What is outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing lightens the load for company owners and busy managers who are already wearing too many hats within their organizations.
Best practices across different marketing channels (social media, display ads, emails, etc.) are changing daily. Many companies are outsourcing the task rather than divert time/money trying to learn the necessary tools and strategies. Is your company missing out on a good thing? Check out 8 Signs You're Ready to Outsource Your Marketing to find out!
What's the advantage of outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing is an excellent investment for organizations that don't employ a large, in-house marketing team. You and your employees are so close to your business, living and breathing it every day. An outsourced marketing expert can bring a valuable outside perspective to your company that leads to fresh ideas and programs that drive business. And because your outsourced experts are also working with other firms and industries, they bring best marketing practices from other industries into yours with great success.
More for Your Money- Understandably, you don't want the overhead that comes with hiring a full-time web developer, designer, copywriter, SEO or PPC consultant, etc. Marketing agencies like PMG have all those experts on staff. You only pay for what you need, when you need it. Outsourcing your marketing allows you to have one point of contact that brings multiple marketing skill sets to the table. So for the cost of hiring, paying, and providing benefits for one full-time marketing director who brings one set of skills and experience, you can have an entire team of specialists working for you.
Flexibility- The beauty of outsourcing your marketing is that it's there when you need it, gone when you don't. As with any business, there are times when you need to divert more attention to your marketing efforts- whether you're planning a strategy for a new year, rebranding your company, or building a new website. There will also be times when simply maintaining your website, sending a newsletter, and updating your social media sites will be sufficient. When you have an outsourced marketing team, your marketing staff, and its costs, can be expanded or contracted to accommodate your business cycles.
Consistency- Do you forget about marketing during your busy season, only to return to it during your slower time of year? You are not alone. Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of paying attention to their marketing only when sales are down, business is slow, or they are doing something specific – launching a product, entering a new market, redesigning a website – that requires a concentrated effort. But if you fail to make your marketing an ongoing priority, it will fail to serve you well. An outsourced firm can help to ensure that your marketing hums along consistently, even during your busiest times.
How is outsourced marketing different from working with an ad agency?
Because so many people interchangeably use the terms "marketing" and "advertising," you might think outsourced marketing isn't anything new. After all, ad agencies have been around since the 1800s.
But outsourced marketing is different in some fundamental ways—and most of them benefit small or mid-sized businesses like yours.
First, marketing is more than simply promoting your business. When you enlist the help of a good marketing agency, you aren't just looking for jingles and taglines. Marketing agencies can research your target demographics, understand their online habits, and better align your company's online presence with those habits.
Marketing agencies can help you educate and "nurture" prospective clients—a strategy modern consumers prefer over hard-sell tactics and tired rhetoric. Outsourced marketing lets you meet and engage prospects at many different stages of their buy cycle.
Another difference: marketing agencies are generally better hand-holders than ad agencies. At PMG, for example, we don't drop the work on your doorstep—leaving you to figure out where it goes and how to get it there. The implementation side of what we do is just as important as researching, writing, and designing. Even beyond implementation, we'll help you test and measure the results of a marketing campaign so you have a clear idea of what's working—and what you're paying for.
What kinds of projects represent outsourced marketing?
There's no limit to the kinds of projects and campaigns a marketing agency can produce. You can commission an agency to rebuild your website, plan and execute your social media strategy, design digital ads, draft press releases and white papers, ghostwrite your blogs and newsletters, among other things. You can contract projects and services à la carte or as part of a comprehensive package.
Outsourced marketing is usually structured around an ongoing partnership. At PMG, you talk; we listen. We submit work; you either love it or send it back with questions/revisions. You see improved web traffic, better-qualified leads, higher sales; we do cartwheels. Everybody wins.
Read More: How to Manage Your Outsourced Marketing Agency - With Expert Tips
What does outsourced marketing cost?
A tricky question—like asking, "what does red wine cost?" "What does dinner for 200 wedding guests cost?" From these examples, you might glean that a.) there are varying levels of quality that impact outsourced marketing costs, and b.) There are often package structures available, which can reduce the cost of plural marketing service vs. paying for pieces on an à la carte basis. Let's look at both variables.
Quality- In 2021, everyone has a blog and a social media presence. This doesn't make them qualified to manage yours. You can find freelancers on job board sites that will do your blogging and tweeting for peanuts. You can also find boutique marketing/PR firms that manage your accounts for upwards of $10K per month. Most small and mid-sized companies are looking for a middle-ground solution, which is what PMG offers.
Bundling- Even though the bottom-line cost is your chief concern, you shouldn't expect any price tags before you've sat down and discussed your situation with a marketing team. Not every business needs an aggressive Facebook presence, for example. You may need more or less support to achieve the results you want. Outsourced marketers will often work with you to create a plan and a pricing structure that makes sense.
How can I maximize my engagement with an outsourced marketing firm?
Whether you're thinking about hiring an agency or you're already enjoying the perks of outsourcing your marketing, best practices are essential to keep in mind. Like any relationship, communication is critical. But there are other things to pay close attention to:
Putting your marketing in someone else's hands is a big deal. Take the time to get to know the agencies you are considering. For the relationship to be successful, you need to have mutual respect and understand how the relationship will work. Be clear about how you want to communicate.
And, of course, choose an agency that can show you the work they've completed and the results they've achieved for other clients. Make sure they're strong in those areas for which you particularly need their assistance. Their level of knowledge and expertise is critical to making it worth the investment.
2. Share the entire "big picture" of your company
To be effective, your outsourced marketing team needs to be given a deep dive into your market, your customers, and your target audience. They also need to understand your strengths and challenges. What are your pain points and obstacles to greater success? The more you share, the more they will be armed with the necessary information to bring your marketing to the next level. If they don't fully understand the scope of your business, the relationship will be doomed from the start.
3. Take advantage of their expertise
While you're jointly preparing new marketing plans with your agency partner, you also have gained a new, outside perspective into your business. A fresh set of eyes can open up new possibilities for your marketing. Be willing to listen and consider new ideas. Your marketing agency is not your employee; they are your partner. Your willingness to trust them and test new ideas will only make your marketing program stronger.
4. Outline measurable goals
To ensure your relationship with your outsourced marketing company is positive, you need measurable objectives and goals that should be evaluated periodically. Are you looking for more leads? More social media followers? Increased traffic to your website? All of the above? Whatever your goals are, your agency should help you set benchmarks, develop a realistic approach, and be able to show you the numbers that showcase progress. By outlining measurable goals, you'll have a clearer picture of your outsourcing ROI.
5. Review and refine
Working alongside a marketing agency is like any relationship – it will grow and evolve, and you may need to make some adjustments along the way. As you work together on different projects, it will become clear how often you want to communicate about the work involved and check in on the overall marketing plan. If there's something new you'd like to try or even something you'd like to bring back in-house, be sure to discuss and get feedback. Frequent and honest c communication is critical.
Once you find that agency you feel comfortable and confident with, your marketing has nowhere to go but up! Keeping in mind the importance of feedback and transparency, you should enjoy years of a positive and productive relationship.
Hopefully, that gives you some background and maybe sparks some additional questions. For a more in-depth look at outsourced marketing, check out our comprehensive resource – The Essential Outsourced Marketing Handbook: Growing Your Business with an Agency Partner.