Why Outsource Marketing to A Marketing Agency?

I will answer the following questions:

  1. What are the benefits of hiring a marketing agency?
  2. Why hire a digital marketing agency?
  3. Why should I outsource marketing?

Marketing is increasingly responsible for more and more. Teams are feeling strapped with limited resources, tight budgets, and there isn’t adequate training available. If you keep your entire marketing team in-house, you could wind up spending your entire budget on payroll and still not have all the skill sets needed.  On the other hand, if you outsource all of your marketing, quality, and control become concerns. All industries are struggling with this dilemma, and it’s something that every company, manager, and employee should weigh carefully.

But there is a real crisis happening in the marketing industry.

In 2018, the United States needs 230,000 more people with marketing skills. Marketing is essential for any company that wants to grow. Small businesses may not have resources for a full-time marketing hire, but they still need these skills—which range from branding, social media and digital marketing, to SEO and website development. Given how critical marketing skills are across sectors, I was surprised to find that the U.S. has a national shortage of people with marketing skills.

Deciding whether to hire in-house marketers or a marketing agency require research and analysis. If you’re on the fence, keep reading my eight reasons to consider outsourcing some or all of your marketing activities and programs.

 

1. You Get More Than Just Marketing Expertise

What if you could have predictable revenue growth? An effective marketing system that generated and nurtured sales leads? By outsourcing some of your marketing, you get marketing talent, proven strategies, shared experiences, and access to advanced marketing technology. You can seamlessly synchronize the end-to-end customer experience, and touch each stage of the buying cycle with agile, timely, and relevant marketing campaigns.

The marketing skills gap is very real. 75% of marketers say their lack of skills is impacting revenue in some way, and 74% say it’s contributing to misalignment between the marketing and sales teams, according to Oracle. The game is changing, and marketers need to master the new rules. An agency helps you bridge this gap and provides a team of diverse people that have the education and the relevant experience.

In a startup or small businesses, the head of marketing is wearing a lot of hats. And they just can’t do it all, nor should they. Hire a good marketing agency and you get access to versatile professionals with proven backgrounds in business strategy, marketing, content marketing, communications, business strategy, graphic design, web design, internet marketing, and SEO. With a senior-level “partner” under one roof that can provide you a uniquely holistic approach that allows you to launch multidisciplinary campaigns with one “highly qualified agency” being completely accountable for development through deployment.   

 

2. You Want To Be Nimble and Manage Costs

Hiring a marketing agency is much less than the cost of one full-time marketing executive You get an entire team of marketing experts, and can expect cheaper ad costs, software costs, among others costs.

Few companies appear to possess strong internal marketing leader succession plan.  72% of CMO appointments in Q1 & Q2 were external hires and in the technology industry, 89% were external appointments, according to Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) report.

Outsourcing marketing teams are very common among startup and small businesses companies. This practice is especially good for a product based businesses, since forming a marketing team with talents that have the same level of competence as the ones that work for marketing agencies can cost well over six figures per year, which is the price that most of the smaller companies are not able to pay. Additionally, venture capital firms want to keep the funded companies nimble and reduce the burden of layoffs during uncertain times.

Marketing agency costs are much lower, and their rate is usually much smaller than one executive salary. For this price startup companies get an experienced team of marketing experts, which is definitely a high value.

Fixed cost is huge. People, systems, and facilities account for the largest part of the internal marketing budget. And the cost of a bad hire can easily cost a company over $200,000 (Calculate it here).

By comparison, marketing agency resources don’t need a full-time salary, benefits, and other overhead. When you hire a good marketing agency, that team should provide a wide-range of strategic, tactical, and technology skills.

Not only does outsourcing save money in salaries and overhead, but the outsourcing partner can also save you money in direct purchases on marketing programs (e.g., printing, media buys, advertising, etc.). By leveraging their suppliers, a good outsourcing partner can save a company 10 – 30% in their overall marketing spending.  

 

3. You Get Access to the Latest Technology

Let’s face it marketing technology is expensive when you add-up all that is included in a marketing and sales stack (often called MARTECH). This cost can easily range over $10,000 per month.

Marketing departments are often technology-deprived, or they have a mixed assortment of incompatible marketing technologies. While companies have access to over 5,000 marketing technologies available to them, how do they know which ones to pick? And it’s often the case that marketing organizations are at the bottom of the IT department’s priority list, so there might be a lack of support and guidance. I have seen marketing technology take up 65% of the total IT budget.

