The Real Spin on Outsourcing Your Company’s Marketing Department!
Marketing has changed dramatically in just the past few years! It is easy to broadly identify the “Internet” as the change agent. Although partially true on a macro level, the real change – and the daunting challenge to many senior executives – is how quickly the Internet has “nichified” into myriad specialties, all of which require specialized expertise. Online Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Outsourced Marketing, SEO, SEM, content marketing, social media management, local area marketing, lead generation, paid advertising, graphic design, web site analytics, search engine results, Mobile design, E-commerce, Blog campaigns; there are a dazzling array of internet marketing strategies, tactics and specialties to consider. Often an outsourced marketing department can save a firm both time and money and outsourcing marketing creates a highly efficient work environment.
Is Your Head Spinning yet?
Seemingly, the choices are both complex and endless. They’re enough to make your head spin! And spin endlessly! However, as you begin the process of making the critical strategic decisions for marketing your company’s products and services, you’ve come to understand that the full array of Internet specialties must be considered before launching your next marketing campaign. And, each specialty has its own unique set of questions that must be answered before moving forward:
How do I start evaluating each of these specialties?
Which specialty will uniquely support my brand identity?
Which one will best reach my target audience?
How much time will it take to implement one or more specialties?
How much will it cost?
When will I see results?
Who in my organization can do this?
Should I do this in-house, or should I outsource the marketing campaign?
Daunting Questions, Yes! Impossible to Answer, No!
Let’s Do the Math on Outsourcing the Marketing Solutions to your Daunting Questions!
“The base of everything is mathematics” argued the Greek Philosopher Pythagoras.
So, let’s do the math and see where these equations lead!
2 + 1 = 3 Is the Value of your company’s in-house marketing department.
2 + 1 = 21 Is the Value of outsourcing your marketing activities.
The obvious question for you and your marketing team is: why didn’t I think of that answer? Well, sometimes the Answer isn’t always quite so obvious. And, sometimes the Value of the Answer isn’t quite so evident either. Especially when you and your executive team are engaged in the day-to-day activities of operating the business along with being consumed with customer support requests. And, of course, we can’t ignore the non-productive “fire fighting” activities and the endless meetings about meetings that often occur. Importantly though, out-marketing your competition requires a different kind of thinking, a different way of outreaching to your potential customers with innovative and compelling marketing strategies, tactics and specialties, and a different process for implementing them more quickly and more effectively than your competitors can.
So, will you have a different Value-Answer equation with your next marketing campaign?
Different assumptions give different answers. Different questions give different answers. Exploring the 21 Values of outsourcing your marketing department is the different Answer for your company. Let’s explore each Value, one-by-one, to arrive at the Answers to the Daunting Questions we raised earlier. Let’s stop the “head spinning” and focus on clarity. Let’s do what your competition is NOT willing to do! Let’s Do Different! Let’s Do Different, Today!
Are you willing to “Do Different”? Are you willing to “Do Different”, Today?
Your in-house marketing team has a certain level of expertise that has been adequately demonstrated by past performance and which has achieved a certain level of success. However, NEW marketing campaigns to a NEW target audience using NEW marketing specialties, may require access to a high-level marketing talent pool to manage the implementation of the NEW marketing campaign your company wants to launch. With the NEW campaign you would like to do something different. However, you’re senior management team isn’t quite sure what it is you need to do, and may be just a little uncomfortable with trying a NEW strategy.
With their expert marketing talent pool, an outsourced marketing company can provide a unique perspective. They have the experience and the talent to help make your management team comfortable with trying something NEW. They have the market research capability to support an innovative NEW marketing campaign. They are committed to investing in a continual training program to keep this talent on the leading edge of technology and business strategies. Also, it is not unusual for the outsourced marketing services company to have several industry Thought Leaders on it staff for easy access by your senior management or marketing team. They are your avenue to an expert marketing services team.
