Traditionally, marketing is handled by an in-house marketing department or team. But as business practices evolve, more companies are outsourcing their marketing tasks. Outsourced marketing offers many advantages over a traditional in-house marketing department.
What does marketing outsourcing entail? What marketing services can be outsourced to marketing firms? What advantages does outsourcing marketing functions offer? How do you outsource your marketing services?
This marketing outsourcing guide will answer these questions. At the end of this article, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your business goals.
Should You Outsource Your Marketing?
Marketing outsourcing means contracting some or all of your business marketing services to a specialized third-party firm or freelancers.
By outsourcing your marketing services, you benefit from the expertise and resources of external specialists. You may want to outsource your marketing services if:
- You need more people to work on a project but don’t want to hire more employees.
- Your project needs particular expertise, but you don’t have skilled experts in the relevant subject matter.
- You don’t have the time to devote to a marketing plan or project, but this is needed to improve the quality and consistency of your marketing.
Pros of outsourcing marketing
Outsourcing your marketing activities to expert marketing firms or freelancers offers the following advantages:
- Get expertise. Outsourcing your marketing activities gives you access to a team of marketing professionals specializing in various areas.
- Cost savings. When outsourcing, you only engage the specific professionals you need. This makes marketing outsourcing more cost-effective than staffing a full-time dedicated marketing team in-house. You also avoid investing in expensive marketing tools.
- Save time. Outsourcing your marketing activities frees up time to focus on your business.
- Infusion of new ideas. The outsourced marketing team brings an outsider’s perspective to your business, injecting exciting ideas and strategies.
Cons of outsourcing marketing
While marketing outsourcing offers many benefits, it has a few potential disadvantages. These include:
- Potential loss of control. You may lose control over the marketing process when you outsource marketing activities.
- Possible miscommunications. A lack of on-site access to the team may make managing communication with an outsourced team more challenging. Thus, miscommunications could occur, especially if you do not set clear expectations.
What Marketing Services Can Be Outsourced?
Marketing services commonly outsourced include:
Content marketing involves consistently creating and sharing valuable content to attract and retain a specific audience.
Content marketing is a great way to build a strong relationship with your target audience and generate leads. However, consistently creating and delivering high-quality content that resonates with your target audience is difficult.
That is where outsourcing content marketing comes in. When you outsource this marketing element to specialists, they can:
- Increase the quality of your content, ensuring you deliver relevant and engaging content for your target audience.
- Increase the quantity of your content output and ensure you deliver content more regularly.
- Streamline your content creation process.
- Position you as a thought leader in your industry.
- Put in place search engine optimization techniques to increase organic traffic.
- Offer new insights, like content format and delivery platforms, to help increase your reach and maximize your content marketing efforts.
A marketing strategy is a business’s plan to reach its prospective customers and turn them into customers of its products or services. A solid marketing strategy would cater to all stages of the buyer’s journey, from lead generation to email workflows and more.
Designing a solid marketing strategy requires much work and time and may be best left to marketing experts. When you outsource developing your marketing strategy, the specialists can:
- Help identify trends in the market so you can stay ahead of your competitors.
- Design great buyer personas to help you understand your customers and their needs.
- Map your campaigns to your customers’ needs.
- Develop successful lead-generation tactics and workflows that help you attract prospects and nurture their interest.
Marketing analytics is the process of using data to analyze the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
Tracking marketing data and extracting insights for improving marketing efforts can be time-consuming and expensive. So, it could be more profitable to outsource this marketing element to specialists.
The specialists would:
- Track relevant marketing data.
- Help you interpret data better.
- Help you make better data-driven decisions.
- Suggest marketing solutions that fit your budget.
Email marketing entails sending promotional messages to your customers via email. Email marketing can help you connect with your customers in a personalized way toward increasing sales.
However, effective email campaigns involve more than drafting the right message. It also involves sending it to the right people at the right time and following up with appropriate responses.
If you lack the time and expertise to carry out solid email marketing, you will benefit by outsourcing it to experts. They’ll help you:
- Increase personalization to increase the bond between you and your customers.
- Increase automation based on users’ behavior.
- Streamline email delivery and timing.
- Ensure you comply with all regulations (regarding unsolicited emails or spam, unsubscribes, etc.).
Influencer marketing involves collaborating with an online influencer to help you market your product or service. This strategy can increase brand awareness and drive more traffic to your platform and business.
