Outsourcing your marketing can help you save money, gain access to a range of valuable skills, and free up time for other activities. However, there are certain factors that need to be in place to make it successful and efficient.
Here are four questions to consider before outsourcing your marketing.
1. Do you know what you want to achieve?
Just like an internal team, an outsourced marketing team needs a clear vision and targets to hit in order to be effective. Unclear or open-ended objectives can result in misspent time and misguided strategy.
This doesn’t mean you need to knowhow to achieve your marketing goals…the marketing firm can handle that. But you should be able to articulate what success will look like in both the short-term and long-term.
It’s also important to be able to commit to the process and stick to project plans. This doesn’t mean continuing efforts that aren’t working, or that flexibility isn’t needed. (In fact, this is one of the advantages of working with a nimble outsourced team.) But continually switching priorities or backtracking decisions is a recipe for disaster, just as it would be with an internal team. It can also derail marketing efforts that take time to build, such as growing a social media following or improving search engine results.
2. Do you have someone to act as marketing point person, with the authority to make decisions?
This individual doesn’t need to be a marketing expert, but should have deep knowledge of your company’s services, culture, market, vision and goals.
Having one point of contact between your company and the outsourced team is ideal, as it streamlines communication back and forth. Depending on your business model and size, of course it may be necessary to involve more than one person.
However, it is crucial that the point person has the authority to sign off on projects completed by the outsourced team. For an outside company to try to get approvals from multiple people will likely lead to a time-draining game of telephone. The point person should either have the authority to make the decisions, or should be responsible for getting approvals from other decision-makers.
The worst case scenario—when previously approved projects are overridden—can lead to major setbacks, delays, and wasted time and money.
3. Do you have time to dedicate to marketing?
Time savings is one of the main reasons companies outsource their marketing. Still, there is a time investment involved, albeit a far smaller one, for your marketing efforts to be successful.
You can expect meetings at the beginning of the project to lay out goals and strategy, as well as regularly planned status meetings to review results. At the outset, your outsourced team will have many questions as they learn your business.
How much time you spend on an ongoing basis will largely depend on the extent of your marketing efforts, as well as how hands-on you want to be with the process. Once you’re in a proven, trusted relationship with your outsourced firm, you may decide to let them carry out individual tasks without much oversight, but you can still expect to communicate about overall progress.
Your industry and business model is also a factor. If you are in a highly technical or niche industry, or one that has many regulations and legalities, you should expect to assist your outsourced team with content generation, as well as carefully reviewing marketing materials for accuracy and compliance.
4. Are you open to new ideas?
One of the major advantages an outsourced marketing firm brings to the table is an outside perspective. Another is knowledge of the latest marketing techniques and rapidly evolving technologies. They may recommend changes to what you’re doing now in terms of marketing, or suggest exploring new areas you hadn’t considered.
Is your company accepting of change, and willing to consider new strategies?
Every company has set ways of doing things, many of which can be difficult to let go of or change. But if a “that’s the way we’ve always done it and will always do it” attitude prevails at every new suggestion, outsourced marketing will not be the best fit.
This doesn’t mean you have to give the outsourced firm carte-blanche or agree to every recommendation, especially if it’s a new partnership and you’re still building trust. It just means being open-minded to new ideas and possibilities.
This combination of fresh outside ideas and your deep company knowledge and passion can be a powerful catalyst for growth and innovation.
If you’re considering outsourcing some or all of your marketing and want more information on whether it’s the right fit, contact us today.