Whether to hire an in-house digital marketer or to outsource it to a consultant or agency is a big question that almost every business must answer. Whichever route you go, this decision will have lasting ramifications on your business’ success.
Last year, I published an ebook on insourcing or outsourcing your digital marketing efforts. In that book are 55 questions that will help you determine which option is best for your business. In this post, however, I want to help you answer some of those questions.
While outsourcing your digital marketing efforts may be a tough call, there are 5 tell-tale signs that it’s likely the best solution for your business.
1. You have a tight budget
When hiring an internal digital marketing team, you have to consider the cost of digital marketing outside of the actual people you’ll need to hire to implement it. Aside from the salary, benefits, etc., for the actual employees, digital marketing requires tools, educational resources, time, and the occasional outside expertise to fill in for your internal team’s knowledge and skill gaps.
Not only can these costs add up quickly, they’re also frequently unexpected. Therefore, you can’t always factor those expenses into your budget. Outsourcing your digital marketing can help you keep a tighter reign on your budget by giving you a full digital marketing solution at a fixed cost.
2. You can only afford a small team
When it comes to budgets, employees are very often a business’ greatest expense. It’s not just the cost of payroll but the added associated costs that come with it, such as health insurance, vacations, holidays, equipment, and office space to name only a few. By outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency, you are freeing yourself from these expenses.
It’s entirely possible to gain access to an entire digital marketing team for the cost of one or two full-time employees. Granted, you won’t get the same number of man-hours, but then again, you might be surprised by how few hours a full-time employee can spend on actual strategy, once you factor in education, meetings, water cooler talk, etc.
When you outsource, you should only be paying for the time actually spent on your campaign and nothing else.
3. You lack strategy expertise
It’s actually quite common for enterprise-level businesses to hire both in-house and external marketing teams. As an agency, we often see the greatest success when we have one or more people internally to work with. We’ll set and execute the strategy and they’ll follow our lead to review, tweak, and help implement.
This is especially true with social media and content development. Quite often, these things require internal buy-in, whether that’s approving content, engaging on social media, or even discussing new ideas and direction. The implementation of the strategy can often be shared between the internal and external team, balancing the strengths and weaknesses of each.
4. You want greater accountability
As an agency, I can tell you that we take every success and failure personally. Our success as a company is tied directly to our clients’ success. We know that if we fail, that means the loss of tens of thousands of dollars of future business.
While hired employees can be very loyal and dedicated, there isn’t quite the same performance pressure as there is on an external agency. Sure they want to keep their job, but they also know that the work they do, as well as time invested, is much more tangible to those they report to.
Agencies have to take extra efforts to prove the value of what they do because they know that firing an agency is far easier than firing an employee.
5. You want to go big
Face it, sometimes you just want to go big with your digital marketing efforts. Hiring internally means you have to run job ads, interview candidates, and cross your fingers that every new hire knows as much as they say they do.
Agencies, however, already have the staff, tools, skill, and knowledge to make that happen. Not only that, but because their team is already accustomed to working together, they are adept at assessing your needs quickly, developing a strategy, and then executing that strategy in a fraction of the time of an internal team.
When you want to succeed…
Outsourcing your digital marketing efforts doesn’t guarantee success, but it does allow for a lot of benefits that you can’t get with an internal team. The five criteria above are a good benchmark to help you know when outsourcing will benefit your business.
Unfortunately, however, a lot of companies handicap their own efforts by not considering outsourcing. There are definitely benefits to keeping an internal team, but make sure you’re not holding yourself back by not considering all valuable options.
The goal isn’t to simply outsource your marketing efforts. It’s to find what will give you the biggest victory with the highest ROI. If you’re looking to take your digital marketing to the next level, there’s a good chance that outsourcing can give you the boost you’re looking for.