When resources are called upon from a marketing outsourcing company to create and manage a marketing campaign, company employees can often become insecure. In fact, these employees may even question their own expertise as they may now begin to feel that the senior executives of their company don’t have a high degree of confidence in their marketing skills and abilities. An outsourced marketing firm, in partnership with the senior executive team, can appropriately address this issue directly by helping the employees understand that the goal is not to supplant them, but instead is to cooperatively leverage and multiply all available resources for a marketing campaign that will make the company more successful for the long term.
A generally understood principle is that if you want to become a better tennis player, for example, then you must play tennis against someone with higher skills than yours. Associating with better tennis talent, will make you a better tennis player, assuming you have the desire to learn. The same principle holds true for marketing skills. Having your employees participate in launching a marketing campaign by working hand-in-hand with the highly skilled talent in a niche marketing specialty that an outsourced marketing company possesses, will only improve your employee’s overall marketing skills.
Specialization is occurring rapidly. New technologies, faster communications, and software innovations are exploding at a rapid pace. No one employee, or even a group of employees, can keep up with these new concepts, much less learn and implement them while fulfilling their daily responsibilities. Yet, the competitive environment dictates that your company keep pace with these new trends or you’ll quickly find yourself out distanced by the competition. An outside marketing group whose mission it is to acquire solid expertise with these new technologies, who understands the best methodology for implementing them, and has the world class expertise to develop the creative strategies which will allow your company to fulfill its mission, is an invaluable resource for your senior management team.
Your company probably has several marketers that are experts in a certain discipline. Most marketing campaigns require expertise in many disciplines and specialties to ensure the campaign’s success. Your company’s specialists can serve as the basis for creating a customized marketing team for a specific campaign when supplemented by third party marketing specialists. Yet another campaign may require a whole new team of experts and disciplines. An outsourced marketing company will prove invaluable under these circumstances and enables customization of your company’s marketing department on an as needed basis. In partnership with the senior management team, the agency assumes full responsibility for the overall marketing strategy. For each individual campaign that is launched, the agency supplements the in-house marketers with the agency’s personnel. This reduces staffing requirements for the company, provides the needed expertise for each marketing campaign, saves money, provides skills transfer to company employees, and builds a solid and efficient foundation for future marketing campaigns.
Often overlooked in any company is how to gain a new and unique business or marketing perspective. Discovering how to reach a your current target audience or perhaps a new target audience with a new and different perspective as well as creating an effective campaign to reach that audience may only occur by engaging expert marketing resources from outside of the company. An outsourced marketing firm that has worked with many clients in many different industries with a vast array of products and services can bring that fresh perspective along with a creative solution for your marketing campaign.
Being the first company to successfully bring a new product or service to the marketplace both gains and enjoys a significant competitive advantage. This surprise advantage forces your competition into scrambling around playing catch-up. Not only is your company generating revenue while your competition is “on its heels”, your resources are now dedicated to innovating the next higher level of products or services to keep the competitive advantage you now enjoy. An outsourced marketing agency has the resources and creative solutions to help your company gain that surprise, pre-emptive competitive advantage by delivering your company’s products and services to a targeted audience in a cost-effective manner.
If you are the company that has been surprised, caught off guard, and is now in second place, then you have some catching up to do. Unfortunately, “catching up” is the thought process that is usually prevalent under these circumstances. A better thought process is to “leap frog”. An outsourced marketing firm can help your senior management team create the strategy to “leap frog” your competition and “put them in the place.”
Overhead in the form of office space, computers and supplies is an enormous drain on your company’s profits. Carefully managing cash flow, investments, and profitability is essential for your company’s financial stability and long term growth. With the rapid, and continuing, “nichification” of Internet Marketing, finding a highly qualified specialist for each of these niches is time consuming and the recruiting costs can be high. Salary and benefits along with the expense of furnishing an office add to the costs as does the burden of training a new employee. Engaging five or six marketing specialists from a Marketing Outsources Services Agency for just the salary and burdened costs of only one or two average salaried employees will help your company manage its cash flow. Outsourcing your marketing department to a full service marketing agency with experienced and well qualified niche marketing specialists is a savvy cash management strategy.
