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Outsourcing is big business these days. Indeed, the global outsourcing market was worth $85.6 billion in 2018, with $23.6 billion of that spending coming from the outsourcing of back-office or internal business functions.
There are many reasons why a business might choose to outsource certain tasks, such as digital marketing. For instance, some of our clients come to us — a digital advertising agency — because they struggle to find qualified advertising employees. Others don’t have the funds to hire full-time staff, they have too much work to handle or they need a particular type of expertise that they don’t have in-house.
Handling all of your digital marketing in-house has its own advantages, of course. If you have the business to support the staff, equipment and all the other needs that doing everything in-house can require, then keeping your staff under one roof can be great.
There are both pros and cons to outsourcing your digital marketing. If you’re on the fence about whether to outsource, consider the following:
Pro: Regaining Focus On Core Operations
Unless you’re a fellow advertising agency, digital marketing likely isn’t your business’s primary task. In fact, you’re probably juggling an immense number of jobs every day. This is often especially true for small businesses that lack the resources of larger companies. Marketing can seem like a frustratingly necessary secondary task. While digital marketing can be crucial for your business, effective marketing typically requires time, effort, resources and manpower. You might not have these to spare. Outsourcing your digital marketing can free you and your staff up to focus on your core roles and responsibilities. This, in turn, may enable you to reallocate your resources to other tasks that can help facilitate growth.
Con: Relinquishing Control
When you have in-house marketing staff, you often get to see them every day. If a question arises, you may be able to pop your head into their office and get it answered right then and there. This isn’t the case when you outsource. It can be nerve-wracking to rely on someone who doesn’t work in your office, and possibly not even in your own time zone, to complete tasks without you being there to manage them directly.
Pro: Cutting Down On Costs
Outsourcing is often used to save companies money. Indeed, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 59% of the executives surveyed said they outsource because it helps them cut costs. Outsourcing often costs less than hiring employees because you don’t have to consider “sick pay, benefits or any of the other extras that pile on top of a normal employee’s salary, and it grants you more flexibility, as you can bring them in as work arises,” writes the founder of a virtual business services firm in an article for Business.com. This often equates to extra money in your pockets.
Con: Potential Outsourcing To Others Without Your Knowledge
In our experience, some business leaders believe that when they outsource to a contractor or a firm, they then send their campaign to others, sometimes overseas, and cash in big at the business’s expense. Unfortunately, this does happen, and in worst-case scenarios, it can lead to a whole host of problems stemming from distance and language barriers.
Pro: Working With Industry Experts Who Have A Singular Focus
People who spend all day immersed in digital marketing tend to know it inside and out. Since their whole focus is in that area, they’re often the first to notice any changes (such as in best practices) that happen. When companies work with such industry experts, they get the benefit of their expertise. Consider this quote often attributed to Bruce Lee: “I don’t fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
A company who outsources to a specialist also gets the benefit of the specialist’s team and network. I think companies can benefit from an outsider’s perspective as well.
Con: Contractor Turnover
In any business, people come and go, and the same goes for the contractors you outsource to and the representatives and subcontractors you work with at firms you’ve partnered with. This can sometimes leave your digital marketing campaign’s fate up in the air as you and/or your partner work out who should take over your campaign.
Deciding whether to outsource or not comes down to what works best for you and your business. Whatever struggles you’re experiencing now, there are likely going to be struggles on the other side, too. It just comes down to which ones make less of an impact on you and help you run your business better. Make a pros and cons list of your own, and decide for yourself.
If you decide to outsource your marketing, the best way to ensure success in your partnership is to shop carefully. Read reviews, talk to current clients and vet the person or organization you’re thinking about partnering with before you commit. If you’re hiring in-house marketing staff, much of the same advice applies. It’s important to know the people you’re entrusting your marketing campaigns to and be able to trust that what they’re doing won’t make your business look bad.
April 3, 2019 at 10:47AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs