11 December 2019

Should you outsource your marketing?

Julie Brook
Written by Julie Brook

Julie Brook is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 30 years’ senior marketing experience in food, drink, hospitality and jewellery sectors with brands including San Miguel, Greenall’s Pubs and Restaurants, and HPJ Jewellers.

Should you outsource your marketing

Should you outsource your business’ marketing or keep it in-house? 

You might expect us to answer this question with an emphatic  ‘outsource your marketing to marketing experts’. But here’s where we might surprise you. 

Marketing encompasses everything a business does to drive sales and promote its brand; from advertising to direct marketing to digital marketing, market research, PR, product development - even distribution methods.

When you consider how fundamental these elements are to the core functions of any business, the idea of outsourcing the marketing function seems entirely counterintuitive. 

You know your business, you work on it every day and you’re best placed to develop a cohesive marketing strategy.

At The Marketing Centre, we firmly believe a business’ owner or its senior leadership team should maintain in-house ownership of the marketing strategy. But when it comes to delivering that strategy, there can be many benefits to calling in external help. 

Here’s how to strike the right balance between in-house ownership and outsourced delivery of your business’ marketing.

The advantages of in-house marketing

Marketing is your business. Without buyers or prospects, brand or reach you have no business. It’s not optional – it’s a business fundamental. 

If your marketing strategy isn’t up to scratch, your bottom line will suffer and you won’t achieve your growth potential. That’s why it’s crucial that there’s someone in-house who owns and oversees your marketing at a senior level. It’s also equally crucial that there’s constant communication between this individual and the rest of the senior management team. Marketing doesn’t work in a bubble - it needs to be fully integrated with all other aspects of business. Therefore it’s vital that the rest of the team understand and engage with the marketing strategy on an ongoing basis.

If you don’t have a senior marketing expert in-house, you can either hire someone specifically for this role or consider in-sourcing a part-time marketing expert from an organisation like The Marketing Centre. 

This is not the same thing as hiring a marketing consultant. 

The Marketing Centre is an organisation of marketing experts who join businesses as part-time Marketing Directors. Rather than offering a consultant-style approach, they become part of your in-house team, getting actively involved with the day-to-day working of your business.

As the business leader, it’s likely you are currently the person who oversees your marketing. This could be because you are genuinely the best person to do so, but often it’s because you have been managing it from day one, and it’s simply remained that way. 

But if you’re not a marketing expert, hiring someone to come in-house and help develop and execute your strategy will make a big difference in driving business growth. Not only will they have the necessary skills to implement change but they’ll also be able to view your business objectively. This is not the same as relinquishing control, or ownership, of your entire strategy and walking away. You can, and should, still oversee marketing and remain actively involved at a strategic level. An experienced marketing professional will be able to help you shape, implement and drive that strategy forward.

What role does outsourcing play in marketing?

This is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends on the particulars of your business: your field, your budget, your specific problems, and many other variables. 

In general, as long as you have in-house control of your overall strategy, areas like web development, PR and branding are the types of deliverables you may want to outsource. 

So, what are the benefits of outsourced marketing?

  • You get access to specialists who focus on their particular area of expertise every day. Their experience and knowledge can be especially valuable if you have specific pain points that you’re struggling to alleviate. For example: if you’re trying to grow your business by generating new leads or if a competitor has disrupted the market and is winning your customers.
  • Outsourcing is ideal if you need fast, short term support on a particular campaign or project. For example, if you’re trying to break into new geographical markets but have no knowledge of them or if you’re launching a completely new product and need expert advice.
  • You can learn competencies from outsourced support which are then transferred to your in-house team. If a marketing expert comes in and creates new processes, this is something that can continue even after they leave.
  • Outsourcing elements of your marketing allows your existing team to focus on their areas of expertise rather than having to wing it in areas that they’re not so expert in. 

Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. It’s too important to be left exclusively to juniors in the marketing department or to be outsourced in its entirety. At a strategic level, marketing must be owned and overseen by the CEO or business owner. But that doesn’t mean that the individual components of that strategy shouldn’t be outsourced. Calling in expert help when needed is, in itself, a strategic move - one which can help your business achieve new levels of growth.

If you want to find out more about how our in-source marketing directors can help your business, drop us a line today.


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