Marketing Technology Landscape

Marketing tools increase efficiency, productivity, and performance. There are tools you can find for free or of little cost, but often they are limited to producing results. But performance-driven agencies give you access to premium-level services, software, and analytical data reports.

Also, consider that advanced marketing automation tools do not provide marketing services. They require a professional who can set up the technology, tune the system, interpret marketing data, and make smart decisions to achieve results.

 

4. Your Existing Staff Becomes More Efficient

Some companies try to get around hiring in-house marketers, social media personnel, content writers, and SEO experts by just having existing employees pick up the slack. Dumping the marketing burden onto existing employees (who may or may not be skilled in the area) increases the likelihood of burnout and reduces productivity in the long run. As well as, your marketing efforts will lack consistency and effectiveness even if they have all the necessary training.

inhouse vs agency

If you outsource some of your marketing needs, you maintain momentum with critical projects – they’ll never fall by the wayside, drop down the priority list, or become forgotten. And when employees leave the company, they will most likely take the project assets with them (in the form of tribal knowledge). When you outsource your marketing activities, you have one centralized team as your partner.

 

5. You Don’t Need to Train Marketing Agencies

Finding, acquiring, training, and supporting direct hires is expensive.  In addition to requiring long and sometimes expensive training, entry level marketing personnel usually do not get attached to their first position within the company. When they gain more experience in the industry, most of the experts tend to look for another position, often in different companies. It is also important to know that currently, with the rise of digital marketing, there’s a lack of qualified and experienced marketing staff, so marketing sector employees often get a lot of good offers from other enterprises. High employee turnover rates can affect a company’s business negative way since it requires additional time and funds to hire and train new experts.

The average cost-per-hire is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new Human Capital Benchmarking Report.

CMO tenure

It’s the marketing leader’s job to produce results, including drive quality sales leads, increase website traffic, build followers and subscribers, yet they often lack the skills, technologies, and strategies to pull it off.

Forrester Research stated in its report, “B2B CMOs Must Evolve or Move On,” that 96% of marketing leaders believe the breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased, and 44% say they can’t find the right combination of people and skills in the job market.

Performance-driven agencies, like Matrix Marketing Group, provide a unique, holistic approach that allows clients to launch multidisciplinary campaigns with one “highly qualified contact.” Your dedicated resource is accountable for a strategy through deployment. You don’t have to train your existing staff members because your agency has the depth and breadth of skills needed.

 

6. You Can Easily Scale Your Marketing Efforts

When the economy tightens, companies tend to cut costs. Marketing is often the first to go because they are seen as a “discretionary” expense. Big mistake. And when times are good, marketing often gets more funding. It contradicts the CEO’s responsibilities.

But reducing and expanding the marketing budget is expensive. In the short-term, reducing or canceling marketing activities incurs the cost. In the long-term, costs associated with attrition, staffing, industry, and the company knowledge can be expensive.

Under a traditional in-house operation, the only way you can increase the output of your marketing team is to hire more employees. Agencies like Matrix Marketing Group already have cross-functional professionals on the core team that has been senior management with some top agencies, design firms or leading companies in the world.

 

7. Stay Current on the Latest Marketing Trends, Without a Learning Curve

Marketing is changing quickly, in fact, it has changed more in the past five years than it ever has. Don’t believe me? Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. Google rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways. Can you tell me what impact that has had on your website ranking? Don’t know check it here.

What in-house marketer has time to read up on all the latest social media, SEO, technology, content marketing, and branding news? Usually, they are so buried in day-to-day tasks, there is no room to grow, change, and evolve. The majority of reputable digital marketing agencies take education very seriously. I invest about 5-7 hours weekly in keeping abreast of the changing marketing ecosystem and latest trends, tools, technologies, and strategies to serve our clients better.

According to the report above from Capgemini, only 4% of companies align their training efforts with their digital strategy.

Marketing Skills Gap

Source: Capgemini

 

8. You Benefit From an Outside Perspective

It’s easy for in-house Marketers to lose sight of the big picture. They tend to be immersed in the day-to-day activity and wearing many hats. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Employees may find it hard to express new ideas or bring up concerns, for fear of losing their jobs. But we’ve seen amazing results by collaborating with marketing team members.

