By Goutham Bhadri
It’s a great debate.
When should you hire more employees for your company and when to hand over the reigns to an outside agency or freelancer?
Turns out, the answer isn’t as crystal clear as you might think.
There are pros and cons to both sides of the outsourcing coin.
What to Outsource?
Before you can know if it makes sense to outsource your marketing, we have to look closer at what outsourcing really means.
Does it mean giving up all control over your brand?
If that’s what the sales pitch is trying to sell you, run the other direction.
Does it mean having to manage an outside team of people who could drop your business at any moment?
Maybe, but the contract you sign should protect both of you from that risk.
Depending on the people you have employed in your system, you can outsource some, or all, of your marketing.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s break it down into two core areas you could hand over to outside agencies:
- The specific services you need accomplished, such as website design or copywriting;
- The execution of a full marketing function, such as lead generation or PR.
With this in mind, it still begs the question—when does it make sense to outsource your marketing and when are you better off keeping it in-house?
Let’s take a closer look at when it makes sense first.
Outsource When You’re Not Growing
A lack of substantial growth (or worse) is a clear sign that something isn’t working well in your business.
It’s time to bring in outside expertise to elevate your business to the next level.
But before you do, take a look at why you’re not growing.
More or better marketing isn’t always going to help. If the symptom of your lack of growth is a poor product, wait to outsource your marketing.
If you’re just not seeing the ROI from your campaigns, bring some helping hands on board.
Outsource When You Need An Expert
The overlap between marketing and public relations continues to widen.
With technology making it easier and harder to get found at the same time, companies have had to shift gears to tell their stories in new ways.
Sorry Mad Men era.
Putting an ad in a top magazine won’t get you the same results as it did in the 60s.
With all this technology and overlap comes the need for more experts in certain niches.
Algorithms are changing almost daily.
The metrics you must monitor can get confusing, too.
Having an expert on your side to help you sift through the muddy waters and come out ahead is more than helpful—it’s necessary.
Agencies are these experts.
People with hyper-specific talents are these experts.
For example, if you’re trying to drive highly targeted traffic to your website, hiring an agency that obsesses over the latest SEO trends and marketing campaigns will help you reach your goals faster.
These are the people who spend their days with noses buried deep in the latest industry news because they’re passionate about this stuff.
It captivates them and they’re not afraid to let their inner geek flag fly when it comes to showing you how much they care.
More importantly, they’re too devoted to the services and full marketing processes they deliver to let you get anything but the best for your business.
Outsource When You Don’t Have the Bandwidth to Accomplish Your Goals
Sometimes, you have resources in-house.
The problem is, you don’t have enough hands on deck to execute everything you need accomplished.
This is where the managed services style of outsourcing really comes in handy.
If you have an expert in advertising working on your internal team, she probably doesn’t have the time to create every single campaign.
She will help you craft the big picture direction and will know exceptional work when she sees it, but she can’t be the one who executes every single detail.
So, you outsource elements such as design, copywriting, media buys, and tracking.
Don’t Outsource When You Have the Team and Manpower to Keep Things Internal
As you grow, you hire a more diverse workforce to take on more tasks.
This workforce is immersed in your brand and sees how successfully (or unsuccessfully as the case may be) you’re inching toward your goals.
They’re valuable to bring into the fold.
With growth comes a variety of talents.
Those talents and skill-sets shouldn’t be ignored.
Doing so could cost you more money than makes sense.
If you have a person on your marketing team with a background in copywriting, let him build the content on your website.
If you have someone skilled in design, let her put together the landing page for your next campaign.
This might seem obvious, but there are many companies I talk to that continue to outsource because they don’t know what type of talent is on their team.
Get deep with your employees and find new ways to make their expertise work harder for you.
When You Should Outsource and When You Shouldn’t
Ultimately, it’s about pulling together the best team of people to build your brand.
Whether that team is from an outside agency or internal doesn’t matter as much as having the right people working for you.
image credit: shutterstock