The “build vs. buy” question of what companies should outsource and what they should take on as internal projects have expanded to marketing. The increasing specialization and sophistication of marketing in the age of search engine optimization, content marketing, and inbound marketing is leading many companies to ask whether to hire, train, and manage these functions internally or to engage an expert partner that already has the expertise and experience to run marketing programs. Startups, with smaller budgets and aggressive timelines, can gain important efficiencies by outsourcing marketing functions to an experienced team. Here are 3 reasons why outsourcing marketing functions makes sense for startups.
- Time. For many companies, especially in specialized B2B businesses like manufacturing, construction, or medical technology, the demands of marketing can be a distraction from core business functions like product development, sales, and customer service. This often happens when the same person responsible for sales is also responsible for marketing. Sales generally gets the most attention because sales numbers are the metrics that are measured every month and quarter. Marketing—blogging, direct email, SEO, calls to action on the website, press outreach—often gets shelved. Unfortunately, when this happens, the flow leading into the sales team tends to dry up. Finding a good partner that knows how to optimize websites and lead generation online can quickly get leads flowing again, while the sales team can remain focused on following up and closing sales.
- Expertise. The rise of online search as a way of life has changed marketing and sales. The customer is in control, searching online to explore options well before contacting a potential supplier. Engaging target audiences while they search is part science and part art—the science is the SEO methodology of properly constructing web pages around search engine rules; while the art is the creating of quality content that people want to read and share. Success requires continually monitoring results and updating content, keywords and calls to action that will generate leads. Not every sales or marketing director has the right experience in-house to establish and manage this kind of marketing program.
- Budget. Some companies simply find it more efficient to outsource marketing on a “pay as you go” basis instead of hiring internal resources and being obligated to keep full-time employees busy. This is particularly challenging as marketing skills and tools becomes specialized and practices like web development, search engine optimization, marketing automation, customer relationship management, public relations, and event management require more skills and experience than a single employee will typically possess. Rather than try to build an internal team on a limited budget, it can be more cost-effective and more successful to use an agency as an extension of a company, with the skills and experience needed to create and execute an effective strategy.
Outsourcing marketing to an experienced team with the necessary skills and tools already in place can give startups an important head start when it comes to marketing. This can allow the company’s resources to be focused on product development and sales, and let marketing scale as the company grows. With success, the company may choose to build an internal marketing team or to hire a manager that can work with a marketing agency and other marketing partners.