At one stage as a small business it was possible to do your marketing in-house, much like you might do your book-keeping and manage staff. Now SMBs are outsourcing their marketing as the landscape has changed.
Here are some of the reasons:
1. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years and has become more specialised. It has become more technical with more areas of specialisation. Think of the landscape for today; google SEO, Adwords, customer databases, social media, event management branding, mobile marketing, marketing automation,PR, research,telemarketing and strategic planning. Each of these areas of marketing requires a certain skill set and so while managers can get there it is very time consuming and not a good use of the time.
2.The breadth of marketing touch points now reflect the buyers journey. Because our customers are using different tools and resources to find us than they once did (i.e. word of mouth and advertising before and now social media, websites, reviews on line, etc) our marketing needs to be where our customers are and this has created more marketing avenues to be ontop of. It is time consuming and almost impossible for a SMB manager to do this and run the operations of a business.
3.Customers do more of their journey without interacting with sales. THe role of sales has reduced and the role of marketing has increased because of customer behaviour. We do our research before we engage with a company we want to buy from be it buying a new car or health insurance. It is marketing job to provide those resources, tools and advice where the customers are looking and so content creation has become a big part of the marketing mix. Content is time consuming and these days also requires SEO and customer mindset to be effective.
4. Marketing has become more scientific as we have access to more data. From google, social media, email campaigns, forms, third party research we are now able to know more about what marketing is working and what isn’t and improve it month on month. We are also able to see what our customers want and adjust on the fly. The issue is most SMB don’t have the time.
5. Having a cohesive marketing approach is more important than ever before. We have all been to that website that has a post that was done over 12 months ago, seen a logo on a business card that doesn’t match the letterhead or gone to search a person on LinkedIn not to find their profile. Having an integrated marketing approach is critical to gaining trust and a consistent profile and marketing approach is now more visible.
6.If marketing is not your core business outsourcing frees you up to focus on what you are good at. Outsourcing can be a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time marketer and many times they might not have the core skill set that you need in all the areas of marketing. This variable cost of outsourcing means you can plug and play as you need but still have that expertise. Outsourcing also allows you to step away from the tactical and use your business knowledge on the insights that your marketing expert provides to assist you to make better marketing decisions.
7.While it might be tempting to off-shore your marketing make sure you have done the cost V benefit analysis. Some of my clients have gone down the path of odesk, glance, freelancer and alike to outsource their marketing. The regular response I hear is that the time it takes to manage this resource is making the low fee seem irrelevant. So while we are not limited by geographical boundaries any more and we can access any resource, finding someone that you can communicate easily with, understands the local business environment and has the experience will save you time and money. Keep in mind some functions of marketing are make more sense to outsource and others don’t. Even as a marketer I outsource writing, design and SEO as these are highly specialised skills.
8. The key reason for outsourcing to a marketing professional is growth. If you want to continue to grow your business you need a marketing plan and continually be implementing in good times and bad. Marketing has shifted in importance as a lead generation tool and with sales being less influential in the customer journey, marketing has shifted into top gear for many companies.
So it might be time to think about your business model and what you spend time on day to day. If it is doing marketing in when you can and you don’t have the expertise then it might be time to change. If it is not at all and you have ignored marketing, maybe be it is time to rethink that strategy. If you hate marketing but you recognise it is important in generating new business talk to us.