As a marketing agency, you would expect me to say a resounding yes – but I’m not!
Yes, really, and I’ll tell you why …
Outsourcing is a great way of stretching your reach, fabulous at allowing you to flex your business and even better should you want buy in skills you don’t have and can’t afford right now in your company. A great proposition you could say, and it is if you have all the above needs it’s a clever and intelligent way of meeting your business needs.
So why do I question it?
It’s simple really, it’s important to own your brand, to be in control and push it in the direction you want, to be master of your destiny. Another obvious statement you would think, but we often see another side.
Take social media for an instance, outsourcing your social media for a small business can free up hours of your time, right? So let’s think about what you want social media for? Is it to grow your business, develop relationships with your clients, build a loyal following, or launch a product or service?
Social media can help do all of these things. But can it do all those things, effectively if it is not managed in-house by the company?
I think it is a question every business owner needs to ask themselves. At White Knight, we believe that all but the relationships can be handled easily by an agency, but how does a company handling another company’s social media really broker the close contact needed. It is the same when young and very inexperienced staff get allocated to the task, because they ‘understand all of that stuff!’ They don’t, they understand the mechanics, it’s not the same thing as strategically going ‘social’ to build a brand.
In that case, isn’t it better to outsource it then? Yes! But, not as a standalone. No marketing campaign, worth its salt should be a one trick pony, to mix metaphors that is the sure fire way to shoot yourself in the foot. If you have one marketing channel running on it’s own you can’t really measure its effectiveness, its actual reach, its conversions into genuine business goals. If your business goal is to increase your Facebook and Twitter followers, then that may need a little rewrite. If you’re business goal is to increase your social media following in order to make your sales, create brand awareness and grow the business that then is very different.
We are often asked what are the optimal number of posts to do, and our answer is always the same. It’s not about the number of posts you do, it’s about the conversions to business to make, the bottom line that matters: you do what you need in the best ways to achieve this. And I am not singling out social media as the offending channel that is outsourced without any real strategic thought, this also happens with other channels including online advertising, remarketing, printed advertising and a whole lot more. Big brands understand the power of integrated marketing; they usually use one agency to cover all of their channels, insuring that they have continuity of message, good measuring metrics and SMART objects. You spend money on marketing for one reason, to grow your business. And small companies could learn from the knowledge that big brands have built over the years; holding on to control of your brand is paramount. This is your business, your reputation and your future.
At White Knight we know we can’t be all things to all business, but we are often invited in to give that overarching marketing support that some SMEs lack. We act as the pivotal point for all things marketing, the ‘marketing manager‘ for want of a better description. With one company overseeing and measuring results, we can see what will work, what is working and what needs to be ditched. This really empowers our SMEs as they know that recommendations made are based on solid evidence, so the fear of losing sales/business by dropping a channel that isn’t working for them is removed. This can often save hundreds of pounds and release money to be invested in a marketing activity that will return profit.
So to summarise – is outsourcing your marketing a good thing? Yes AND no! YES, if you keep it integrated, No, if you have no way at measuring the results of your investment, and you have allowed your marketing to be broken up into small little standalone ‘packages’ that aren’t being managed cohesively within your marketing strategy.