What are the advantages of an external marketing team compared to the in house approach? Is an external marketing agency just another cost or can they deliver real benefits? This post sets out to answer those questions.
Outsourcing marketing to an experienced marketing team delivers several advantages including:
- Divorces lead generation from sales.
- Outsourcing delivers a wider range of specialist skills than the in house approach.
- An external marketing team delivers a new perspective.
- Greater flexibility.
- Reduced costs.
Divorces Lead Generation From Sales
The quantity and (perceived) quality of sales leads is the main reason for the historic conflict between sales and marketing. A clear definition of the number and type of sales leads. Plus, a clear demarcation line where marketing responsibility ends can help.
Using an outside marketing team can cut the waste of time and effort associated with company politics. It can deliver a clear division of responsibility between the sales and marketing functions.
External Marketing Agencies Deliver A Wide Range Of Skills
A small in house team will often lack the range of expertise to deliver a wide range of marketing tools and services.
Best practice marketing, especially internet marketing, is changing at a rapid rate. It can be difficult for a small in house team to keep up.
A good outsourced marketing agency will work with a range of clients. They can afford to employ specialists in a wide range of marketing disciplines.
An External Marketing Team Delivers A New Perspective
Often business management and members of the marketing team grow up with the business. New employees tend to fall in line with the business status quo to gain acceptance and job security. As a result, there is no strong challenge to accepted thinking in the business and market opportunities can be missed.
Although they may have an excellent understanding of the business products and services, the customer base and markets, it is difficult for a small marketing department to keep up with the latest marketing thinking.
Identifying the unique business offer and building a plan to capitalise on that difference is critical. Another set of eyes can bring out that unique difference.
The needs of business regularly change and it is difficult to resource a marketing department to cover all eventualities. It may be necessary to rapidly deliver an important message to the marketplace, launch a new product or build a new strategic marketing plan.
Unlike an in-house team, an external marketing team can over any peaks and troughs. With extra resources brought in to cover peaks in demand dropped when no longer needed.
The impact of inbound marketing
Current best B2B marketing practice follows pull (inbound) rather than push (outbound) marketing techniques. Inbound marketing is based on attracting potential customers to a business, on their terms, at a point they are ready to engage. The question then is who is best placed to deliver the process.
An in house marketing department will always be better placed to know the audience and their needs. Sources of existing content and those able to deliver a view of interest and use to potential customers will reside within a business, not outside.
However, an experienced external marketing team will often be better placed to research the best content marketing delivery channels and deliver via those channels. An outside set of eyes is often best placed to identify the real selling points that distinguish a business from its competition.
Can Outsourcing Marketing Reduce Costs?
Given the range of expertise available in the external marketing agency, it is possible to run the internal marketing department with a lower level (more administrative type) person. This saves on costs of management and more experienced in house personnel.
The total cost of the outsourced approach includes the cost of the external agency and the cost of internal services deployed in support. It also includes the costs of the internal person who will be the contact point between the business and the agency.
An external marketing team can deliver a wide range of benefits. However, it is important to remember they will never have the same intimate understanding of customers, products or markets as those employed within the business.