Should You Outsource Digital Marketing for Your Business?

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For most companies, digital marketing is essential to growing and retaining their customer base. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses are in the dark when it comes to implementing and managing this type of marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, an informal poll conducted by Smart Insights revealed that half of the businesses that use digital marketing don't have a working marketing plan to go on.

But before you hash out the details on when and where to launch your digital campaigns, you'll first need to figure out who will get the job done for you. There are two approaches to tackling this problem: go in-house or outsource.

The Case for In-House Digital Marketing

A lot of companies take advantage of the abundant resources, current online technology and available information on strategies and techniques to manage an in-house digital marketing group. After all, there are several advantages to going this route, most important of which is saving money. Hiring a third-party marketing agency can be relatively expensive considering you'll need to cover their costs as well as their "markups". Another advantage would be having a dedicated team who knows the company's specific goals and are working on a documented digital marketing plan. 

However, one major problem that an in-house team often encounters is the steep learning curve employees without the relevant skill set face. More often than not, this would cause a slower ramp-up time for marketing campaigns. It's also a sad fact that more than half of in-house digital marketers are ineffective because they learned about the system on-the-job, and did not undergo any official training.

Choosing to Outsource Digital Marketing

Outsourcing your digital marketing needs can be very beneficial, particularly if this task is not your forte. Tapping the services of a digital marketing group can give you several advantages, like having a team of experts readily available. This means that you won't have to worry about a marketer going on a vacation or taking a sick leave. Your marketing needs will always come first, regardless of whether there's a holiday or not.

One big advantage of using a digital marketing agency is the insight it can give your business. Employers are often so consumed by the day-to-day running of the company that they don't have time to understand the business more deeply, like studying what brings prospective clients to the site or how to optimize the company's online presence. An unbiased set of eyes will give you a new outlook on how to handle your marketing needs. These marketing experts are also likely to be more up-to-date on the latest techniques and strategies being utilized in digital marketing circles.

Perhaps the most important benefit outsourcing your digital needs give is that you get to focus on what's crucial to your company. Businesses who opt to outsource do so in order to keep the marketing process separate from the company's core operations. By being distinct, the marketers have more freedom to develop and execute winning marketing strategies and keep up with changing business needs.

Graphic via Quartsoft.com

Should You Outsource Your Digital Marketing Needs?

Before you make a decision on whether to outsource your digital marketing needs, take the time to determine what you really need in terms of marketing. You should also consider the following when you begin your search for an outside marketing agency:

  • Your Company's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Knowing what your KPIs are will help narrow down what you need help with and what the marketing agency can do for you. KPIs will influence the strategy the agency will suggest, as conversions, traffic, cost and revenue per lead are key KPIs for businesses. Which means this is the first question any reputable digital marketing company would ask. Consider it a red flag if the agency doesn't inquire about it. Conversely, you should also ask digital marketing specialists what they think about your KPIs and how to optimize it. A good company would help you pinpoint weaknesses in your current marketing strategy and introduce new ideas and strategies to help you get the best results for your business.
  • The Digital Agency's Track Record: Don't take recommendations at face value. Do your due diligence and check the marketing company's track record. Ask what types of clients they have handled before and their success record. Most agencies would have case studies and a portfolio on hand. But bear in mind that some clients do ask for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). However, agencies that can't provide a single client to show or refer should not be taken seriously.

While there are other factors to consider, the bottom line is that outsourcing your digital marketing needs would depend on what you actually need. If you want to hit targets consistently and predictably then maybe an in-house team is the way to go. But if you want to focus all your energy on the core aspects of your business, then a digital marketing agency can save you time and offer more flexiblity.

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  • Another aspect to consider when outsourcing is the importance of ownership data, where it is housed and who can access it. Data ownership TOS for several marketing companies can end up being a complex issue, which can lead to tricky legal or contractual situations.