Many companies often use multiple vendors to help facilitate their daily operations, and multiple vendors for various marketing disciplines is no exception. Multiple vendors, however, results in multiple and often duplicate communications of company goals, multiple meetings that create employee inefficiency, multiple relationships and personalities with occasional personality conflicts, multiple corporate cultures that may be just a little out of synch, multiple invoices and their inherent costs, multiple and often disparate understandings of how to apply technical specialties to a marketing campaign, all of which has to be adeptly managed by your senior management team. A much better and more profitable solution is to engage in a partnership with one highly qualified outsourced marketing services company with a culture that is in concert with your company’s culture. One mutually agreed upon mission, one marketing campaign implementation strategy, one invoice, one level of accountability, and one communication structure for ease of adapting a marketing campaign as business conditions change.
Your senior executive team has a multitude of responsibilities and tasks to accomplish, some planned while many are unplanned as the business landscape changes as a result of economic or competitive initiatives, seemingly on a daily basis. Of all the responsibilities, marketing is probably the least understood discipline and probably causes the most angst, if not the most discussions. The phrase “let the experts do it” applies here. Tasking an outsourced marketing firm with the responsibility for your company’s marketing strategy leaves the senior management team free to focus on its core competencies. In fact, enlightened senior executives will fully integrate the outsourced marketing agency into the senior executive team to actively participate in critical business and strategy discussions and thereby improving the overall business performance of the company.
To be successful, a company must fully understand its marketplace. Even the best products and services can’t sell themselves without an effective marketing campaign serving as the driver of sales. The best marketing campaigns have two vital components which are interdependent. One component that is directly focused on promoting the product or service’s brand and the other component that is focused on branding your company’s image and reputation.
Many vital questions need to be thoroughly answered before moving forward with a marketing campaign. Yes, more questions that spin around in your head such as: How do we determine market size?, What are the trends in this market?, What social, economic, political, government and technology changes will influence this market?, How can we identify the unique characteristics of our target audience?, What is our reputation in the Marketplace?, How is our Online image perceived?, only to name just a few of the many more. With their different perspective, an outsourced marketing agency can help your senior management team with the answers to these questions as well as branding, competitive, and other marketplace characteristics. Utilizing this information, a marketing campaign can be created for effective outreach to the company’s targeted audience.
From a time and money perspective, investment in a new product or service is not a small or inconsequential decision. Test marketing is imperative to ensure that a demand for the product or service actually exists, help identify and validate the “real” target audience, and explore the pricing options for maximizing revenue. Poor testing usually means poor results. When an idea for a product is conceived by the senior management team or the in-house staff, there is a lot of excitement about the market possibilities and high energy with anticipating a launch. It is not unusual for this excitement and energy to “blind” the marketing team and overlook obvious pitfalls such as market readiness, the real customer demand, the product or service’s features and benefits with respect to user needs, and revenue expectations, especially when the perception may be that the senior management team really “wants it”.
An outsourced marketing team can filter through the “blind” spots and deliver an unbiased assessment of the potential opportunity, provide realistic revenue expectations, and determine actual market readiness. Additionally, the outsourced marketing agency can identify unique characteristics of the target market or perhaps identify previously overlooked markets for the products or services. As a minimum, the senior management team should consider having a marketing agency review the company’s proposed marketing plan to test its feasibility before investing in either additional product creation or the marketing resources required to launch a campaign. This will minimize costly mistakes. The highest value the outsourced marketing agency can offer is managing a marketing campaign that takes complete advantage of all potential revenue sources.
Intuitively you know there are many more potential clients for the products or services your company offers, but the question is where are they and how do you identify them? There are many online venues where your prospects “hang out” and actively participate, and each of these venues provide an opportunity to engage with these prospects. Market research will help establish a basis for correlating the features and benefits of your products or services with the characteristics and traits of the businesses and individuals who participate in the various online venues. With the knowledge gained from your outside marketing company, a series of customized messages can be initiated that will start a meaningful conversation to each of these specific audiences by introducing information that would be targeted toward their interests and which would prove to be of value to them. Over time a relationship will be established and when the readers find your messages to be helpful for their unique needs and interests, they’ll want to further engage with your company in a more meaningful manner by moving directly to your website, one of your company’s other web properties, or requesting additional information by providing their email address. When the marketing campaign is strategically implemented and the prospects have the desire for additional engagement based on the value your company has provided, the potential for making a sale has substantially improved.
