How Your Company Can Use Both Outsourced and In-House Marketing
Recognize knowledge gaps, then use that as a guide.
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I run a marketing agency, yet I'm the first to say that outsourcing all your marketing is probably the wrong move. For many companies, an in-house marketing team is the best option, and outsourcing marketing should only be done for special projects. However, having a full-time marketing team isn't a luxury all midsize companies can afford. However, without one, you can miss out on opportunities to grow faster and increase profits.
If you feel your marketing team is lacking a few key people because they're just too darned expensive, you aren't alone. According to All Business Schools, the annual salary for a single marketer ranges from $61,000 to more than $120,000 -- which is more than just a drop in the bucket for growing companies.
This is why many smaller businesses choose to outsource their marketing talent. Some may hire an outsourced CMO like Chris Knudsen, Anfernee Chansamooth or Randy Scott, or a company that can function as such, like Hawke Media. Individuals and companies like this make suggestions and decisions on how best to market your services without breaking the bank on a dedicated in-house team.
While outsourcing your marketing to a more experienced partner may be the best bet for some, it isn't necessarily what all companies need. You may have a partially filled team and simply want to ensure you've got everything covered. For anyone in this boat, here are the essential knowledge gaps you need to fill so you don't sink:
1. Tech knowledge.
The number of systems required to integrate distribution channels and marketing mediums is mind-blowing. "You have to have much more than a cursory understanding of the underlying technologies involved in the entire ecosystem to successfully establish metrics that enable you to manage a marketing program," says Christine Alemany, chief growth advisor for Trailblaze Growth Advisors.
Technology changes with the wind, and even if your marketing team is up to speed in nine out of 10 areas, it's better to outsource that one project that can't be completed well internally. Video production, for example, can be a big blind spot for many marketing teams, but there's no need to leave your company's recruitment video to a shaky hand and a camcorder. Agencies such as Creatably can provide strategic and creative advice on how to create viral content while others like Lemonlight Media can deliver high-quality visual content at a fraction of what you might think.
2. Long-form copywriting.
Traditional marketers are mostly well-versed in witty slogans and short-form messaging. But in the age of internet research, long-form content is increasingly becoming a go-to method for consumers to learn more about brands, products and services. People don't hate long-form content, they hate bad long-form content. If it seems like people have shorter attention spans today, it may be because they have a higher number of good options to choose from, and they know it.
Long-form content has a long list of benefits, including higher online visibility, higher rates of social engagement, better link-building opportunities and reliable website authority. Further, it helps tell your brand story and establish authenticity with your audience.
3. Cross-departmental cooperation.
One of the most powerful functions of a marketing team is how its efforts can bleed into other departments and benefit every corner of your operations, not just sales. Recruitment marketing, in particular, is a swiftly growing area, with companies utilizing marketing expertise to attract the best potential team members and strengthen the organization as a whole.
The process for finding top talent should come long before you post your job opening -- even before a potential new hire starts looking for a new job. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, nearly 70 percent of companies have now switched tactics, employing consumer marketing strategies and technology to find new team members and educate them on their organization. Building a proper team is critical to your business's success. It shouldn't be left to chance.
4. Social media agility.
Though you may not be willing to admit it, you likely find it difficult to disconnect from the social media sphere -- whether you want to or not. Because consumers are never off the grid, they now expect customer service to be as active online as they are.
However, most companies haven't made themselves as accessible as audiences would like. Sprout Social states that since 2013, the number of customers wanting a response from a company via social media has more than doubled, yet nearly 90 percent of messages go unanswered for 72 hours.
Because one in three social media users now prefers to use social media for customer service, according to Social Media Today, it's expected that companies engage across multiple platforms.
No one person, no matter how adept, can do all the marketing needed for a midsize company. By determining what can be done in-house and what's best suited for an outsourced company, money will be saved, solutions will be found, and your ship will sail smoother than ever before.