It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No… it’s… a marketing manager! *gasp* *applause* — Otherwise known to the B2B world as the lead-generating unsung hero of the everyday SMB.
Over the years, a number of our clients have come to us already bringing some very legitimate marketing know-how and experience to the opening conversations. These particular clients, often filling the role of “Marketing Manager” or “Marketing Specialist” at their respective companies, are well studied and well read, typically characterized by impeccable organization skills, a knack for communication, and the instinct to take the bull by the horns and make things happen. Not to mention they can fly, too… no big deal.
Though a lot is rightfully expected of these caped superstars, sometimes a marketing manager’s DIY-minded supervisor doesn’t quite understand the expertise, tools, or time necessary to accomplish a wide variety of tasks all at once. This, in turn, renders the value added by an outsourced marketing firm difficult to convey. Why should they hire an outsider when the manager should be taking care of all that?
Well, let’s be honest. SMB marketing managers, whether or not they are working with a small in-house team, are responsible for just about every marketing task you can drum up – generating and nurturing quality leads, improving the company website, managing and writing content, monitoring data analytics, developing campaigns, optimizing copy and the list goes on and on and on.
Although these individuals may be filled to the brim with talent, they are still individuals. And while the urgency to finish major tasks grows, their jobs become even more difficult when they’re continually asked by the CEO or other team members to assist with additional account projects. All while trying to achieve rapid results and streamline implementation of new strategic initiatives. Sound at all familiar?
The bottom line: When a sheer lack of bandwidth, resources and/or support staff exists alongside a full plate of marketing to-dos, managers are unable to effectively dive as deeply into projects as they should be, while other tasks simultaneously become delayed. And we get it.
That’s when outsourced marketing solutions come to the rescue.
When outsourcing makes sense…
When your job is to plan and execute all marketing tasks as efficiently and effectively as possible, you can’t afford to be spread too thin. No matter what kind of mutant marketing powers you exhibit, you’ll likely be simmering some of your priorities on the back burner for far too long and deadlines will crumble shortly thereafter.
With that said, you certainly don’t want to spend chunks of time on something you’re choosing to pay someone else to do. Am I right? The busiest of marketing managers need a reliable, knowledgeable partner who understands both their business and the demands on their position within the framework of their company. But exactly how does outsourcing work?
Often times, outsourced marketing is manifested in a monthly set of well-rounded services. Though in some cases, especially when test-driving a new firm, the outsourced job can take the form of a specific pressing project. A few examples? We’ve previously kicked off new engagements with clients by:
- Planning out their content marketing program
- Completing an optimization project
- Executing a full-scale website redesign… or even just a simple refresh
- Developing and implementing new lead nurturing email campaigns
- Interpreting analytics and subsequently making appropriate business decisions
More often than not, the work and success only snowballs from there… And we love it!
What’s more, one reason we enjoy teaming up with marketing managers is because they “get” the marketing and they get excited about it. Marketing managers also usually have a good sense of what they are capable of in a given time frame and what they actually need help with. It’s this relationship of mutual understanding that fosters a positive view of the engagement from both sides.
And when a challenge stems from convincing the CEO or company owner that outsourcing truly does contribute value, the right outsourced marketing firm will be able to confidently complete and bill deliverables in a manner that will please all stakeholders and make the marketing manager look great in the process!
What marketing managers should look for in an agency:
Every Batman has his Robin, right? But to create that dynamic duo is easier said than done. Here are some qualities marketing managers should seek out when researching various outsourced marketing options:
Long-term potential – B2B companies don’t mess around. The sales cycle is typically too complex to be dealing with Jokers who aren’t in it for the long haul. Marketing managers should be looking for a partnership – enhanced by effective communication practices. It’s important to work with an agency supported by people who share your core values and a similar company culture.
Responsiveness – When you first contact a vendor, you should expect a quick response – within 24 hours at least. Especially when much of the relationship relies on communication, you need to know your agency takes your inquiries seriously and recognizes that your business is their business.
Rave reviews – When scoping out a prospective partner’s website, zip right on over to the case studies section and pick out some client testimonials. Has the firm solved problems or worked on projects like yours before? Consider the types of results the company is showcasing and compare to its competitors.
An industry leader – Of course, you want to be working with the best. Who doesn’t? But determining whether or not the firm is an innovative leader can be tricky. What sets this firm apart from the pack? One way companies demonstrate thought leadership is through their blog, so take the time to check out some relevant posts that correlate with your business needs.
Flexibility – Always ask for pricing information and be up front about the terms on which you could establish the outsourced marketing engagement. The more pricing and project options available to you, the better your chance of appealing to your CEO and highlighting your own research savvy.
And what they should avoid…
Egos and divas – Agency reps should be kicking their attitudes to the curb. Do you want to work with someone who speaks to you in a condescending manner? Well, that’s a no-brainer. But no matter your experience level, it’s critical you work with a partner who values your expertise, as well as your background in marketing.
A shady sales process – Honesty and transparency go a long way. If you’re sensing the opposite, trust your instincts and politely disengage.
B2Anybody agencies – Don’t put stock into a firm offering blanket outsourced marketing solutions for every kind of business, claiming expertise in all areas. You’re much better off finding a company that specializes in your industry and/or has experience marketing from a B2B perspective.
Marketing managers, we salute you! We hope you found this blog post helpful in determining whether or not investing in outsourced marketing solutions is the right choice for your business. And we certainly appreciate your feedback.
If you’re seriously considering outsourcing but you’re still on the fence about partnering up with an agency, you can also check out our free resources for more information: 7 Signs You’re Ready to Outsource Your Marketing and The Benefits of Outsourced Marketing. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight! :)