How to Know When to Outsource Digital Marketing
Many small businesses struggle when it comes to business growth. There can be many reasons for this, but often it is because of a lack of attention to (or a lack of success in) marketing activities.
To compete in today’s highly competitive landscape, investments in marketing - specifically, digital marketing - are essential. However, a lot of small businesses have difficulty freeing up the necessary time and resources internally to dedicate to digital marketing.
Digital marketing is a vast and - at times - complex field. So, even in those situations where companies DO have resources allocated to marketing, they often have a difficult time keeping up with the latest trends and best practices that lead to success.
Like many business problems, there is always (typically) more than one solution. With respect to digital marketing, you have a lot of options. You can continue to do it yourself, hire freelancers with specific capabilities, or you can outsource the work entirely.
But how do you know when it's time to hand over the reins and let someone else take over? How can you tell if your current methods are working—or whether they need an overhaul?
The answer lies in understanding the unique value of outsourcing a digital marketing team. First, it’s important to understand how marketing has changed for business and why digital marketing is critical to business success in today's market.
How Marketing Has Changed For Business
Marketing has changed a lot since the term first appeared in the 1900s. At that time, the term was used to describe the activities and entities taking place in “markets”. In 1967, Philip Kotler published his seminal tome, “Marketing Management,” - in which he advanced the key idea that a company’s actions must be driven by customers and their needs.
Kotler, the Father of Modern Marketing, later popularized the idea of the “marketing mix”. This model was based on the 4 P's: Price, Product, Place & Promotion. This was a great strategy for a distribution-focused business and worked well when more people were shopping at fewer places for fewer products. However, it doesn't work as well in today's market.
Today, with globalization, there are more distribution sources than ever & it's never been easier to create a product/service. Consumers have infinite choices and more information (i.e., power) than they have ever had. We live in an era where prospective customers are being bombarded with marketing messages non-stop. Consequently, they have an innumerable amount of choices with whom to work. And many of these prospects have likely never heard of you before.
For that reason, it's critical that businesses understand the importance of partnering with a team that understands how to craft the right marketing message and get that message in front of them—and keep it there!
What You Need
If you're wondering when to outsource digital marketing, there are a few key things to consider. First, think about what kind of message you need to convey—the one that will resonate with your prospective customers and drive them toward action.
Next, you want a team that understands how to create the right message for an audience that does not know who you are and how you'd help them. You also want a team that understands how to reach your prospective customers—to get the right message to the right people at the right time.
You must be able to craft marketing messages that speak to your prospects based on where they are in their buying journey. Are they doing research about the problems they are facing? Are they evaluating your business against other solutions? Are they hot and ready to buy immediately?
For example, if someone is researching their problem, you need content that helps them learn more about it and understand why your solution is the best option. If they're comparing solutions, you need content that shows why yours is better than others. If they're ready to buy, you need content arming them to make the best purchase decision possible.
In other words, you need a team that knows how to:
- Create the right messages (i.e. develop a marketing plan rooted in the buying journey)
- Build the right growth engine for your business (i.e. this is your website)
- Add the best fuel to make that engine perform (i.e. growth marketing tactics)
- Continue optimizing for wins (i.e. analyzing and revising the plan and tactics when necessary)
If your digital marketing team is not equipped with this knowledge and experience, it can be difficult for them to create a strategy that works for your business.
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How to Build Your Team
You have two choices when building your marketing team; in-house or outsourced. We'll start with how to create an in-house team.
When you choose to work with an in-house team, you have full control over the quality of their work, but you also need to ensure that they're always aligned with the business goals. Here's what you need to do:
- Hire a team: If you're looking to build an in-house team, the first thing you'll need to do is hire. The right people can make all the difference when you're trying to grow your business.
- Train the team: Once your new hires are settled in, make sure they have access to all the tools they need—including training materials and relevant software—so they can hit the ground running.
- Create playbooks: Playbooks are vital for any business looking to grow its digital presence; these documents include information about best practices for each aspect of your business's digital marketing strategy. The more detailed your playbooks are, the better for your team.
- Build process: Once your team is ready for prime time, it's time to create strategies for them to follow when working on projects. These processes should be clearly documented, so everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing at all times—from brainstorming ideas through implementation and testing.
- Manage team: Once you've built your team, manage them and have them working hard towards your company's goals. Eventually, it'll be time for continuous improvement. It can be easy for things to fall off track when everyone is busy working on their tasks. It's important that everyone keeps an eye on how things are going overall and makes adjustments as needed so they can continue moving forward toward their goals!
The size and cost of your team will depend on your goals, budget, and resources. If your company is small and you're just starting with digital marketing, this could be a team of at least five people at a cost of $30-40k/month(including management).
Want to learn more? Check out Do I Really Need to Pay Someone to Build my Website?
When choosing an outsourced team, you don't necessarily have complete control over how the work is done—but this can be a good thing! It means that someone else has already done the research for you and figured out what works. This can save time and resources by ensuring that all your efforts are going toward solving your growth problems instead of creating new ones through trial and error.
- Hire an Outsourced Growth Partner: The first step is to hire a growth partner. They can help you figure out what kind of team you need, how many people are needed and where they should be located, what training will be required for the team members, and more.
- Align on Objectives/Goals/Metrics: Once you've hired your growth partner, it's time to align on objectives, goals, and metrics. You want to make sure that both parties are clear on what they're trying to accomplish together.
- Focus on Continuous Results: Unlike an in-house team, they will bring the playbook and the process and manage the team—so you don't have to worry about any of that stuff! You just have to focus on achieving your goals.
When you outsource digital marketing, it could cost $5k-$20k per month for a fractional-to-full-time team.
Outsourcing digital marketing is not only possible but actually highly advantageous for most companies. The benefits of such an approach should extend beyond just cost savings, as outside help can lead to a deeper understanding of your business—leading to long-term strategic planning and more effective execution.
At Digital Momentum, our philosophy is that you should work with an outsourced partner in a hybrid fashion. You work together to set the strategy and ensure the results are accomplishing goals. The outsourced partner brings the playbooks and completes most of the work. Over time as the marketing efforts prove positive, you may start hiring some of those marketing functions in-house, utilizing the same plays that have been working with the outsourced team. Eventually, you may outgrow the outsourced partner by bringing these roles in-house.
If you're still not sure how to know when it's time to outsource your digital marketing team, we'd love to help out. You can watch the Digital Growth Framework video, and if you want more information about how we can help you grow your business, book a call with one of our digital marketing experts today!