Businesses 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.
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:
Social Media Management
Search Engine Optimisation
Brand Management and PR
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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