When it comes to outsourced marketing, there are more choices than ‘Do I or don’t I?’ You can fully outsource all your marketing activity. You can supplement your in-house marketing team with an outsourced partner to upskill or get the resource needed to execute your goals. You can outsource certain marketing tasks. You can have a long-term outsourced partner or outsource just for short-term projects…
In short, there are lots of options. What’s important is to make sure that the strategy you choose is aligned with your business goals.
Over 60% of B2B companies fully or partially outsourced their marketing.1 Outsourcing allows businesses to take advantage of a range of marketing activities they might not be able to execute by themselves — because they don’t have either the expertise or the capacity in-house.
Deciding to outsource your marketing can be a big decision, but it can yield many benefits if it’s right for you. In this article, we’ll explain what outsourced marketing is, the different options available and why companies choose to outsource.
What is outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing is the process of hiring an external agency or marketing company to handle your marketing efforts for you. There are two main ways to outsource your marketing: fully or partially.
In a fully outsourced model, a business outsources all their marketing to a marketing partner. Marketing companies generally offer a more comprehensive range of outsourced marketing services, provide a team of experts, and work faster, more flexibly and more efficiently.
The business outsourcing their marketing will remain closely involved, helping to set goals and review marketing activity, but the work is done by the outsourced partner. Businesses often choose to fully outsource when there is limited resource or expertise in-house, want to develop a long-term partnership with an outsourced partner, or have a view to move to a partially outsourced model as the business grows.
This is where a business outsources some of their marketing activities. This can be done in several ways.
- Outsourcing particular tasks, such as social media or content writing
- Bringing in outsourced support capacity to supplement in-house capacity, for example through a fractional CMO, a freelancer or digital marketing agency
- Enlisting outsourced expertise to help upskill and develop the in-house team
- Using an outsourced partner on a project-by-project basis.
This can happen when a company doesn’t have the internal resources to handle all aspects of its marketing, when it wants its in-house resource to focus on its core competency or when they’re getting started and want to build their brand presence quickly.
Who can I outsource to?
So if you want to outsource, who can you outsource to? An individual or a team. We’ve compared the types of marketing roles that you can outsource to…
|Marketing agency||Fractional CMO||Freelancer|
|• Typically used as a long-term partner, though also available on a project-by-project basis|
• Usually bills monthly
• Typically only available during standard business hours
• Often provides one point of contact
• Marketing agencies work with multiple clients simultaneously
• Has breadth and depth of experience in marketing strategy and execution
• Can build a long-term relationship
|• Available on project-by-project basis|
• Charges an hourly rate or a project fee
• Flexible availability
• One dedicated person for a specific period of time
• Provides a fresh perspective and outside expertise
• Helps solve specific marketing challenges
• Provides additional support during periods of high growth
• Temporary or part-time relationship
|• Used on a project or job-by-job basis, for example as a content writer|
• Charges an hourly rate or a project fee
• Flexible availability, often outside standard business hours
• You communicate with one person
• Also works on multiple projects simultaneously
• Can bring a cross-section of expertise or niche experience to your marketing efforts
• Can build a long-term relationship
Fractional CMOs and freelancers, as individuals, offer limited resources and capacity. They are often used to help businesses on a project-by-project basis or for a shorter period of time.
Marketing agencies are often the choice for businesses looking for a longer term, closer partnership. By working on numerous projects over time, the business and the agency become closer aligned, creating a close working relationship, and delivering successful results over a longer period. Some agencies, however, prefer to work with businesses on certain projects rather than as a partner.
Ultimately, the choice of how you outsource your marketing depends on your specific needs, goals, and resources.
What are the benefits?
Deciding whether to outsource depends on various factors, including your business’ size, budget, number of employees, and marketing goals. Let’s dive into a few scenarios where you might benefit from outsourcing your marketing.
- You need to grow your marketing function fast: Businesses starting out or looking to grow brand awareness quickly might need to grow their marketing function quickly. Outsourced expertise can get started quickly, without the need for businesses to recruit and build their marketing function in-house.
- You don’t want to commit to in-house resources: Recruiting resource and capacity in-house takes time and expense. If certain tasks will be repeated, bringing in technology and training people to execute these tasks over the long term can make sense. But outsourcing offers flexibility, scalability and quickly deployed capacity and expertise.
- You need to fill skills gaps: Businesses might have no marketing skills in-house or the expertise might be limited to certain areas. An outsourced partner can fill skill gaps or bring a comprehensive skillset through a full marketing team.
Whichever strategy you choose, it’s vital to understand where you’re coming up short in your current marketing efforts to understand what you’re looking for as you advance.