For influencer marketing to succeed, you must find the right influencers (those trusted by your target audience), deal with all legal requirements, and so on.
With the work involved, you may be better served outsourcing this marketing element to people who specialize in dealing with influencers. Outsourcing influencer marketing can help you:
- Attract better influencers.
- Connect with a wider audience.
- Establish your brand as trustworthy and credible.
- Avoid potential legal troubles with contracted influencers.
How To Outsource Marketing
The following six steps will help you get the most out of your marketing outsourcing efforts.
1. Specify your marketing needs
If you don’t know what you want, you won’t know who can help you achieve it. So, the first step when outsourcing marketing services is to define your goals.
Lay out your business’ marketing requirements and priorities. Ask yourself questions like: What do I want to achieve? How do I want to grow my business? What marketing initiatives are most important to me right now?
Once you have laid out your goals, you can search for a marketing team.
If you already have a marketing department, look at their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you consider how the outsourced team will complement rather than replace your in-house team.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: Never search for an outsourced marketing team when you have not defined your goals. Otherwise, the team you get may not adequately address your needs.
2. Decide between hiring a marketing agency vs. freelance marketers
After understanding your goals and the in-house marketing department’s capabilities, you are not yet ready to search for outsourced marketing professionals to complement your in-house team.
You’ll still have to decide between using a marketing agency or freelance marketers. While the right agency or freelancers can both help you achieve your goals, they differ in many ways.
The pros and cons of hiring an agency vs. freelancers are as follows:
Marketing professionals are not created equal. For example, some specialize in specific industries, while some are more experienced with certain marketing channels. So, before hiring freelancers or an agency, ensure you know what you need. Have relevant questions ready when you interview them. (To help narrow down your list of candidates, consider conducting virtual screening interviews. You can read about great resources for conducting virtual screening interviews here.)
You should also prepare a test for the candidates to gauge their capabilities. This way, you’ll know you are hiring freelancers or an agency that can help you achieve your goals.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: While pre-hire testing helps you get competent candidates, never go overboard with testing. The amount of time and effort spent often doesn’t match up to the amount of useful information gleaned and the delay in hiring—and as people generally hate tests, many don’t perform at their best on them.
3. Establish your budget
Setting your budget is an important step. It tells you what your limitations are so you can narrow down potential freelancers to those that fit your budget more quickly.
Your budget may affect how long you’ll work with the freelance marketers or marketing agency or how many professionals you can hire. A limited budget may make you prioritize your marketing efforts.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: While setting your budget, try not to be inflexible. Instead, be ready to pay what’s needed to take advantage of opportunities.
4. Provide clear instructions
Hiring the best marketing agency or freelance marketers is not enough if you do not give them clear instructions.
After finding your outsourced marketing team, provide as much information as possible for all aspects of the marketing campaign. You could even give them samples of what you’re envisioning. This helps you avoid misunderstandings.
When providing instructions, setting expectations that can be measured is essential. This helps you track progress and stay on course. For example, acquire 100 new customers in the first 10 days.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: Do not set goals that can’t be measured.
5. Collaborate with the team
After giving the outsourced marketer specifics on what you want, you shouldn’t leave them completely on their own. Instead, you should collaborate with them as you would in-house.
The outsourced marketer may be a third-party expert but treat them as a member of your team. The more the outsourced marketer integrates with your team, the more you can take advantage of their specialized knowledge and evolve as a brand.
It is advisable to actively listen to the outsourced team’s feedback and be open to trying what they suggest, even if you hadn’t previously considered it. Being open-minded is essential to solving problems and progressing as a business.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: Do not become obsessed with a single strategy. Instead, be open-minded and think outside the box.
6. Monitor progress
Without measuring progress, you won’t know how well you are doing. Thus, while giving the outsourced marketing team room to do its job is important, you should still keep an eye on them. You can do this by checking for the completion of milestones and goals.
Marketing outsourcing don’t: Do not micromanage while monitoring progress. Unnecessary or too much oversight wears the team out and discourages creativity and critical thinking.
Outsourcing marketing activities can benefit your business in many ways, including saving you time and money and getting the expertise and fresh perspective needed to fuel your business growth.
Regardless of the marketing services you choose to outsource, the six steps discussed above will help you succeed.
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