Not sure if you should hire an internal marketing specialist (insourcing) or partner with an external agency (outsourcing)? In this piece, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both and which activities you would be better keeping in-house and which would be better to outsource.
Companies that outsource operations do this either because they don’t have the skills in-house, or to free up their internal team to focus on other projects. Often this is a short-term solution to fill a skills gap in the company in order to deliver a piece of work or get a project across the line. It’s also an opportunity to get an outsider’s opinion and expertise when there’s no one internally to make those decisions. However, outsourcing also means that you’ll have no control over how the individual or team you hire externally go about completing or enforcing a campaign or project.
Insourcing is where a company hires and assigns an individual or team within the company to carry out a specific function. This might be business as usual or to implement a specific project. For example, you might hire a content executive to join your team to write and publish blogs and news for your marketing team. Or you might already have someone internally working on your marketing activities and decide to assign them a series of new responsibilities to support your inbound marketing activity.
Outsourcing your marketing efforts can come with a hefty price tag, as you’re paying for an external company or freelancer as opposed to having your own internal team. This cost of this service will vary based on what it is you require, the size of the outside partner (individuals vs agencies), and how many hours or days per month you want them working on your account.
Hiring an internal marketing executive also comes with additional costs. Not only do you need to pay a wage and allocate for sick, holiday and pensions, but you might need to invest in additional training. However, that said, in the long run, the cost of internalising your efforts is generally cheaper than outsourcing.
If you choose to outsource your marketing, you’ll get all the ideas and knowledge that separate specialist or agency has to offer. As a result, you could gain a whole host of ideas you’d never considered as well as their experience of what’s worked for other brands and industries. However, if you choose to work with an agency, you might never meet the consultants working on your project so it can be hard to account for who is responsible for what, and what experience they genuinely have.
Depending on whether you hire an experienced or junior marketer will determine their knowledge of the industry, skill set and confidence. That said, they’ll benefit from being ‘on the ground’ all day, every day within your business. They’ll gain a far deeper insight into how your business operates and what makes you unique. They’ll also have the opportunity to integrate with the rest of your team; giving them invaluable insights.
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We briefly touched on culture above, and while an agency can get a feel for what you do and your company culture through meetings, events and project briefs, this can only go so far.
An internal marketer will live and breathe your business culture, and this will come across in their work. There’s no better person to do your marketing than someone that spends all day, every day as part of your team.
We recently celebrated one of our team’s birthday in-house, and it was effortless for us to snap a picture and share this on our socials. On reflection, we realised that without an internal marketing person, this would have been an opportunity missed. When the unexpected happens, you want to be able to capture these moments and share them online, whether it’s a project launch, a hot topic that you want to release a piece of copy or video about, or maybe just a social post. To communicate this with an agency and wait for them to action can mean missing the mark altogether.
‘Slow-burn’ marketing is the type of activity you want to keep in-house. ‘Always-on’ marketing requires a strong brand and tone of voice, making it much better suited to an internalised marketing specialist who has more exposure to your core values and culture. These activities include:
Campaign activity where you require specialist marketing knowledge can often be easier to outsource; this enables your internal team to generate the ideas, with outside experts on-hand to implement them. Their specialist expertise means they can deliver successful campaigns quickly and effectively, as opposed to your internal team having to learn a new skill and potentially getting it wrong. These activities include:
By having the knowledge of when to outsource versus insource, you’ll benefit from having the right combination of hands-on marketers showcasing your brand while leaving the technical, specialist activities to the experts, as and when you need them.
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