presents unique challenges, challenges that are illustrated perfectly by considering the level of expertise inherent within dedicated agencies.
For instance, consider the typical department of a larger marketing firm, consisting of everything from strategists, analysts and auditors to graphic designers, copywriters and programmers; the power of these experts is that they, by definition, are (or at least should be) masters in their respective fields.
To compare this to in-house marketing teams, it is often the case that businesses do not always have the same level of expertise or capability as is offered by the dedicated marketing agency. In particular, it is not rare for businesses to be inadequately staffed in areas such as marketing analytics, database marketing and data cleansing – areas that many agencies specialise in.
Also, in such a rapidly changing marketing world (just watch how frequently Google’s algorithms change), dedicated experts in very specific fields are realistically your best bet at ensuring you have access to required skill-sets for optimal use of any new marketing tools or systems. If this is indeed the case, you’re better off investing in the help of an expert than settling for a haphazard attempt, predicated on semi-formed expertise which could harm you down the line.
2. You Need To Grow, Fast
In the advent of rapid growth, there is often an urgent need for new staff and processes. Depending on the speed and extent of the growth, this can often mean that outsourcing to meet such requirements is a cheaper alternative to recruitment or investment in requisite software or systems.
There is also the consideration of training and its associated costs, both monetary and time-related. For instance, to get to market quickly with a new product, offer or distribution channel, you must identify the key functions and work to ensure the right people are both hired and trained beforehand – a potentially extremely costly endeavour.
Having said this, and as is testament to the importance of hiring the right agency, outsourcing can pose long-term risks to your knowledge base should you become too reliant on their expertise and the business relationships or contracts cease to exist. To combat this and make the most of outsourcing you should choose an agency committed to knowledge transfer, an agency that isn’t going to trap you in retainers through hoarding the specialist knowledge you are paying them for. At Catalyst, we are firm believers that, even if it is not our agency, you remain vigilant in choosing the one that suits your business’s unique demands.
3. You Want To Better Manage Costs
The costs associated with people, facilities and systems usually account for the largest proportion of the marketing budget and marketers need to quickly respond both to any changes in customer demographics and markets; and capitalise on any emerging opportunities. As a result, marketing agencies operating on your behalf are often better placed to allow such flexibility.
In terms of costs, it is a common viewpoint that outsourcing is more costly than the decision to keep marketing as a completely internal function. However, this isn’t always the case as there are many hidden costs associated with maintaining internal fixed marketing assets. For instance, consider the costs absorbing the delays caused by changing priorities or the costs of expanding or contracting marketing functions based on business demands; even when done on a monthly basis, these can be considerable.
Though the retainer itself may to some seem just as much a fixed cost as any internal cost, the power of the retainer is that corresponding service can be scaled up or down in response to changing situations and the demands of the market.
Should You Outsource More Of Your Marketing?
Whilst this blog has briefly covered 3 of the primary reasons you might consider outsourcing more of your marketing efforts, only you have the intricate appreciation of how your business works and the knowledge of the unique challenges you face that is needed to know if a marketing agency is right for you. We don’t have all the answers, but one thing we do know is that if you do need to outsource your marketing, Catalyst have the experience and commitment required to fulfill what your internal functions may be struggling to do.