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Know when it’s time to outsource your marketing versus keeping it in-house

Every marketer, at some stage or another, weighs up the pros and cons of outsourcing their company marketing to an agency, versus the merits in hiring the people and capabilities to handle it all in-house.   

While there is no short and simple answer, there are a variety of factors to consider when making this decision.

Do you want a variety of specialists to work on your marketing?

It’s impossible to know everything, and one person can’t be an expert in everything marketing-related. An agency doesn’t just have expert marketers, they have experts in the different disciplines of marketing – creative design, SEO, web development, copywriting, social media, public relations and direct marketing. With an agency, you also get the added benefit of working with people who are experienced in specific industries or working across multiple industries, offering you a broader perspective of your business, outside of your industry.

What will it cost – now and over the long term?

While an in-house team might seem more cost effective, there are costs other than salaries to consider. Hiring, onboarding, remunerating, upskilling and equipping a team of in-house marketing specialists can get expensive quickly. When you hire an agency, you get the benefits of having access to all the same expertise and experience for about the same cost as one employee. What’s more, when you appoint an agency your business will not have to incur hidden costs such as recruitment fees, training, employee development and employee benefits, and work can start from the get-go.

Are your sales flat-lining?

If a business is stalling and growth is slowing down, it could be a result of poor customer service, mismanagement or ineffective marketing. No matter the reason, having the benefit of outside, expert opinion can help you kick-start growth and revitalise the business.  

Are your capabilities meeting your ambitions?

Sometimes businesses have a vision for the future that they cannot achieve with their current capabilities. It can be that there is just simply a lack of knowledge on how to achieve these targets, which is something that an agency can either discover or deliver for you.

Does your marketing strategy need a fresh perspective?

An agency can bring a different perspective and help identify areas of your business or marketing strategy that needs fine-tuning. Bringing with them an understanding of the market and competitive landscape, marketing experts can freshen up marketing materials for a more consistent look and feel, craft content that tells your brand story in a much more engaging and creative manner or identify new channels to reach a wider audience.

Do you need your strategy to be brought to life creatively?

Creativity is not just about a graphic designer updating your company’s brochures or designing new banners for your website. Creative ideas that capture attention and successfully promote your business require innovative thinking, solid conceptual skills and authenticity. Outsourced experts working on your brand will ensure your marketing strategy achieves its objectives in a way that gets attention, excites and engages your customers.

Is your sales manpower outweighing your marketing?

Many companies often employ 10 to 20 salespeople, but their marketing ‘team’ is usually only one or two people strong. Only balanced sales and marketing teams that work together can build and grow the business in the long term. Hiring the right people and insourcing marketing skills across digital, branding and PR can be costly, which is why an agency makes better financial sense.

Do you have the required marketing support systems?

Having to invest in media monitoring, digital marketing platforms and direct marketing tools can get expensive. Agencies bring with them the marketing tools and systems needed to best run, track and report on campaigns, plus their licences can offer cost benefits to clients.

Do you focus on copy or content?

Marketing right now is all about content. Quality content that gets the clicks, leads and publicity is about much more than putting pen to paper. A good marketing content creator knows exactly how to craft a message that gets noticed and convinces people to take action. It’s impossible to train people to become solid, well-rounded marketing content creators and copywriters – they need to be nurtured and exposed to response-driven marketing to hone those skills.  

All considered, if you can afford to hire a multitude of people with different skill sets – and have enough work for all of them – then an in-house marketing team would be the best choice. If you only need one aspect managed, hiring a single in-house employee works as well. If you are looking to develop a complete, top-to-bottom marketing strategy, an agency may make more sense.

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