The business world is changing. Consumer expectations, shifting market conditions, and rapidly evolving technology have forced businesses to be flexible and adaptive. A big part of making this work is outsourcing components of your business that sit outside of your core expertise.
For example, it’s now commonplace for businesses to consume IT products on demand. This started with managed service providers managing a cloud-based network infrastructure and end-user devices. However, the explosion of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) has taken this to a new level – and is only growing. The global SaaS market is expected to reach $60.36 billion by 2023.1
Marketing-as-a-Service takes this same idea and applies it to your business. Rather than building a marketing function in-house or engaging in ad-hoc support from freelancers or consultants, businesses can purchase marketing outcomes as-a-service from specialists able to deliver everything from strategy to execution. Here, we will look at this trend in more detail and explore who benefits most from Marketing-as-a-Service, and what you can expect from MaaS in 2022 and beyond.
What is marketing-as-a-service?
Marketing-as-a-service provides you with access to what is like an in-house marketing team, on-demand. It’s access to skilled experts, including marketing strategists and executives, all the way through to web developers, but without needing to build that team yourself. Like with SaaS, MaaS allows you to avoid all of the hassles of managing the infrastructure required to get an outcome, allowing you to focus on what that outcome delivers to your business.
The as-a-service model is usually subscription-based. The product or service will remain constant and accessible as long as the subscription is ongoing. So, with marketing-as-a-service, as long as the subscription or contract agreement is live, a business will have full access to a team of marketing experts.
How does MaaS work?
With MaaS, a business will gain access to an outside marketing team to take over most, if not all of its marketing needs. Your business will still maintain control of what is being created and have the final say on what goes public and what doesn’t. However, you more than likely won’t be directly involved in the details and execution of these plans. This then frees you up to focus on your product or service.
MaaS providers ensure that their frameworks, plans, and campaigns are unique to the specific needs and information of the customer they’re working with. A MaaS provider can offer multiple services, within a single plan, resulting in a quicker turnaround than other marketing providers.
Businesses that provide marketing-as-a-service are able to offer you many different services and approaches to improve your marketing. These can include:
- Insight and analytics: MaaS providers can go deep into where a business needs to target and optimise its marketing to maximise traffic, leads, etc. This information will be provided via digestible and high-quality formats to ensure that research and, more importantly, the reason for strategy implementation is understandable.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): By having a team of marketing experts on hand, they can improve the positioning of a business website and page position when searching via Google and other search engines.
- Content creation: MaaS providers can help create ideas and execute them within their team, turning them into the agreed and desired content. This can range from blog posts, copywriting, social media graphics, web page designs, and eBooks.
- UI and UX design: This can help improve conversions and optimise a business’s website and mobile site performance, which will enhance customer satisfaction.
- Ongoing scheduling and planning: By scheduling content and creating short-term and long-term plans with a MaaS provider, a business can be well assured that there is consistent automation of marketing across platforms and their website.
What makes MaaS different?
When you look at the alternatives out there: freelancers, marketing consultants, traditional marketing agencies, and an in-house marketing team, the reasons for MaaS are obvious.
- Freelancers: When working with freelancers, you generally are just hiring a one-off resource. You get someone who can execute a project, but you don’t get a long-term strategy, or someone to manage multiple freelance resources.
- Marketing consultants: Marketing consultants are essentially the opposite of freelancers. They can offer you strategic planning, research, and insights to help you look at where you can improve your marketing; however, they generally won’t put this into practice. Even though you now have the information, you’ll need to find someone to execute the planning and strategies put in place.
- Traditional marketing agencies: In some ways, a traditional marketing agency isn’t too different from a MaaS provider in what it can offer; however, the delivery of this service and longer-term benefits differ. Marketing agencies either work on a project basis or lock you into long-term contracts. Neither outcome is ideal. A MaaS partner will provide you with the flexibility of a rolling contract, while also integrating all of their marketing strategies into long-term planning.
- In-house marketing team: An in-house marketing team can be exactly what you need it to be. However, you need to build it to make that happen. Not only is this expensive, but it also creates opportunity costs and will distract you from your main focus. The time taken to recruit or replace any employees that leave the company must also be factored in, and how that can affect any strategic plans in place. In-house teams can sometimes struggle to see the bigger picture and get caught up in what’s in front of them, this is where MaaS can view a product from the outside, presenting fresh ideas. What’s more, if you aren’t already a marketing expert, you’re going to struggle to build the right team in the first place.
MaaS is the best of all worlds. With expert support and consultancy, a MaaS provider can then put this into practice within a single team. MaaS allows you to do and receive more for less – less time, effort, resources, and money. Every client can decide how long they want to work with a MaaS provider, which will be agreed upon before starting their partnership. This has eliminated the personal and financial obligation to stick with a company for more than the desired period.
Who would benefit from MaaS?
Whether someone has decades of marketing under their belt or is preparing to launch their startup, MaaS can help your business improve and fine-tune their marketing. MaaS is basically useful for anyone. However, in some specific scenarios it is particularly valuable:
- Startup companies with a small budget and a strong need for targeted marketing that can’t build a sufficient in-house marketing team.
- Small to medium-sized businesses who require marketing for new products or services.
- Fast-growing, highly funded businesses that need help to best utilise their marketing strategies.
- Businesses of any size looking to quickly fill knowledge or expertise gaps when looking to undertake a new marketing angle.
- Large businesses who find themselves in need of professional solutions in a short time frame.
- Companies whose growth has halted and are unsure what direction to take when looking to generate new leads.
- Larger companies preparing to enter a new market, introduce a new product or undertake anything that extends beyond the realm of their employees’ skills or experience when looking to market effectively.
- Leaders who have made a strategic decision to grow their company’s marketing, but lack the marketing know-how and expertise to grow and build the right team.
Some businesses that turn to MaaS may not fall into any of the above. Instead, they first look for alternatives to an in-house marketing team. This could be due to the scarce talent that is available or those applying are lacking the most up-to-date skills and trends to execute plans effectively. MaaS helps eliminate that head-scratching, providing experienced marketing experts instantly.
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As MaaS continues to grow, more businesses will begin to take advantage of its flexible and accessible service. While marketing-as-a-service is useful, it doesn’t necessarily have to compete with or rule out the value of the alternatives and existing in-house teams – they can work together where possible. However, utilising the ‘aaS’ model of on-demand service, time is being saved – and for businesses, time is incredibly valuable when it comes to strategising and building a company. When looking at opportunity cost too, it just makes sense for many businesses to turn to a MaaS oriented approach.
That said all marketing services are still relevant in 2022, and digital marketing firms will continue to be the centre of the industry for years to come. As businesses’ choices expand, digital marketing agencies will likely change their models. The result won’t be less business but instead a more personalised, client-centric approach to marketing that makes the industry more responsive and better as a whole.
At Gripped we are a digital marketing agency who works with B2B businesses, helping shape their growth and strategy. We deliver ongoing digital sales and marketing strategies to improve your business wherever and however we can. Do you want to discover how MaaS can unlock your businesses growth potential? Book Your Free Growth Audit Today.
1 70 SaaS Statistics You Must Learn: 2021/2022 Market Share & Data Analysis – Financesonline.com