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5 Major Signs It's Time to Consider Outsourcing Marketing

Author: Gretel Digo

Posted: October 1, 2015

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Should you keep marketing functions in-house or hire a third party to do it for you? Each option has its pros and cons, and it's up to the manager or chief marketing officer to determine whether a marketing activity would be more affordable and efficient to perform internally or outside the company.  If you're having a hard time deciding, consider the following situations when it might be time to work with a service provider. 

Does this Sound Like You? Maybe it's Time to Consider Outsourcing Marketing

Revenue growth is slowed or stalled.

While your marketing department is not the only factor that drives revenue growth, a service provider can help jumpstart or boost growth by performing some of your in-house marketing activities.  One of the measures of a successful marketing campaign is a positive return on investment (ROI).  Many vendors use ROI to improve bottom line performance when providing outsourced marketing services.  At the very least, your CFOs can understand how much revenues are generated for the amount invested in the outsourcing engagement.  If you are already measuring revenue growth in terms of marketing spend and you are still experiencing sluggish growth, working with a service provider may be the best solution.

Your marketing processes are sloppy and improvised.

It's true that any marketing department can throw together a promotional campaign, but often it's not the best one, especially if your staff is overworked and used to cutting corners.  Ideally, a marketing campaign is a series of activities that include brainstorming, thorough market research and repeated testing, ending up with the best product that is implemented gradually.  If your campaigns are always makeshift or poorly designed, working with an outsourced marketing provider can optimize your marketing process and maximize your resources.

Work volume is always high.

Marketing departments experience slow and busy times.  However, if you feel that you and your marketing staff are always stressed and pressured to keep up with deadlines and the constantly high volume of work, it's a good idea to hire outside help.  A marketing service provider can perform some of the tasks as well as help you keep up with marketing strategies that drive competitive advantage.  You can even hire the marketing firm to perform research and analytics for you so your staff can focus on critical projects.

Your marketing department is understaffed.

Many firms only have a few dedicated personnel to perform all marketing activities of the entire organization.  As a result, personnel may perform tasks that are outside their purview or expertise, leading to problems such as slow turnaround times and reduced productivity.  It makes sense to hire a marketing service provider either to provide additional marketing staff or perform specific marketing functions.  If you don't have the budget to hire full-time employees, like many startups and small and medium-sized businesses, you can work out an arrangement with the vendor to provide the necessary talent, resources and expertise based on your current business needs.

Despite your best efforts, you still experience poor results.

If you are seeing a consistent trend of poor results despite putting in your best efforts, it might be time to let an outside expert handle everything.  A marketing service provider is easier to work with than a full-time employee.  You can end the outsourcing engagement if you still get the same substandard results, whereas you may need to fire a full-time employee that performed poorly and deal with additional issues associated with termination. 

Marketing service providers offer a wide variety of contracts and most develop custom solutions that fit your budget and goals.  This means that you don't have to choose from ether internal or outsourced marketing; you can choose to farm out certain marketing functions gradually, staring with non-core activities and then moving on to higher-level when you feel comfortable and there is an urgent need to improve processes.

7 Great Reasons to Outsource Marketing

Companies know that they need marketing to move products and generate revenue, but few have the perfect mix of talent, expertise, technology and well-designed strategy to take marketing to the next level, improve the bottom line, and deliver consistent, high-quality results.  Some firms believe that a well-run marketing campaign requires a massive budget that only large, established organizations can afford.  On the contrary, the best outsourced marketing engagement does not have to tax your limited resources.  Besides improving marketing processes and increasing revenue growth, here are top reasons to outsource marketing:

Sourcefit Philippines, Outsourcing Blog: Consider Outsourcing Marketing
  1. Improve focus. Performing all marketing functions internally is not uncommon for larger organizations or those that have the budget for a well-run marketing department.  However, startups and firms that have limited resources and a handful of marketing staff find that all-internal marketing can be a stressful undertaking.  By outsourcing some functions to an experienced third party, you and your staff can focus on core activities and doing what you do best, like developing new products or refining your promotional strategy.
  2. Expand your audience. Internal marketing efforts may limit your marketing channels to one or two.  For example, a brick and mortar store may only rely on traditional print advertising to move stocks, while an e-commerce startup may depend only on SEO (search engine optimization) and cheap digital marketing techniques to promote their business.  Limiting your marketing channels robs you of the opportunity to reach a wider audience.  Marketing vendors are often experienced in a variety of marketing channels that can expand your reach and increase conversion.
  3. In-depth understanding of buyer behavior and market trends. Research and analytics are critical to figuring out how your customers tick, what the competition is up to, and how to outperform them.  While these are core marketing activities, many companies prefer to outsource market research and data analysis to outside experts that can do the job better and at a lower cost.
  4. Access world-class marketing capabilities. It's expensive to build a high-performing marketing department from the ground up.  Besides finding top-level talent, you need to compete for and compensate them highly, especially in certain locations.  Most SMEs and even some large organizations simply don't have the resources to do this.  Instead, they hire a marketing firm that has the high-quality staff, leading-edge technology and advanced capabilities to provide world-class results, but at a significantly lower cost.
  5. Control costs. Hiring a third party marketing firm allows organizations to divert resources to revenue-generating activities and convert fixed capital investment into variable operational expenses.  The lower cost structure that service providers offer is one of the top reasons for outsourcing marketing functions.  More savings can be achieved if the vendor is located in an  emerging economy.
  6. Optimize marketing strategies. Many firms have no solid marketing plan that delivers consistent results.  Instead of depending on your internal marketing team, it's better to hire an experienced third party that already understands your market and knows which strategies best fit your business.  Look for a service provider with a proven track record in your industry to develop and test these strategies.  If you are uncomfortable with a long-term outsourcing engagement, ask the vendor to work on a small research project or study, and build up gradually when you are satisfied with their performance.
  7. Share risk. Outsourced marketing allows companies to transfer some risks to the service provider, such as disruptions caused by new technology, fluctuations in price and demand, mergers and corporate restructuring, and poor results.  When you keep all of your marketing activities in-house, you alone are responsible for dealing with issues when they arise.  Working with a third party, on the other hand, means joint responsibility.
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