With digital marketing becoming more and more crucial to every company’s future strategies, we get a lot of the same questions from our clients over and over: “How do I know whether to outsource to an agency or not?”
“Can I just hire one person?”
“Would it be better to have a digital marketing team in-house?”
“Is outsourcing always better?”
To answer that, we would like to propose that outsourcing… is like a crock pot. And here’s why.

 

Pros of Outsourcing: Fix It And Forget It.

Most people outsource tasks, regardless of what they are, for most of the same reasons: it’s cheaper, it’s more hands-off, and in some cases you’re hiring a professional who knows what they’re doing – sometimes even a bit better than you do (especially when it comes to specialized areas of expertise like digital marketing). It’s a pretty nifty ‘crock pot’ method of business: fix it, and forget it.

1. It’s Cheaper.
Outsourcing tasks, particularly digital marketing tasks, can also reduce your staffing costs. Instead of increasing your employee headcount, you keep payroll down and decrease liability. It also makes the hiring process a lot smoother, because finding “the right candidate” for an in-house team is very challenging in this space right now. Lots of people talk a good game, but in the end they don’t have the expertise across all channels that you need, and it leaves a massive gap in the execution (more on that in the ‘Cons’ section).

And if you still want to hire in-house despite that needle-in-a-haystack scenario, you’ll soon realize that you can’t just hire one staffer to handle this kind of work load; you would need at least two or three… and if they are the right person, their salaries can easily run over $170K per year. Long story short, finding one agency to outsource is a lot less expensive and time-consuming than personally vetting a full-time, in-house team.

2. It’s Hands-Off.
The major appeal of outsourcing (and slow cookers) is that you don’t have to micro-manage or take as much time to get the results you want. With ghost writers, for example: you tell the writer what you want them to post about, when the articles are due, and then you generally don’t have to think about that content again except for perhaps during a preliminary proofread. Outsourcing to a digital marketing team also means that you have a lot more bandwidth saved since you don’t have to manage them yourself, and you eliminate the risk of high employee turn-over that results in a lack of access to systems, logins, know-how, and more.

3. You Get High-Quality Results.
In most cases, a slow-cooker recipe can constitute a whole meal – starches, vegetables, and protein included – that didn’t always require expertise or a fancy chef. To keep the metaphor going, outsourcing to a digital marketing team can give you great results, without requiring you to be a master of digital marketing yourself. You instead get to hire professionals who do the heavy lifting for you. They aren’t distracted by the other tasks around the office, and their primary focus is on what you hired them for: digital marketing.

And in addition to getting experienced professionals, when you outsource you also tend to gain access to their top-notch resources as well, across a wide-range of disciplines: PPC, Webinars, Tradeshows, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing, Video, CRM, and more. And because a good digital marketing agency will already have all these tools at their fingertips, they will also have speed on their side. Once they know who you are and where you’re coming from, you won’t have to wait for them to accrue all of the necessary software and programs to get your campaigns moving; they’ll be ready to rock and roll in no time.

 

Cons of Outsourcing: One Bad Apple…

Just one quick warning: if you’re going to outsource, make sure you pick the right agency. If you don’t investigate too deeply into who you’re hiring, you could end up hiring a freelancer or team that isn’t all you hoped for – and what they’re saving you in your wallet, they’re costing you on your clock, because you have to constantly babysit them to get the quality results you want. There’s nothing quite so painful as going through a professional service and realizing you’ve been saddled with second-best. Or third-best. Or not-so-best. One bad apple may not spoil the bunch, but it will certainly spoil your whole meal if you throw it in your slow cooker and don’t check on the dish all day.

 

Here’s Our Recipe.

To make sure that you get the most out of your digital marketing, here are a few tips that should help you determine if the agency on your radar is really worth pursuing.

1. Look at their industry expertise. Do they have the right background and previous clientele in order to serve you? If you’re an industrial manufacturer, maybe the agency that focuses on medical specialists shouldn’t be your first choice – no matter how successful they are.

2. There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between B2B and B2C. Experience in one of those two areas will not necessarily translate over to the other. For example, both Business-to-Business and Business-to-Customer will use Facebook ads and pay-per-click; however, B2C is more focused on those methods, and that kind of emphasis will not benefit B2B companies to the same degree.

3. Look at their track record. Agencies don’t spring up overnight; they tend to evolve out of other businesses or company departments, which means they should be able to give you examples of previous experience – more specifically, examples of their past endeavors that have increased a company’s ROI – even if the examples pre-date the agency’s independent existence. An agency that “doesn’t have any good case studies yet” is not an agency at all.

4. Don’t forget to make sure you get along. Even though your main focus is on the agency’s professional services, you still need to make sure they don’t rub you the wrong way. Take note of whether your teams mesh well, and whether or not your marketers “get” you. If there’s friction, that could be a red flag alluding to trouble down the road.

 
After you eliminate the guesswork in hoping that you’ve hired the right digital marketing team, then you can actually move forward and your agency can generate results – like we do with our video content marketing machine. And once you get that ball rolling, it will gain momentum like never before. The ingredients will melt together, the aroma will start wafting out to your prospects, and you’ll finally have a dish to be proud of. Bon appetite!