MM 069 – Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Marketing

This week we discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing marketing. Learn about pitfalls to avoid, 5 questions to ask when you are deciding whether or not to outsource and a few great examples.

Highlights:

  • Manufacturers are well positioned to go through the process of choosing whether or not to outsource because they are likely to already have a process in place for other business functions. Here are 5 questions to ask: [4:00]
    1. What is the specific work that you want to accomplish?
    2. What is the frequency of the particular marketing activity?
    3. Do you have an in-house resource that can do the work?
    4. What is the cost for us to do the same work in-house?
    5. What is the opportunity cost to do it in-house?
  • One of the important considerations for risk is that you are going to have to devote time to your outsourced resource. If you are unable to devote time to communications and management, the outsourcing project will not be effective and productive. [9:10]

  • Outsourcing can be a very efficient means to get your marketing activities done. [12:00]
  • To find good fit agencies or consultants to outsource consider LinkedIn groups, colleagues, web search or local business networking groups. Find a company that is already doing the activity that you need to get done. [13:55]
  • Pitfalls to avoid include, choosing based on lowest price, watch out for buying more than you need especially when it comes to technology, not having the capacity to communicate with your outsourced marketer. [18:50]

Interview Questions:

Question 1 –  Steve, what are some important considerations a manufacturer should look at when they are trying to decide if they should or should not outsource marketing or a portion of their marketing?

What are the risks a manufacturer should be aware of with outsourcing?

What are the possible gains a manufacturer could realize from outsourcing?

Question 2 –  OK, let’s say there’s a manufacturing marketing leader out there who has decided they are ready to outsource. What are the first steps to take? Is there a process they should go through?

Question 3 – The biggest question on the minds of some listeners might be, “How do I find the right agency for me?” Could you offer some advice on finding a best fit agency?

Question 4 – How about pitfalls? I’m sure there are some folks out there who have had bad experiences with outsourcing. What are 3 to 5 pitfalls to look out for when outsourcing marketing?

Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes from a business development manager at a packaging equipment manufacturer. Here it is, “The reason for my email is that I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction of other packaging equipment manufacturers that have been approaching marketing this way (stopping the product pitch and sharing expertise). Even with the metrics, I’m having a hard time getting management to see the value. My thought is, if I can build a portfolio of examples of similar type companies along with our metrics, that I can successfully demonstrate the opportunity it holds for us.”

  • Share some examples of what competitors are doing, even if it is the opposite. Show opportunity or even create a little fear that the competition is moving ahead with a similar tactic.
  • It will be hard to find manufacturers who are using this tactic. That, in itself, is the opportunity. Be the first. Be the early adopter. The winners will be the first movers. Do an A-B test comparing a product webinar to a knowledge based webinar to prove the concept. The best way to get buy-in is to show how the strategy is driving revenue.

Takeaways:

  • It’s not too late to put your marketing strategy in place for the year.
  • Marketing is a skill set, not something that can be done on the fly or as a side activity.
  • Know what you need before you start to search for a firm to outsource marketing.
  • Outsourcing can be a very efficient and effective way to get marketing done, but it’s not the solution for all firms.

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