Often small and medium sized organizations are faced with the questions – To market, or not to market. Is it better to hire a Marketing Director and staff or should we put our trust in outsourcing it to an outside firm? When faced with this quandary, often companies decisions are swayed by several prominent myths about outsourcing marketing.
This paper will debunk these myths so you can make a better, informed decision. So, let’s tackle the five most common myths about outsourcing.
- Outsourcing is Way More Expensive
To be fair, results oriented outsourced professional marketing is not cheap. You are looking at paying either a monthly retainer, hourly rate or on a project basis. More than likely it would cost more than hiring your own staff. However, putting together your own internal department is no cake walk. Finding the right players is going to take time and effort, as these people are in high demand and command salaries that are higher than you may anticipate.
Then there will be a period of working out the kinks in creating a work system, learning your product and brand, and familiarizing themselves with your tools, purchasing and learning marketing automation systems. If all goes well, it will take months to build a consistent, productive and successful team. But, what if things don’t go well?
Then, there is the hidden costs of employing people. You have a host of benefits, medical/dental insurance, vacations, holidays, sick time, 401K’s, etc. You can’t forget to factor in these very real costs of doing business. As the bigger picture comes into focus, you may start to see outsourcing as a bargain. You get experienced, skilled teams working on your projects from day one. The integrity of your brand can’t afford start up problems and growing pains, can it?
- Managing a Contractor Will Be Difficult A marketing vendor may actually be easier for you to manage. They are in business to serve you and your needs. After all, you are the customer. In your very first discussion, the vendor will ask you:
- what services that you are looking for
- what you hope to accomplish
- the time frame of your need
- will accumulate all of the pertinent details of your need.
The vendor will then explain how they work, the average time frame for various types of projects, and cover off on what they need from you, as well as the options for payment. You can then ask questions, probing areas that of concern or that you don’t fully understand. As in any business transaction, if the vendor wants to do the job, he will need to please his customer.
- A Marketing Vendor Will Take More Time to do The Job
Many people have this perception, but it actually will save you time and energy which you can focus on other areas of your business that need your attention. At the beginning of each campaign, you team up with the vendor to lay out a plan of action, realistic expectations and a timeline. This is a time for sharing ideas, making suggestions and receiving valuable feedback from the agency. Once a plan is agreed upon, you simply leave the marketing to them.
At the end of the campaign, you meet again and discuss the results, what went right and/or wrong, how the plan could have been tweaked to create even better results. Eventually, each party will learn more about each other and develop a solid understanding of how to minimize mistakes and to work successfully with each other. It is a growth experience, just as it would be with an inhouse team.
- We Won’t Get the Results We Need or Expect As with any business endeavor, there is always risk involved. Four age old adages apply here:
- You have to be in the game to win it
- It takes money to make money
- You don’t know unless you try
- Nothing ventured, nothing gained
To grow your business, you need a marketing strategy to be implemented. Vendors with a proven track record are your best bet to get the results you are seeking. Their staffs are experienced pros armed with the latest technology to make your needs a reality.
- A Marketing Firm Won’t Understand Us
Marketing vendors are in the business of acclimating to various companies, industries, and markets. It is what they do for a living. One look at their client portfolio and you will easily be able to see how adaptable they are to different types of clients and their respective industries, markets and special needs. The best way to put this concern to bed is to ask them outright what experience they have with your special needs.
If they don’t have exactly that experience, ask them about jobs they’ve done where they were successful in adapting to new circumstances. If you are still unsure, ask for some references where you can speak directly to their clients. Ask their client how well they adapted to their special needs. This is an important part of the business they are in. In their business, you either adapt or you die.
Once you are able to put these myths behind you, you will be able to find the “right” firm for you. You will be able to make a smarter decision on which vendor will be able to provide you with a comfortable working relationship, a results oriented plan of action and put you on track for a successful long term, mutually beneficial partnership.
Famous Last Words
“In the long run, outsourcing is another form of trade that benefits the U.S. economy by giving us cheaper ways to do things.”
– Janet Yellen – Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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To hear the rantings of other voices on the same subject:
Seven Myths About Outsourcing by Phanish Puranam and Kannan Srikanth