Outsourced Marketing: Is it the Right Move for Your Business?
Whether you’re running a small business or a brand-new startup, marketing efforts can quickly take a backseat to other pressing issues that pop up on the daily.
Managing multiple budgets with limited time is quite stressful. Your business's operations can come to a standstill without customers, which only adds pressure. So in between meetings, it’s again time to start thinking of ways to keep the customers rolling in—for your sanity’s sake.
You have two main choices. Outsourced marketing or building out an in-house team.
In this blog, we’re going to zero in on each option, comparing the two so you can understand what might be the best choice to meet your business needs. Depending on where you’re at, it might even be a bit of both. So let’s get into it.
Building an In-House Marketing Team
If you think hiring an entire staff of marketing professionals would be an intimidating undertaking, you’d be correct.
To start, you need graphic designers, copywriters, and social media experts. Then you’ll need someone to manage them unless you plan on adding that to your growing list of responsibilities. Sure, you can start small and work your way up as your business grows. You always have the option to bring more hands on deck.
But don’t get overwhelmed just yet. While this group of professionals can be tricky to form, the results they can yield could be tremendous for your bottom line—if done correctly.
What to Expect from an In-House Marketing Team
One of the main benefits of building an in-house marketing team is each member plays an important role in your business's success (or failure). This means they are fully dedicated to performing to the best of their abilities day in and day out.
They’ll also develop a deep understanding of your products, services, and the target audience they will be producing promotional materials for each day. They won’t be bouncing around between different clients, or having to send you a question about how a certain feature works. Over time, they will develop relationships with the other departments (if you have them), making seamless transitions within each new campaign.
While having an in-house marketing team can offer some good benefits, there are also some notable drawbacks that we need to discuss.
A Basic In-House Marketing Team Costs How Much?
First, finding talent that suits your business model can be a huge task within itself. Job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed have made it easy to post jobs, but the barrier to entry is much easier for anyone and everyone to flood you with applications. Wading through all of these to find your perfect candidate will take loads of time and effort.
Let’s say you’ve found your perfect team members. Now it’s time to get them paid. Here are some average rates for you to consider:
- Graphic designer……….…...…$52,767
- Copywriter……………...…....…. $51,271
- Paid Search Specialist….....…$54,690
- Social Media Expert……....…..$46,858
So, for only four foundational marketing team members, you’re looking at around $205,586 annually.
This average price doesn’t include extra benefits, such as insurance plans, paid time off, parental leave, or retirement packages. These features could make or break the decision of your ideal candidates. Not to mention, these extra expenses could also break the business’s bank.
Can you structure a team for less than $200k per year? Sure. But you must be careful as quality can start to fade with candidates willing to accept lower wages. And don’t hire a junior candidate if you don’t have someone to help train and guide them. It may seem like a money saver upfront, but it will ultimately cost more in the long run if you expect them to perform as a seasoned professional.
You can’t forget about marketing software and platforms the team will need to perform their duties. Think of systems for:
- Project Management (Jira)
- Design Programs (Canva)
- Social Media Management (SocialHP)
- Customer Relation Management (HubSpot)
- Search Engine Optimization Tools (Ahrefs)
And while these programs are not cheap, they are necessary for running successful marketing campaigns.
Once you have your A-team assembled and the software they need, the onboarding begins. It will take 3 to 6 months for the team to gel and get into a “marketing rhythm.” Agencies can’t avoid this phase either, though if you decide to go the outsourced marketing route, their team would be ready for action.
Speaking of which, let’s see what outsourced marketing could do for these major in-house headaches.
Third-Party Agency Outsourced Marketing
While outsourcing your marketing efforts to a third-party agency may seem easier, would it yield the same (or better) results than an in-house team?
By outsourcing, you can connect with specialized teams in your specific industry, so they are ready to hit the ground running. You’ll instantly open a marketing door to a full team of industry experts who should already have a:
- Proven process they follow
- Track record of excellent client results
- Team that works together quickly and efficiently
Since they have likely spent years refining their processes, you can forgo the typical 3 to 6 months of growing pains when you start from scratch. They also come equipped with their own software platforms to handle all the backend processes for you—saving you money to spend in other areas.
Agencies work on either a monthly retainer, an as-needed, or an ongoing basis. This flexibility allows you to decide what works best for your current business needs, without being locked into a long-term contract if things don’t work out as planned.
You’ll have access to tap into their collective expertise and knowledge to outperform the tricky marketing challenges. Of course, as the client, you will always have an ultimate say in what gets published, but the door will be open for dropping in ideas here and there for the team to expand upon.
Is Outsourced Marketing the Right Move for You?
Now that you know what outsourcing can bring to the table, how do you know if it’s the best choice for you?
Outsourced marketing is great, if you…
- Are a startup or small business with a tight budget
- Want to avoid the onboarding and hiring headaches
- Are strapped for time and want a team ready to go
- Want your marketing immediately in the hands of experts
- Need to save money to allocate to other important areas
These are just a few examples to strongly consider outsourced marketing. But does it mean any agency will work for your wants, needs, and budgets? Not exactly.
With all the great benefits outsourced marketing comes with, you should be extra diligent in your search for an agency partner. As with personality traits, agencies come in many different varieties. Therefore, you must do plenty of research before making a final decision.
Set as many meetings as you need. Ask as many questions as you want. It’s your company’s future, and the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Communication is the key to working successfully with any marketing agency. Of course, it goes both ways, so be vocal and tell them exactly what you are looking for. Set expectations and realistic goals upfront to ensure everyone is on the same page.
With that said, outsourced marketing can be a great option if you fall into any of the above categories. Just remember to vet each agency carefully to get the most out of your future marketing projects.
What About a Hybrid Approach?
If you already have an in-house marketing team but are consistently running behind schedule, having to make your team members work overtime, or struggling to maintain growth, outsourcing part of the work to an agency could be a great option.
You don’t have to outsource your entire marketing plan, though. You can choose what areas you need help in, such as:
- HubSpot excellence and digital marketing
- Content marketing and strategy
- Paid search and social media advertising
- Overall strategy
- And much more
It could even be on an “as needed” basis. Having the pros at your fingertips could be a massive advantage, especially if you have important deadlines coming up and you want to take some of the stress off of your internal team.
So the next time your team is feeling down, give them a boost by shuffling some projects over to a proven and capable marketing agency.
While each option has its unique advantages, it’s clear that outsourced marketing is the heavy-handed favorite—particularly among startups and small businesses. If you have a massive budget and the required time to burn, then building an in-house marketing team could be the right choice for you. But outsourcing is the way to go if you want to save loads of cash and immediately open the door to a team of marketing experts, eager to get to work.
Ready to kick off your agency search? Our team of professionals is ready to hit the ground running and answer any questions you may have. Drop us a line and let us know how we can help you reach your marketing goals today.