The value of any marketing campaign is determined by its results and how these results reflect on the bottom line. Needless to say, it is important to establish the goals of a marketing campaign early on in its creation. The Key Performance Indicators need to be identified as well as the guidelines for what level of performance against these indicators will determine the level of campaign success. Importantly, an integrated tracking platform is essential for capturing all activity that the marketing campaign is funneling to your web properties. This is far more extensive than tracking just Twitter followers and social “likes”, for example, instead the tracking data includes the capture of all impressions, visitors, clicks, opt-ins and conversions generated from the marketing campaign.
When compared against the desired goals, the data derived from the tracking platform can be used to monitor campaign progress at any point in time. Importantly though, most campaigns will require some tweaking and re-tweaking to achieve the campaign goals and the data that is tracked will provide insights for quickly and efficiently adjusting the campaign for increasingly better results. Although not always possible due to market and competitive conditions, this data provided by the outsourced marketing firm may also allow the ability to experiment for how to make additional adjustments to exceed the initial expectations. Because the marketplace and your target market is continually evolving, and your competition is also constantly tweaking their marketing campaigns, diligent monitoring of the campaign metrics is required to maintain a high level of performance and conversions.
One important element of an outsourced marketing department is how your senior executive team can control and manage the outsourced marketing company without impeding the campaign’s progress. Understandably, excessive control is counterproductive and restrictive, especially when current employees are unfamiliar with the unique and specialized strategies being implemented. Far less control is required when your marketing company is considered a valuable and Trusted Advisor for your company. The optimum and preferred method is when the outsourced marketing company acts as an important part of your senior management team. This type of trusted relationship allows for candid discussions at each stage of implementing any and all of the marketing campaigns. Business, economic, political and competitive environments are in continual motion and may affect a marketing campaign, sometimes unexpectedly. The senior manager team and the marketing company must adjust their strategies accordingly. However, decisions to modify or change a strategic direction must be based upon reliable data and information. The outsourced marketing company’s tracking platform is continually monitoring data which is carefully analyzed for trends. These trends are reported at staff meetings, thoroughly discussed, a consensus is achieved, and any decisions to change a campaign can be quickly implemented. Isn’t this the way it should work with any of your company’s vendors?
Flexibility provides your company with the ability to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. Each Value-Answer discussed throughout this article is a form of flexibility. The flexibility to do more with less personnel resources. The flexibility for your senior management team to focus on their core expertise. The flexibility to reallocate marketing resources and help reduce the workload on your already overwhelmed marketing department. The flexibility to improve operational efficiency when using only one marketing vendor. The flexibility to manage cash flow more effectively and reduce overhead expenses. When market or business conditions change, your outsourced marketing company can help the senior management team respond quickly and effectively. By adjusting the marketing campaigns to respond to the changed marketing environment, your company is able to turn any change into a new opportunity.
Every effective marketing campaign requires a team of marketers with a wide range of niche specialties. These specialties often include a web designer, copywriter, a graphic designer, content manager, a search engine strategist, a pay-per-click or PPC manager or perhaps several others depending upon the scope of the campaign. In today’s market, there is not an abundance of highly skilled talent in these areas, and, depending on your geographic location, a company can expect to pay a minimum salary of $60K – 75K+ for each of these individuals expertise. Many company’s can’t justify hiring them all, nor should they. Without doing a complex discounted cash flow analysis, a simple justification model will demonstrate the value of an outsourced marketing firm. If it is assumed that the company had to hire five (5) marketing specialists to manage their marketing campaign, then the expected cost would be approx $300K – $450K annually as a minimum, excluding an employee benefits package, office furnishings and company overhead. However, an outsourced marketing company can conduct a robust marketing campaign for an investment of $3K – $6K per month depending on the magnitude of the campaign. This is a dollar leverage of 7, 8 or 10+ for every dollar the company invests in marketing. A much better investment at a much lower cost! Don’t you wish your stock and bond portfolio generated these kind of returns? If your portfolio did, it would be time to start dreaming of buying that island in paradise, that boat to sail around the world, or start a non-profit organization for that cause you are so passionate about.
