When it comes to manufacturing firms beefing up their marketing engine, there are several options for business owners and executives to consider: hire an in-house marketing team, utilize various consultants for singular functions (such as graphic design or content creation), or outsource all marketing activities to a full-service agency.
While each choice has its own pros and cons, many manufacturers are discovering that hiring an outside agency to handle their marketing communications just makes sense – from a financial, technological and efficiencies standpoint. Let’s dive into why outsourcing may be the right fit for your B2B manufacturing business – including a few tips and best practices along the way.
Want to work with people who already know the best way to achieve business growth results for your manufacturing business? When you outsource your marketing to an experienced agency (one that’s demonstrated they’ve successfully helped other players in the industrial manufacturing industry), you immediately gain access to a talent pool of marketers who have the expertise to research, create and implement proven marketing strategies that yield the outcomes you’re looking for. With a deep knowledge of various marketing methodologies (inbound, outbound, account-based, etc.), independent agencies can provide your business with fresh, innovative ideas and strategic solutions tailored to your prospects and customers. No hand holding required… priceless.
Pro Tip: When evaluating different agencies, be on the lookout for blog content that specifically addresses marketing challenges that manufacturing businesses experience. Also be sure you have access to social proof of results – case studies, testimonials or customer references are more important than ever in this competitive environment.
Outsourced agencies are typically held to a higher standard than individual freelancers and must be accountable for ensuring a positive ROI. Always mindful of delivering results, most agencies are fanatical about reviewing marketing analytics, monitoring and tracking initiatives, and tweaking campaigns to deliver optimal outcomes for their clients.
Pro Tip: It’s important to build trust with your agency as early as possible. The Harvard Business Review recently released a report stating that 80% of CEOs don’t trust their CMO (to give context, the second highest percentage was 10% regarding their CIO and CFO). Wow! To reduce ambiguity in your outsourcing engagement, jointly set both realistic goals and a communication schedule with your marketing agency at the start, and then establish a consistent reporting process or standing meeting where results are shared.
To be able to measure results and effectively market and sell to prospects and customers, it’s critical to have access to the latest and greatest tools. However, many in-house MFG marketing departments are at the bottom of IT’s priority list and thereby technologically challenged. With over 4,000 marketing tools from which to choose, who has the time and bandwidth to do the research on which platforms make the most sense for your business? An outsourced agency will have experience with the most up-to-date and useful digital marketing and analytical tools – HubSpot, Google Analytics, AdWords, BuzzSumo, and the list goes on. Plus, they can do all the “tech” work for you, providing guidance, implementation services and support to keep you ahead of the technology curve and your competitors.
Pro Tip: A typical concern for many manufacturers is: will new marketing technology integrate with our current sales and CRM systems? In most cases, the answer is yes. Marketing and Sales will have access to the same real-time data with the right integrations in place, thus aligning their efforts and enabling them to work towards the same goals. And if the answer is no, you’re likely using a clunky system that needs an overhaul – and your business will greatly benefit from the technology changes your agency can walk you through.
Particularly when you take into account employee training and benefits, most marketing agency retainers are a fraction of the cost of hiring a complete in-house marketing team – and they require minimal or no long-term commitment. When you partner with an agency, you have access to a deep bench of marketing specialists, including strategists, writers, graphic artists, SEO experts and social media gurus. For most manufacturing businesses, having in-house access to all these experts would be cost prohibitive.
Pro Tip: As an added benefit, hiring an agency reduces other overhead costs… think office space, computers, travel, etc. and your marketing won’t come to a halt due to illness or vacation. Agencies will also have better procedural knowledge and built-in processes for getting things done the best and most efficient way. Remember, time is money!
Most manufacturing companies experience periods of growth throughout the year, offset by seasonally slower periods. With an outsourced agency, you can easily scale your marketing depending on your specific needs, perhaps cutting back during the slower weeks and ramping up when launching a new product or gearing up for a big trade show. While your agency will likely have a minimum retainer for you to meet, outsourcing generally allows you the flexibility to have access to the amount of man hours you require during certain months.
Pro Tip: Even during slow months, your marketing agency can create assets for you that remain evergreen and usable time and time again. Or these periods can be used to update and clean up your website, assist sales with new collateral, research and test new marketing techniques your business hasn’t tried yet, and more. There is always marketing that can be done to propel your business forward!
Interested in learning more about how outsourcing could benefit your business? Contact us today to request a complimentary marketing and website assessment – and we'll work together to identify the best ways to quickly generate qualified leads for your sales team.
Tracy Horton has been an integral part of PMG since 2015. She’s a strategy, sales, technology and SaaS ninja, and loves to write about sales and marketing integration (as ninjas do). While she’s fighting off the evil forces of low SEO rankings and poor marketing strategy, she somehow finds the time to write blogs – and loves hearing from readers. So, if you want to know more, let her know!