To outsource digital marketing or not to?
We’re probably the wrong people to address this question; afterall, as a digital marketing agency, we have a vested interest in companies outsourcing their online marketing efforts to agencies like ours. However, not withstanding our “prejudiced” view, there are several solid reasons why it will be beneficial for a company to look at an external specialist provider than to build that skillset in-house. Nevertheless, before we get to those reasons, let’s first look at when it might be prudent to have online marketing capabilities in-house.
When to keep digital marketing in-house
If you are a company for whom digital marketing forms the core, so much so that not just your success but may be your very existence depends on web traffic, then it will be wise to have a strong internal team of online marketers. You may still want to leverage the expertise of external digital marketing consultants- say a SEO specialist; a PPC consultant; a social media consultant etc. to complement your own internal team, but you should certainly have a really strong team that can strategize and effectively execute on that strategy. This may be particularly true of companies such as online retailers or even large online publishers.
Why outsource online marketing to an agency
Companies for whom online marketing is an important marketing channel- albeit one of many- will do much better engaging a good agency to plan and execute their digital marketing strategy. The reasons for this include:
* Multiple skills: It is very rare for people to be masters of several skills. So, unless you are willing to hire multiple people, each proficient in a different area of online marketing, it will be very difficult for you to get the complete skillset that you will need to successfully execute on your strategy. An agency, on the other hand, will have multiple specialists, working on multiple projects at a time, who can get together to provide their time and skills for you.
* Diverse experience: Agencies work with clients in diverse industries and they will be able to bring all of the learning from one industry and apply to yours, as appropriate. The experience of running multiple campaigns with different objectives and constraints will be invaluable.
* Cost effective: While it may not be right to make a blanket statement about cost-effectiveness of an agency, considering the economies of scale and the specialisation of an agency, it will be fair to say that agencies are generally cheaper and more cost-effective than having resources in-house. Of course, a company also has greater flexibility with the service fee model that they choose with an agency, be it a fixed retainer, a flat campaign or project fee, a success-fee model, or even a percentage of the media spend managed.
So, the next time you are faced with this conundrum- outsource or not to outsource- take a step back and evaluate all the pros and cons of having a bunch of resources in-house. You will be surprised with the value that can be unlocked with an external agency!