Pros and Cons of In-Sourcing Marketing

Marketing is a critical element of any business. Small businesses rarely understand its impact and choose to in-source this vital function by attaching it to another job function. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of in-sourcing marketing and its impact on the health of the business.

Many business owners feel that their marketing strategies are decent. But, decent no longer makes the cut. Putting in countless hours may not convert into increased sales. You may end up frustrated, and wonder, “How do we get into the mind of prospective customers?” “What do we need to do to ‘sell’ our product or service?” And apart from selling, you might wonder “What is marketing anyway?”

Marketing can be a scary and expensive sounding concept. From start to finish, marketing is a daunting and time consuming task. Marketing seems to be an umbrella term for a whole host of different things. Getting someone to buy in to what you’re selling should be simple. We all like to think of ourselves as creative and charismatic, so why can’t we just try and do this ourselves?

marketing-cloudWell, we can. Small businesses may opt to take on their own projects with in house marketing. It saves on cost to DIY most projects, but does that apply to marketing? Well, not really. What you may save in money you definitely spend in opportunity costs. These are costs in time, effort, frustration. These rack up fast when you could be doing other things. For example, focusing on making your product or service the best it can be. Coming up with strategies for growth. Even maintaining a work/life balance. These tend to go out the window when you try to take on your own marketing “unsupervised”. It’s a steep learning curve and can be a slippery slope. You can spend hours on marketing which doesn’t translate to immediately increased sales. You may end up discouraged. Most small to medium business have a limited marketing budget. Someone has to take on marketing responsibilities on top of their actual job.

On the upside, no one knows you quite like you do. You can choose your message and preserve it. You care about what you’re selling! A personal touch can be much preferred. Outsourcing marketing can leave you with a a generic strategy. Doing it yourself gives you complete control of the outcome. But, this does tend to come at the cost of quality and timeliness of production. You’re already juggling what seems like a thousand deadlines. Do you want to add more to your plate?

So, what are the alternatives? You could hire an in-house staff or freelance marketer. Or, you could outsource the marketing to a specialised company. Both options cost more than DIY marketing. But, as we discussed, there is more to a cost than just the bottom dinar. The opportunity cost savings here make both of these viable, desirable options.

By hiring a freelance marketer, you keep the marketing somewhat in house. You have more control of the message, and they are easier to reach. This helps you to focus on what you do best. You are great at running the business and making sure that your product or service is the best it can be. Taking that marketing weight off your shoulders can be a huge relief. The benefits more than repay the salary of the professional you’ve hired on. However, there are some downsides. This is only one person. You are getting one person’s specific style and capabilities. While budget friendly, you are asking your hire to put on a whole lot of different hats. Not all hats may fit; your hire may not wear them all equally well. Marketing is a wide concept. It covers research, budgeting. Carrying out advertisement and writing copy. Scripting and executing marketing and communications videos. Designing and implementing PPC strategies. Website and SEO analytics. You want to make sure that your marketing is of the highest possible quality from start to finish. What’s more, someone trained in marketing analytics may not be a gifted designer. You’ll still end up needing to outsource one or more aspects of the job.

Bringing in an external marketing company has these bases covered. Many small and medium sized companies balk at the idea of bringing on an outside marketing firm. “But they don’t know us, they don’t know what we’re about!” Is an objection often heard. True, but this is their area of expertise. Allow them to get to know you, and they can keep your message intact, and amplified! You’re freed up to do your own thing, letting them focus on selling what you’re about. You are still in control. You get the final sign off on all marketing materials. From market research to analytics and advertising— you decide the message. Being dedicated marketing professionals means that this is what they do. From start to finish, they have specialised, qualified people to do the job. Each person on the team wears their own hat, and wears it well. Each aspect of your marketing plan remains consistent and to the highest possible quality. External marketing houses have resources that you may not have access to. Marketing houses may already have focus groups in place. They rely on market research statistics that they have taken years to generate. Their company is teeming with qualified, hired experts. Marketing is based on facts and years of experience instead of instincts and heuristics. Hiring an external marketing agency tends to be the most costly option monetarily. As a trade of, it’s the least costly in terms of time, effort and your frustration. If you want a job done right, trust it to the experts.

How does your company take on its marketing challenges? Have you tried hiring an in-house or freelance marketer? What experiences have you had using the expertise of marketing agencies? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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