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Emma North

Getting To Grips With Digital Marketing: In-House or Outsourced?

30th Sep 2014 SEO 4 minutes to read


Cost Benefit Analysis Of Outsourcing Digital MarketingBusinesses of all sizes often face decisions and dilemmas in many areas of the business as to what should be outsourced and which are more cost-efficient when retained in-house. This is particularly true for marketing services, where specific skills are essential for achieving good ROI.

Today I’ve looked at the benefits and disadvantages of different levels of outsourcing for Digital Marketing services, from in-house to consultancy to fully outsourced services.

Outsourcing Digital Marketing Flow Chart

What Activities Might You Consider Outsourcing?

Before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of varying levels of outsourcing in Digital Marketing, let’s consider some of the tasks which can be outsourced to different teams and agencies:

  • Website Management
  • Social Media Management
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Brand Management and PR
  • Competitor Research
  • Digital Design

While there are many other branches of Digital Marketing, these are some of the most commonly outsourced, with specialist agencies available in each area.

Now let’s look at the different levels of outsourcing in Digital Marketing and some of the specific benefits and disadvantages of each.

In-House Digital Marketing

Outsourcing Digital Marketing Flow Chart - In House

Not outsourcing any aspects of the Digital Marketing process is fairly uncommon these days, with even small businesses finding benefits in using external suppliers for some of their Digital Marketing needs, including Website and Social Media Management. However there are still some benefits of retaining Digital Marketing in-house for some businesses to consider.

Benefits

  • The business retains control of the brand on- and offline
  • Costs can be lower than outsourcing to experts, especially if the necessary skills already exist in the task-force

Disadvantages

  • The Digital Marketing industry moves and changes so fast that it can be difficult for businesses to stay ahead of the competition without full time resources
  • Internal resources can be stretched with marketing tasks needing time and attention in addition to other areas of the business
  • New staff with digital experience may be required to do an effective job in-house
  • Investment and commitment to important marketing tasks can wane over time, without an external team focussing regularly and specifically on the job
  • Can be more costly in the long-run due to potentially lower ROI from marketing activity not completed by experienced experts

External Digital Marketing Training for Staff

Outsourcing Digital Marketing Flow Chart - External Training

When businesses do decide to retain Digital Marketing in-house, they may find that it is more beneficial or cost-effective to train existing staff in aspects of Digital Marketing than it is to recruit experienced ones. This training is often carried out externally by Digital Marketing companies who specialise in the areas of training needed.

Benefits

  • Enables businesses to still retain control over their brand, while getting better results with staff who are given the training to develop the right skills for the task
  • Can still have lower immediate costs than fully outsourcing activities
  • Staff can feel more confident in their role as well as valued and trusted with additional responsibilities

Disadvantages

  • Training can become out-of-date quickly in the fast-paced industry, meaning further training is required in order to remain effective
  • Additional financial costs required for training, as well as more lost staff time
  • Without experts working regularly on the business’ strategy, it can be difficult to identify what training is needed and what aspects of digital marketing would work best
  • Internal resources still required to stay on top of marketing activities

Digital Marketing Consultancy Services

Outsourcing Digital Marketing Flow Chart - Consultancy

If you’re not ready or prepared to fully outsource all activities, seeking consultancy advice and recommendations can be extremely beneficial for businesses of all sizes.

Benefits

  • Sound advice and support from experienced professionals who specialise in specific areas of marketing
  • Control over the brand still largely retained in-house
  • Better results and ROI by applying an informed strategy

Disadvantages

  • Internal resources still generally required for implementation and follow-through of consultant advice
  • Businesses still ultimately responsible for the results, with consultancy often only providing advice or suggestions
  • Initial fees required for consultancy before any results can be seen, with little or no actual work carried out externally

Fully Outsourced Digital Marketing

Outsourcing Digital Marketing Flow Chart - Full Outsourcing

Whether through external independent experts or specialist agencies, full outsourcing of Digital Marketing tasks has many benefits, particularly when it comes to long-term success and ROI. There are many different types of agency, which each specialise in different areas, from SEO and PPC to brand management and public relations.

Benefits

  • Effective marketing carried out by experts who work in Digital Marketing every day, enabling them to stay on-top of the fast paced industry
  • Releases internal resources to focus on other areas of the business
  • Regular, detailed reporting to show progress and ROI, usually customisable to what the business is specifically interested in monitoring
  • Businesses have the ability to choose the right agency for their needs, with testimonials and case studies helping to give confidence of an agency’s abilities and past successes
  • Momentum is retained with regular, consistent work each month, not effected by busy periods in the business or cut in times of reduced staff availability
  • There can be a level of liability when things go wrong or mistakes are made, compared to the difficulty of attributing responsibility in-house if staff are not adequately trained

Disadvantages

  • Relinquishes some control over the brand to an external company
  • Initial spend is generally higher than retaining in-house, although this can be significantly lower over time through better results and ROI

Summary

The information in this post, including the advantages and disadvantages highlighted, is not by any means definitive or conclusive, but should give you some ideas and things to consider when reviewing Digital Marketing processes and strategy. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully when it comes to the implementation as it’s an increasingly important part of business that can deliver fantastic results when executed effectively.

For more information on Digital Marketing services and the benefits of outsourcing all or part of you online marketing strategy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Images via Bigstock

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Emma North
About the author

Emma North

Emma’s been at Koozai so long she’s pretty much part of the furniture. She’s sarcastic and sassy, is borderline obsessed with gaming and loves the gym, football, and pizza. We’re guessing that’s the reason she loves the gym so much. #pumpforpizza

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