By Stu Leventhal - Guru Marketing Tips
Outsourcing one’s marketing allows everyone else on staff to concentrate on other business functions such as; customer service, new product invention, innovation, sales, financing, daily management, making wise purchasing decisions, inventory control and human resource issues like hiring the best employees, training and supervising… These are all necessary for keeping your company running smoothly.
The main worry, of course, with outsourcing your marketing is can an outside entity market as efficiently as your own marketing department would. Can a Marketing company know your industry, products, customers, competition as well as your own people do?
*For this discussion let’s assume that if you run a one man or one woman entrepreneurial business then when we refer to In-house Marketing we mean that you will be doing all of the marketing yourself. As you handle all of the marketing that takes you away from your many other company responsibilities.
Hiring out your marketing means you can shop your jobs around and pit marketing companies against one another in a bidding war to try to get lower and lower prices on your projects. This saves you money and that money can be used elsewhere in the running of the business or added to bump up more marketing.
Still, when you keep your marketing in-house, your own employees are doing your marketing so you have better quality control. You also have complete control of the promoting and merchandising strategy. You can give direction and not get billed for every phone call you make to discuss the campaign. If you want or need your marketing crew to work overtime or move in another direction, you just give them the commands. With an outsourced run campaign, if you make changes midstream, there is a good chance you will be getting an additional bill.
In-House Marketing is supposed to be cheaper than hiring out but remember that marketing firms are experts at what they do so they work more efficiently than your staff will. Marketing Contractors have lots of contacts in all kinds of marketing related industries and they know what the hot new promotional methods are that the public is currently responding in kind to.
Contracted Marketers also have lots of other clients besides your company which gives them bulk advertising buying power. Because they can send a lot of business to a printer or a radio station or a commercial filming studio or to a newspaper, they can negotiate much lower costs. But, do the marketers you work with pass those discounts that they get on to you, their client or are they taking that as extra profit for themselves?
Your In-House Marketing Department has easy and quick access to all of the other departments in your company and to your entire staff. They are on the scene so they have a finger on the pulse of your company. They are aware of your problems and should have a more complete picture of what is needed to market your goods and services. Yourself and your other department heads also have fast and easy access to meeting with your marketing staff when the marketers are on your payroll. You can schedule meetings at your convenience.
Generally the decision to outsource one’s marketing is made from the perspective of saving money as the main goal. The problem with that philosophy is that Marketing is the catalyst that powers up sales, builds profit and opens up the doors to expansion. Therefore figuring out that you can get things done cheaper by using an outside contractor may be shooting yourself in the foot.
Bear in mind that Marketing leaks over into all areas of a company and an In-House Marketing Department’s contributions are numerous in many unquantifiable ways that the marketing team is never given clear or official credit for.
Doing all of your Marketing endeavors via outside sources will certainly prohibit your response time to market condition changes plus you inhibit your ability to jump on emerging new opportunities immediately.
It is my opinion that a serious company needs marketers on their premises, in-house. Yes, you can still surely outsource some aspects of your marketing program and you should because no one can be an expert in all of the areas of marketing that you will need to put into action in order to become and remain successful.
You need to set up and utilize both in-house staff and outsourced marketing venues to get the best results, lowest prices and biggest returns on your marketing investments of time, money, thought and energy.
The most important business concept to grasp is that management and marketing should never be two separate activities in any commercial enterprise. Management and Marketing are joined at the hip. Thus one can never outsource all of either of these two important processes. Only parts of these processes can be put in the hands of quality and reliable outside entities if you are to get and remain competitive.
Import help on the things you are not great at but keep control of the overall picture. Be very selective when you contract out parts of your company’s tasks, chores and important functions. Always get a few price quotes and check references before you commit to hiring. Also, make sure you follow up consistently with your contractors of all types. Constant communication is of most importance throughout the course of the life of all outsourced projects of any kind.
Outsourcing can bring new ideas into a stale company. It is always great to hear others’ perspectives on a business problem or situation. Just remember that when you outsource, do not ever pay all of the money upfront. Try for a three part payment arrangement where you give a third of the price upon signing the contract, pay another third when the job is underway and only pay the last third when you are completely satisfied that the job has been completed to your standards as stated in the contract.
What do you feel about outsourcing your marketing verses in-house marketing? Share your company stories in our comments.