10 Reasons To Outsource (Some) Marketing (6-10)
Previously, we looked at 5 of 10 reasons why you might consider outsourcing some of your marketing to an agency. In that last installment we explored factors such as specialized expertise, bandwidth, outside perspective, education, and R&D as potential reasons to outsource.
Well, in this installment, we look at 5 more reasons you should consider outsourcing some part of your marketing to an agency. Now, whether this means outsourcing your SEO, PPC, or affiliate management is up to you to decide. After all, you know your business better than anyone else and only you can judge how much weight each of these factors carry within the context of your business.
6. Maintaining Best Practices
An agency’s expertise, moreover, goes beyond the latest and ground-breaking. It also extends to what is possible, and what’s advisable — and there’s a big difference.
For example, the laws might let you make all kinds of claims in your TV ads, but that doesn’t mean that your customers will accept you making those claims. Similarly, just because you can blast everyone with an email address in your database doesn’t mean you should.
Consider the controversial Motrin Moms commercial. Here, Motrin tried peddling pain killers to moms by trying to commiserate with the aches and pains they get from wearing their babies. Instead, they got a backlash. If Motrin’s agency of record (Taxi of NYC) had done its job, they would’ve either advised against calling baby-wearing a fashion statement, or not suggested in the first place. It ran against best-practices insofar as it offended not only potential viewers, but the target market audience of the ad spot itself.
When you work with a credible agency, you get more than their expertise. You get their insight and experience. They’ll help you understand what’s kosher and what’s not, and that can help you carry your marketing dollars much, much further.
7. Collaboration of Competitive Advantages
So Heinrich Moritz ChalybÃ¤us had a take on Hegel’s dialectics where the thesis gives rise to an antithesis, the two collide, and the result is a synthesis. Well, working with agencies can often help you refine your marketing strategy in a similar way.
You know your industry and business, and what works and doesn’t work internally. Agencies know their channel inside out, including best practices.
But just as they challenge you to rethink your position and push the envelope, you can challenge them. They might help you learn and understand their channel, but you’ll help them learn and understand your industry.
The result will often be that both of you will end up working more efficiently. For example, just as you might revise your brand guidelines so that your ad agency can roll out an ad campaign that will actually resonate with consumers, by understanding your supplier/vendors, and competition, your SEO agency might find new and powerful link-building opportunities.
The point is that being forced to re-examine your position from a new vantage point often enriches our perspective. But when we’re forced to re-examine that vantage point from the perspective of someone with a similar goal (increasing your sales), we often discover or realize new, more efficient and profitable ways of doing business.
8. Overcome Internal Politics
One of the things that slows down many organizations is internal diplomacy. Different departments often compete for resources, and sometimes, the wrong priorities get pushed to the top of the to-do list, while revenue generating activities get pushed down the list because they haven’t even had a chance to prove themselves.
When a project is outsourced it is often freed from internal politics. An external entity is heading it up and able to plan and execute it with less interference from internal stakeholders. After all, once an agency has been contracted to undertake a project, that project has already received a fast-tracked rubber stamp.
9. Gatekeeping Projects
Just as passing some project off to an agency is like giving them a fast-track rubber stamp, involving an agency in some project creates a de facto gatekeeper for that project. Essentially, that agency has one reason for living vis-Ã -vis your company: to roll out that PPC campaign, ad campaign, website, etc.
Your agency has no other purpose other than to execute whatever it is you have hired them to. This means that the project will be broken down into deliverables, and those deliverables will be managed independently of the daily distraction and exigencies of running a business. So just as internal politics are less likely to slow any given outsourced project, so are all the other unforeseen hitches that suck up your internal bandwidth.
10. Culture & Skill Set
The last reason why it might make sense to outsource some part of your marketing comes down to a blend of expertise (#1) and collaboration (#7). Basically, every company has its own unique culture and excels in some special regard (even agencies).
This is why Microsoft hired a Mac to take over their advertising. They needed an agency that wasn’t only known for making brands hip, but one that used their competitor’s products. That’s because that would be an agency that understood the real appeal of Apple products, and could find ways to not only make Microsoft products look hip, but look hip to users that were hip and already using Apple products.
On the cultural side of the coin, it’s a no brainer: every organization is a unique blend of mandate, industry, employees, and management, and that manifests in very unique ways of doing things.
On the skill set side of things, every company maximizes productivity in different ways. For example, two competing manufacturers might have very different ways of maximizing profitability. One might minimize manufacturing costs, and the other might have a more efficient and responsive supply chain. The point is that both can probably learn something from the other.
Well, agencies are organizations that live and die by two sets of criteria: results and reporting. Agencies have to both produce results and be able to report them in a way where their value as partner is clear and evident. Different agencies also have different cultures and ways of approaching these criteria.
So not only will your marketing department learn how to better measure the performance of any given marketing activity, but they’ll gain new perspective on priorities. And that’s something that will not only better inform their internal decisions, but help them better manage the expectation of the other internal stakeholders and departments that they interact with.
To Outsource Or Not To Outsource
When it comes down to tackling any marketing channel, the first question that your business should ask itself is: how important is this channel to your core business. If it’s something you just want to test out for a bit, then hiring an agency for the short term is probably the way to go. If it’s something that promises to be a consistent source of revenue, then you’ll probably want a relatively savvy internal marketing staff providing goals and guidelines to a trusted, third-party agency that understands your business model and has a short, medium, and long-term strategy in place that you’ve approved.
However, if some channel generates the majority of your sales (or close to it), then you might want to consider having an internal team dedicated to just that channel. Here we’re probably talking more about something like SEO, PPC, or social media, than advertising. But the point is that you don’t want to outsource the majority of your revenue.
That said, you may still choose to maintain an agency on retainer for advanced projects or to take on projects where your internal team doesn’t have the bandwidth. After all, if some channel drives a significant proportion of your sales, you want to ensure that the channel is working full-steam at all times, and having a trusted and proven agency in reserve to pick up slack when your own team is overloaded is more than a marketing decision — it’s a management one.
About CT Moore
A former Staff Editor here at Revenews.com, CT Moore is a recovering agency hack with over 8 years experience leveraging search and social media to help brands meet their business goals online. By day, he runs Socialed, a digital consultancy that provides strategy to both SMBs and enterprise level companies in the tech, entertainment and travel industries. He also heads up Search and Social at Publikit, a boutiqe web dev agency. CT has worked with both start-ups and multinational brands alike, including Acquisio, Microsoft Canada, and Luxury Retreats. CT is also an accomplished blogger, podcaster, and speaker who educates groups and companies on how they can effectively leverage different online channels. You can read his personal blog here.