Digital marketing in itself has many aspects that require professionals from a variety of fields. Each person plays a role in ensuring that the team works efficiently and effectively and their combined talent is what will shape your business’ digital marketing success. Based on your goals, your team should be able to identify the important metrics to track, which will be used as a basis to formulate your digital marketing strategy.
Some key people you’ll need for a team can span beyond your regular marketing managers, content creators, and developers. You’ll also need graphic designers, SEO & PPC specialists, and data analysts. Each of those mentioned play a crucial role in the team’s function as each would have a strong working knowledge on how their field works and excels, what tools are necessary to make this happen, as well as the skills needed to execute the job efficiently without sacrificing quality.
There’s much to consider when building a digital marketing team in-house. Similarly, there’s plenty to think about if you decide to contract an outsourced marketing partner. So, to help with your decision-making, here’s a rundown on what it takes to hire an outsourced marketing team.
When your business is just starting out, playing multiple roles as an owner to set up who and what your brand is makes sense. As it grows, however, so does the need to expand the different teams you have.
Presently, the option of outsourcing digital marketing teams is one that’s held a steady position of strength over the years.
The Digital Marketing Outsourcing Landscape
In 2018, the global outsourcing market totaled 85.6 billion in US dollars. While its numbers aren’t as high as previous years, outsourcing is an industry that continues to thrive. Many businesses are still looking to employ remote work from freelancers, agencies, or teams. This subsequently means that if you’re going for outsourcing, you’re bound to find a pool of qualified talent in no time.
A survey done by Marketing Signals found that 42% of 1,021 UK workers are turning to outsourcing their marketing arm. Their findings cited several common reasons for outsourcing:
- Difficulty in finding the right fit for the team’s specialty roles
- Difference in expertise for outsourced work
- Long-term savings for the business
With these insights to consider, it begs the question: who should you actually be outsourcing for your digital marketing to?
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted that within the years of 2018 to 2028 there will be an 8% growth of employment for in-house advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. In line with this prediction, McKinley Marketing Partners identified in their 2018 Marketing Hiring Trends Report that in 2017, 69% of companies planned to hire more marketers with 60% of them for digital.
If you’re inclined to follow the trend, a key benefit to hiring an onsite marketing manager essentially means that you’ll have a good foundation for your marketing team. This rings especially true from an outsourcing perspective where you’ll need a full grasp of industry dynamics to be able to understand how your remote team is going about their tasks. Beyond that, an in-house marketing manager would also be able to better identify who and what your team needs to see results.
From another perspective, you could see this as an opportunity to outsource highly skilled professionals, seeing as there’s also been a 30% decrease in full employment hiring in 2017. This could have very well been a cause of talent availability. What this means is that high-quality talent is becoming harder to come across, which further incentives businesses to leverage the existing talent of third parties.
The Pros and Cons of Outsourced Marketing
- Access to the skills you need when you need it
There is a tendency for downtime to occur throughout the year. In this period, in-house employees may not be used to their fullest capacity. Having a set team of outsourced specialists lets you tap their expertise as and when you need them, whether it’s for seasonal campaigns, short project sprints, or quick tasks which need professionals. You can be as flexible as you need with the workload so long as you have the right set of outsourced experts ready.
- Up-to-date specialty skills and resources
Since you’re outsourcing skilled experts in their own field, you won’t have to worry about always scouting for upskilling opportunities. They’ll essentially be armed with the knowledge about the basics and best practices in digital marketing. They would also know how best to keep abreast of the latest trends and resources in the industry with their research to keep your brand ahead of the curve.
- More insights and perspectives in marketing strategy and execution
A team of seasoned experts with varying experiences makes for an opportunity to build a strong marketing strategy. They would have worked with different clients from different industries, perhaps even from locations you haven’t looked into yet. That makes for a wealth of information you can tap into during brainstorming and problem solving sessions.
- Efficient output
There is a challenge of availability when it comes to having in-house work or a small handful of freelancers to address your digital marketing needs. They may not always be able to accommodate your requests. When outsourcing with agencies, however, they will have a pool of experts ready to tap. This way, you’re ensured that you’ll be able to get the tasks you need done within your expected timeframe.
- Speedy turnaround time
An outsourced digital marketing company will know how to carry out their tasks efficiently and effectively with ideally little to no errors. After all, digital marketing is their bread and butter. With deliverables getting done faster, this ensures that your marketing projects and campaigns consistently meet their deadlines without the extra weight of going through repetitive quality checks.
- Cost-effective budget spend
Unlike full-time employees, outsourced marketing companies allow you to be flexible with your contract. Outsourcing partners usually let you choose either a retainer package, hourly fee, profit share, or project-based contract. This way, you’ll be able to maximize your budget and hire more professionals aside from SEO and PPC specialists—such as a copywriter, graphic designer, and developer—to be able to put out an even stronger campaign.