Sometimes you can get too close to your business and not see your marketing strategies, programs, or materials from your audience’s perspective. Even though you may know your business inside and out by living and breathing it each day, your perspective is still one-sided. To market successfully to your current audience – and capture new markets – you need to step out of your shoes and into your target markets’ or customers.’ Having a group on the “outside” supporting your needs helps to give you the customer’s perspective, not just your company’s.

Whether it’s planning, copywriting, or designing, the right outsourced team will have experience with a variety of different marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. You can rely on their lessons over the years to find the correct solution for your business challenge.

 

Examples of Outsourced Marketing Campaign

Here is an example of an outsourced marketing content campaign. The first month of the campaign, we may only do one blog post that attracts 20 new followers on social media and generates ten leads. The second month, we may publish two more blog posts, add two content offers, attract 40 new followers, increase our search engine ranking for eight keywords, which generates 20 leads. By the sixth month, we may have published a total of 30 blog posts, created ten content offers, have a total of 200 followers, and are showing up on page one of Google for five keywords, and generate 100 leads. The compound effect from creating those assets over time didn’t just double the leads in the second month, they generated 10x the results in only a few short months. So you can see the value–right?

Here’s another example of an outsourced Facebook Ad campaign. Most people think that creating Facebook ads is a very basic process. They know who they want to talk to and what they want to say. Based on that knowledge, they create an ad, choose an audience (thinking Facebook will figure it out), and let the ad run. They believe the cost is what it is, and they can’t do anything about it.

If we create only one version of the ad and put the word third-wave coffee roasters only in the post text, we could potentially miss out on the best ad we ever made.

To help find the best ads, Matrix creates several versions of an ad, altering where the text appears and the image that appears in each version.

Specifically, for one ad, Matrix creates three lines of text (A, B, C), where A is the post text, B is the headline, and C is the description. Then in Power Editor, we duplicate the post and switches two of the placements (for example A, C, B). We continue in this way until we have created every text placement combination, which is six different versions. Each ad in the set has the same text, but the text placement is different.

Next, Matrix tests four different visuals with the six versions of the text. This brings the ad set up to 24 different ads. We’ll also do another version of the text (lines D, E, F), and put those six variations with the four images. When we are done, the ad set contains 48 ads that include two versions of the text (ABC and DEF) and four images.

We get asked about how Matrix knows what text to write. Matrix recommends thinking about what will get someone to click or watch a video. We want enough text to give value, but not so much that your audience doesn’t want to click. Also, we make sure we don’t say the exact same thing three different ways.

For example, say we want to reach people who are looking to optimize their Facebook ads. Line A might be “Are your ads running to the best of their ability?” Line B could be “Are the people you’re talking to even interested in what we have to say?” And Line C might be “This proven strategy will decrease your spend by 5 times.”

For the visual, Matrix recommends using video instead of still images because we’ve noticed that cost per impression of images has increased compared to videos. Matrix created a 10-second video that featured four still images and free music from Facebook and reduced the cost per lead by about $0.25. So if we can use a video in ads, even if it’s just a basic slideshow, do it.

Also, when we choose images (or video), think about why people care about your product and use images that convey what’s important to your audience. The visual can be anything as long as it looks nice and conveys your message. You can even use stock images in some cases.

Sound simple right? I think you get my point.

 

The Bottom Line

Companies of all sizes use outsourcing to help grow their business and stay nimble. By outsourcing some or all of your marketing, you have flexibility, access to trained professionals and advanced marketing technology.

When you hire a marketing agency, you don’t assume that you are getting senior-level marketing professionals with a wide-range of skill sets. When picking a marketing agency, some companies worry about product knowledge and try to find vertical industry firms. Your employees should have product/service knowledge to provide guidance. I call this core vs. context. The marketing agency you choose should provide you with an outside viewpoint on where to find your market, how to talk to it, and help you build your brand.

The ideal situation is to have at least one point person working internally who can collaborate with the marketing agency to help them understand your brand voice, key messages, content, and demographics. A performance-based agency will have lots of ideas on to contribute based on trends, statistical data, and competitive analysis, but we find the best results come from working with a dedicated staff within our client’s company.

Grab this complete white paper on Marketing Sourcing here.