Your company prides itself with providing products and services that are of high quality. Your offerings are valued by your business customers to help with the efficiency of their operations or be included as part of their portfolio of offerings for their customer base. Or, if your customer base is consumers, you know your products or services enhance a consumers day-to-day living experience. When you understand and believe your products or services make a meaningful contribution to other businesses or consumers, it is incumbent upon your management team to ensure that all possible customers be made aware of your offerings so they too can enjoy the advantages. In fact, one may postulate that it is unfair of your company not to do so. An outsourced marketing department can help your company create new and innovative marketing campaigns which are segmented for all audiences that could potentially benefit from your products or services.
Employees join company’s having high expectations for stable employment and the desire to make a contribution to the growth of your company. Their personal and professional growth depends on many factors. One expectation is that the senior executive team will provide employees with opportunities for exposure to new technologies, ideas and learning experiences. This may be achieved with seminars, trade shows and online learning programs. Being associated with and guided by other individuals with greater expertise in a specific discipline is also an invaluable learning and development processes. An outsourced marketing team that has kept abreast of new marketing specialties and has creative ideas is an important benefit for helping to fulfill employee expectations.
As the senior executive of the company, your mission is to provide value for all the company’s stakeholders regardless of the business entity type or its size. This generally means maximizing shareholder value for a publicly traded company or for a family business ensuring its longevity for future generations. Increasing revenue within the current customer base, finding new and untapped clients for your existing offerings, and introducing new products or services to the marketplace are all marketing centric strategies and initiatives. The demographics of your existing client base is continually changing and technology innovations are introducing new methods for how your company will be interacting with both clients and prospects both today and in the future. Client engagement now occurs on various online web venues that require specialized marketing knowledge because of the Internet’s “nichification”. For all the reasons discussed in this article, outsourcing your company’s marketing department makes good business sense for your company’s financial stability and its continued growth.
As a President, CEO, or Division General Manager, you are the leader of your organization. And, as you know, the challenges are many! The best leaders hire the best talent, either as in house staff or as vendors. The vendors that can serve you best are both highly competent and act as trusted partners for you and your management team. Marketing is the most misunderstood discipline, yet holds the key for generating the most growth. Stories abound with respect to poor marketing campaigns, missteps with brand image, and overlooked opportunities that a competitor has exploited. Clearly these companies received inadequate advice, had poor explanations of the marketing campaign implementation process, and bogus data for the best outreach methodology for their target audience. To avoid these disasters for your company, your outsourced marketing agency needs to be your trusted marketing partner. With good advice, you can make good decisions. This means candid conversations about current marketing activities, acknowledging past mistakes, and creating a structure for avoiding future mistakes. It also means strategic conversations for making campaign adjustments as the market changes or tweaking a strategic direction if the results don’t quite meet expectations within a desired timeframe. You owe it to yourself to find a trusted strategic partner to help keep the company aligned with its corporate objectives and who shares your interest in achieving these objectives.
Isn’t it time to stop spinning your wheels!
This is 2 The Top Marketing’s “Spin” on why your company should engage an Outsourced Marketing Agency. We hope you and your senior executive team have found Value in this discussion and you now have some Answers to many of the Daunting Questions we’ve raised? You now also have a little better understanding of 2 The Top Marketing’s philosophy, and how our marketing services can be an integral part of your company’s strategic initiatives. We want to be your Trusted Marketing Partner!
Today your company is spending a lot of money on marketing, but are your current strategies and your marketing campaign implementations providing the best ROI that could be achieved? Are your current marketing campaigns a “crap shoot” based on incomplete market research, a limited understanding of the full range of marketing specialties that are available for you, and the wishful thinking of hoping that your current marketing campaigns are working at optimum levels? Are you going to “gamble” away your marketing investment on tactics and strategies that won’t generate the highest ROI for your company? Isn’t it time to stop spinning your wheels and do something different?