- Bigger opportunity for scale
When you outsource a digital marketing team from an agency, you won’t have to worry about ironing out processes. It’s likely that they’ll have their set protocol independent from your business that keeps tabs on performance and updates on projects. With this you’ll be able to put your energy into other areas of your company that need your attention.
- Possibility of miscommunication
Because outsourcing necessitates that you would be working with a team remote from your workplace, communication is reliant on messages via calls, emails, and text. It’s inevitable that some key points may get lost in translation. There is an added challenge of rectifying any misunderstandings as soon as possible to avoid delays in projects, which is why communication and transparency are critical.
- Differences in vision and values
Not everyone you work with will have the same ideals as your company. It can prove difficult to overlook circumstances where projects touch on things that involve delicate subject matters. This makes it imperative to have a thorough screening process for finding the right outsourced digital marketing team.
- Mismatched branding and messaging
When you outsource a digital marketing team, there is a possibility that they might not immediately pick up on what your brand is all about. They may interpret what you explain differently, which can take some time to work around, but if you’re willing to invest the time into getting it right then it shouldn’t be a problem. You can also supply them with ample information and guidelines on your business to avoid any mismatch in your branding.
How to Find the Perfect Outsourced Marketing Partner
- Know who you’re looking for
- What are your marketing needs?
Based on your business goals, what do you need to get out there and how fast do you need it? These are important considerations that need to be accounted for as you plan out your next move for selecting the right outsourced team.
There are many kinds of . They span from strategists, managers, optimizers, creatives, and more. Get familiar with who you need to build your projects and campaigns. Consider how you’ll also want to be able to track their performances.
- How much are you willing to invest?
When we say how much, we mean both budget and time. Based on the kind of marketing specialists you need, you’ll also have to consider that it will take some time to train and break in the new team. There is a matter of briefing and working through the early stages to building good rapport with your outsourced team.
- Will you go for an agency or a freelancer?
There are a considerable amount of advantages and disadvantages with both options. Agencies are able to provide the whole talent pool if you need it, which essentially saves you more time in looking for different kinds of specialties. If you’re keen to look for a small number of outsourced specialists, then you may also be better off with a freelancer.
- Screening your outsourced prospects
- Check who they’ve worked with
Having a showcase of your prospect’s past clients will at least ensure that they have enough experience to back their claimed expertise. You can also get insights from past clients with reviews to see if the agency or freelancer is credible and qualified.
- Consider working compatibility
Be prepared to work with this team regularly. Communication is not always going to be easy. As mentioned in the pros and cons of outsourcing, communication may pose as a challenge. Checking if you see eye-to-eye on vision and values will make it significantly easier to work with the team.
- Ask for samples of their work
What do their outputs look like? Take a good look at how they’ve executed their specialties in past projects and campaigns. Are they aligned with what you’re expecting to receive? In the long run, this will also help you set your expectations from them if you choose to work with them.
- Look into their infrastructure and tech
Do they have secure and ample resources to carry out the tasks that you need to get done? Take a look at the technology and tools they use. Are they up-to-date with the latest industry tools and software needed?
- Send a test assignment
See what you’re getting into and evaluate their capabilities. Whether it’s an agency or freelancer, you’re going to want to see if they can deliver what you need within a set timeframe. You’ll also see if you’ll be getting your money’s worth with your outsourced prospect.
- Setting efficient working processes
- Set expectations from the get-go
Create a list of requirements and expectations you’ll need from your outsourced team and what KPIs you’ll be setting. In return, ask them what they need from you. To carry out tasks, they might ask for specifics such as working documents, files, and the standard marketing brief.
- Discuss your preferred processes
Based on your goals and what kind of results you’re looking for, you can delve into what working time frames would look like for the different kinds of projects you may have lined up. See what works for each of you and how you can arrive at a process that will work for everyone. This ensures that all parties involved are on the same page of how the setup and delivery should work.
- Establish guidelines
Once you’re ready to start your project, set guidelines and production standards. Send through standard formats, define schedules and important dates, and most importantly set up documentation that establishes accountability for all parties involved.
Digital marketing is undoubtedly one of the trickier teams you’ll build in any business. There are many different professionals that make up the team, each with their own area of expertise, which can be challenging to find on your own if you’re looking to hire them in-house.
Throughout the years, outsourcing has become an option that more and more businesses have been turning to because of its time-saving, money-making, and cost-efficient aspects. Its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages if you manage to find a digital marketing team that can deliver high quality output for a campaign or project with fantastic results at a fast pace. Just keep in mind that you’ll always need to double check on your outsourcing partner to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not you should get an outsourced marketing partner, here are some obvious signs to look out for.