A business can live or die on the strength of its online marketing, although for smaller companies, this might not be a priority in terms of dedicating staff or apportioning scarce resources. However, this is a function that is perfect for outsourcing to an agency. What can an outside digital agency bring to the table compared to employing a team in-house?
Broad Experience or Focused Expertise
Along with social media, online advertising, content marketing, and search engine optimization, the list of specialties can be endless. Digital marketing is a vast and ever-changing field, and it's nearly impossible for a single employee to keep up with the constant training and development required to stay current. Outsourcing makes sense because an agency has many clients and can therefore afford to employ experts in every field. Or, conversely, agencies may dedicate their resources to specializing in a particular expertise and your business can choose the agency that best meets your needs.
Your business will benefit from this access to expertise and free up your resources to invest in your own core competencies. As an entrepreneur, it's natural to focus on your own area of expertise and business niche. An agency will have dealings across a wide range of industries, and lessons learned with one client can often be applied to another who operates in a completely different field. You can, in effect, reap the benefits of another company's marketing budget when hiring an agency with wide-ranging activities.
Access to Talent
A related consideration is that of staff turnover, and the disruption this can cause to a smaller business. Marketing is a creative profession, and by their nature, creative people tend to be restless. This means that holding on to exceptional staff is difficult. Whatever benefits and working conditions you offer, new challenges will eventually be sought, and your best employees will move on.
This has the potential to be an ongoing drain on your limited resources. By hiring an agency to handle this problem, you’re also outsourcing the human resources challenges of staff retention, recruitment, training, and other personnel issues, while your business benefits from consistent expertise.
Salaries also often represent the biggest share of any marketing budget. Digital marketing skills are in high demand and small businesses may not be able to afford a full-time team. Outsourcing saves you on recruiting, training, salaries, and benefits – not to mention the cost of tools, working space, and setting up processes and systems.
Greater Bargaining Power
No matter how significant your online marketing budget is to you, to Google or to Facebook, it's going to be a drop in the ocean. However, if you add together the spend of many small businesses, the combined figure will hold a greater sway. This is exactly the position an agency can put you in. Their greater influence will mean they enjoy faster support, better discounts and advice on campaign optimization, all of which will ultimately work toward boosting your business.
Taking on an in-house digital marketer can lead to complications if the results aren't as you expected, not least in the legalities of terminating employment. An agency relationship has no such issues. If you get the contract right, then it is a lot easier to part ways on the back of unsatisfactory performance, or even make a simple change of strategy, without all the costs and hassles of redundancy or redeployment.
Outsourcing your digital marketing needs also contractually guarantees timely delivery. “When an agency takes on a project, it dedicates resources to meet your deadlines. If anything happens to team members, it’s their responsibility to plug the gap. When other priorities pop up, an in-house team can get distracted, which puts campaign schedules at risk.”
Using an agency also makes it easy to implement performance-related pay for your marketing function. When drawing up your contract, make sure you specify a desired goal, and that if this objective isn't reached, the agreed fee can be reduced or even waived. The onus is on the agency to set out realistic expectations and to meet them, and this is much simpler to put in place than a complicated system of staff bonuses or pay tiers.
Effective digital marketing is a vital part of a modern business’ strategy, and it's important to employ the highest level of expertise possible. Hiring an outside agency makes excellent business sense, as it frees up your company's internal resources to focus on your unique strengths and to drive the business forward to success.
To learn how ImageX can help you meet your digital marketing needs and add value to your business, reach out to us to start the conversation.