In 2021, not doing any marketing for your company can be a death sentence. Without a proper team in place (internally or externally) to help your efforts, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow and scale, leaving you stagnant and surpassed by your competitors.
There are a lot of moving pieces involved with creating and executing a comprehensive marketing strategy, and it’s a lot manage if you don’t have a team in place.
Luckily you have options, and outsourcing is one of them. But is it the right thing to do for your situation? In this post, we will discuss what options you have and the benefits and downsides of each so you can make an informed decision.
B2B Marketing Options
So, what are your options? Before determining if outsourcing is right for you, it’s important to understand the different ways companies address their marketing needs. In general, there are three possibilities:
In-house marketing department
Outsourcing to an agency
A hybrid model that incorporates both methods
While these are all effective methods, there are pros and cons to each option. Let’s discuss them in more detail so you can see which ones will work for your situation and which ones to avoid.
In-house marketing departments are dedicated teams that handle the marketing for your company. They are staffed directly by the organization and because of that, you get to custom tailor your team from the ground up.
In-house marketing teams generally have a deeper understanding of the complexities of your company.
You will have a direct line of communication to your team. If you need something done, they are down the hall (or a quick Zoom meeting away.)
Your company’s marketing campaigns are always the top priority. They will have a singular focus on your current goals.
The cost of an internal team is much higher than hiring an agency. These people are employed by your company directly, which means each team member has a salary, benefits, equipment, etc. that you must account for in the budget.
It is difficult, especially in today’s market, to find multiple people whose skillsets complement each other and line up with your business strategy. If you don’t have that, there will be knowledge and skill gaps that need to be addressed.
It will take much longer to get an internal team up and running. If you already have a team in place and are looking to expand, the new hires will require training – which is a time-consuming process.
Retention is challenging. Because you are asking your team to handle specific tasks, there must be a clear career path and potential for growth laid out for them. If not, you’ll constantly have to find replacements.
In general, if you have the time, budget and resources to build your marketing team how you see fit, then this is a good option for you. This approach is taken by larger companies that have all three factors available, but if you are a small or mid-sized company then outsourcing is your best bet.
Outsourcing to an Agency
Marketing agencies are designed to jump in and hit the ground running. They are fully assembled teams that have skillsets in all areas of marketing. They specialize in staying up to date on marketing, sales and technology trends, so you know that your marketing operation will be drawing on the latest tools and best practices.
You gain instant access to a dedicated team of industry experts. After a brief onboarding period, the agency will be able to start work immediately because they already have systems and processes in place to handle a wide variety of marketing tasks.
A fresh set of eyes on your ideas can go a long way. By consulting with agencies, you can benefit from a different approach and an outside perspective that you may not have considered previously.
Compared to hiring an entire team, agencies are a bargain. Hiring one expert in one specific marketing sector could cost the same as hiring an entire group of experts.
Agencies are not involved in the day-to-day of your company, so it’ll take a little bit of time to truly understand the ins-and-outs of your . Luckily, they will be actively working on projects as they get up to speed.
You will need someone on your team who understands marketing concepts that will be able to communicate back and forth with the agency.
You are not their only client. They prioritize responsiveness and communicate effectively, but there may be times when even an agency is stretched thin. At this point, response times might be slower than with an in-house employee, but not by a lot.
This is a great option for you if you are starting your marketing initiatives from scratch. However, if you already have a team in place and are looking for a cost-effective boost, then the hybrid model may be the way to go.
The Hybrid Model
The hybrid model is exactly how it sounds: a collaboration of your in-house marketing team and an outside agency. Don’t think of it as replacing your current team; think of it as adding more teammates to your roster. This approach shares many of the same pros and cons we’ve discussed, but the hybrid model also presents a new set of positives and negatives to be aware of.
You can take a “divide and conquer” approach. If there is a task that your internal team is better suited to handle, assign it to them. If your team is lacking in a certain department, have the agency handle it. Either way, your bases are covered.
There are development opportunities available. Agencies share skills, resources and tools which are mutually beneficial and will help strengthen an already established team.
As your business grows and evolves, you can adjust your scope of work with the agency as needed. They are flexible companies so you should use this to your strategic advantage by asking for more help or projects as necessary, or by scaling back when they aren’t necessary at the time.
You will essentially have to manage two separate teams and get them to act as one. In these cases, it’s best to have a central point of contact who can collaborate with both sides so everyone is on the same page.
There is some potential for a “too many cooks” situation. Depending on the breakdown of internal vs. external team members, there may be conflict over direction and approach to certain marketing efforts. While this is a rare occurrence, it is something that should be taken into consideration.
Which One is Right for You?
That’s ultimately your decision to make, but we hope that this blog post helped guide your decision. For most small businesses and startups, building out an internal team is not a financially feasible option. That’s where agencies like us come into play. We’ll work with you to establish an optimized marketing plan that works for your specific needs.
Check out some of our previous projects to see how we’ve helped companies in the same position as you. If you feel like you are ready to take that next step and start up a hybrid or outsourced marketing program, we are more than equipped to help you. Reach out today and let’s get this collaboration started.