Some businesses might think, “Let’s just outsource, they’ll know what to do’. But this is a decision that needs careful consideration as it can impact your ROI, reputation, brand visibility and trustworthiness.
|In-house marketing||Outsourced marketing|
|Costs||Businesses have to employ full-time staff members with full-time salaries, benefits, taxes etc. But you can put together your ‘dream team’.||No recruitment expenses. You only pay for the skills, services, or campaigns you need, when you need it. Paying per project or task can cost more, though ROI will likely be higher long term.|
|Marketing processes||It’s on the business to provide the marketing team with tools, software, platforms, and licences that can add to overheads.||Arrive with the necessary tools, software, platforms and licences.|
|Perspectives||Only exposed to one brand and campaigns relating to that brand. Easy to get tunnel vision and become isolated from industry trends and developments.||Bring fresh perspectives gained from working across many brands and campaigns.|
|Flexibility and scalability||Talent acquisition, training and implementation can take time and be challenging. Hard to change from project to project without upskilling first.||Brings the necessary experience for all types of tasks, so businesses have access to a flexible range of projects. Typically with the ability to scale up or down.|
|Quality||An in-house marketing team may not have the depth of experience of an outsourced specialist.||Specialists with a wealth of knowledge in marketing, design, SEO, content development, and pay-per-click (PPC), getting the best results for your business.|
What activities can be outsourced?
If you’ve decided to outsource your marketing needs, the next step is deciding which marketing activities you’ll outsource. Factors to consider include your in-house workload, skill sets, timelines, budget and so forth. You don’t have to outsource every component of your marketing strategy. You can outsource one, a combination of, or all of the following components.
As brands increasingly embrace social media, this is particularly important. Customers often contact your brand through social media or tag you in comments and posts. It’s public-facing and the most direct way to engage with your customers. When you outsource your social media, you can:
- choose an agency or social media strategist with a proven track record of getting results
- decide only to outsource certain social media activities, such as PPC campaigns
- delegate one social media channel to a specialist third-party with experience in that channel.
Survey results indicate that content writing is the most outsourced (81%) marketing activity.2 You can either hand off your entire content marketing strategy or outsource only content writing after you’ve developed the content marketing plan and brief. Whichever way you decide to go, there are benefits for your business:
- outsourcing your content writing gives you the gift of time since your marketing team no longer has to spend hours researching and writing content.
- outsourcing your content writing to a content agency means you only pay for content when you need it and not the salary of a full-time in-house writer or team.
- when you outsource your content writing to a freelancer, you’re not limited to one or two writers — outsourcing gives you access to a pool of writers that can deliver content across many different fields.
A solid marketing strategy should cater to all stages of the buyer’s journey, from lead generation to email workflows. You can outsource your entire marketing strategy or execute it in-house after getting a strategy skeleton from an outsourced marketer or marketing agency that your in-house team can build on. However, when you outsource your marketing strategy:
- you can promote your product or service through different marketing strategies, whereas a full-time marketing team might only have the capacity to focus on a handful of strategies
- you leverage new talents when developing your marketing strategy, which can help you see the bigger picture
- you’ll have more chances to enter and promote your product into new markets.
Email marketing and email nurturing are essential elements of a successful marketing strategy. It’s also a more personalised form of marketing. Companies that nurture leads through inbound marketing close 50% more sales.3 Outsourcing your email marketing:
- takes the manual and time-consuming load of creating and setting up lead-nurturing email workflows from your in-house team’s shoulders
- you no longer have to worry about formulating and maintaining KPIs and metrics among your in-house team — agencies already have these in place
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
80% of buyers will do an online search as the first step in their market research for a product or service.4 Optimising your website content is crucial, as it can increase your chances of appearing in these search results. Outsourcing your SEO gets you:
- expertise from an SEO expert whose sole focus is to boost brand visibility through SEO best practices
- better tools and resources — agencies that specialise in SEO already have the software needed to track SEO campaigns and the people to handle all the campaign work
- a documented SEO content strategy that will be vital when having to pass down information for future strategies.
Research shows that 42% of people will leave a website if it has poor functionality.5 That’s why tailormade always trumps off-the-rack, as it sets you apart from your competitors. It says: “I mean business”. Outsourcing web design gives you:
- access to experts while saving you the cost of appointing a web developer in-house
- professional maintenance and risk management are built into the service
- extra resources within a flexible model.
PPC campaigns can optimise sales and increase your business revenue if done right. Yet many companies don’t know how to utilise PPC and lose out on the gains of these ads. Outsourcing PPC campaigns to a professional ad agency will get you the desired results as they:
- offer fast and more reliable results — a PPC ad agency has the expertise to implement the campaign successfully
- covers keywords research, campaign setup, optimisation, and reporting — this is especially beneficial if you’re an SME with limited time and resources
- maximise revenue — campaigns are set up to yield a high ROI.
Choosing the right outsourced marketing for you
Choosing the right outsourced marketing is, first and foremost, about forming a partnership. You want to ensure that whoever you work with — digital agency, fractional CMO or freelancer — is aligned with your business goals and marketing aims. You can measure their performance and get an overview of what they’re doing to ensure you stay in the loop and collaborate with them more effectively.
Done right, outsourcing your marketing can help you free up your time and save money — particularly if you want to develop a long term partnership with an agency. You get expert help from day one, technology and expertise without any upfront investment and enhanced ROI without having to recruit and train anyone yourself. You can focus on other aspects of your business while they handle your marketing.
As an expert digital agency, Gripped can work with your in-house team, adding our own specialists in web development, content writing, and sales and lead generation to your strategy. If you’re a B2B, SaaS or tech business looking for a partner to help you meet your marketing goals, we can help. Get a free growth audit today