08 May Outsourcing marketing: How adding an agency to your in-house marketing team can save you money
Outsourcing isn’t new. Studies from 2002 name it as an up-and-coming key business strategy to drive strategic value and transform the way organizations do business.
By taking key functions and outsourcing them to carefully selected partners, businesses can engage employees in the work that they do best and reduce the mountain of work that’s backlogged and causing stress. (In a study released by the American Institute of Stress, more than 40% of participants reported their job was ‘very or extremely stressful.’ Another study found that the leading cause of stress is none other than workload.)
With more work than an internal team can handle and not enough time to invest in training your employees to take on new roles, companies across a variety of industries have turned to outsourcing. But a move that’s designed to save time and keep projects moving forward doesn’t always work out as planned (maybe you’ve found yourself spending more time managing your subcontractor than doing actual work).
How then, do you free up your employees’ valuable time to put them to their best and highest uses (leading to better morale!) and engage an agency to keep work flowing and your company moving forward? The right partner.
Save money, get your time back and reduce headaches with help from the outside
The primary benefit of outsourcing is clear: being able to continuously move projects through the pipeline when employees get pulled onto higher priority projects. But outsourcing also gives companies other opportunities.
• Do more with less. Specialized businesses can complete more projects with fewer employees, while at the same time reducing your costs for benefits, wages, payroll taxes, etc. I know what you’re thinking: hiring a marketing agency is expensive! While the hourly rate at some agencies may be out of reach, not all agencies are created equal.
Finding the right partner gives you a straightforward, no surprises invoice AND you don’t have to take on the costs of buying specialized programs (like software subscriptions) or other expenses associated with projects you’re outsourcing. Plus, agencies do specialized work every day, meaning they can likely get it done faster than an internal team member who must dust off their hat and re-learn certain skills.
•Tackle niche projects. As new trends in marketing arise, it’s key to be able to adapt your marketing plan accordingly (and quickly). But training your already-at-capacity, in-house marketing team for a trend that may not even last takes them away from other high-priority work. And searching for and hiring an internal expert can be costly and time-consuming. (Plus, they may not use their skillset 24/7, so how do you fill the rest of their time while still giving them job satisfaction?)
Knowing your team’s limitations and strengths and hiring a marketing agency to take on specific tasks or roles—such as project management, writing, graphic design, video editing, etc.—keeps projects moving forward and your internal team focused on key initiatives and working in roles that match their talents and passions.
• Gain fresh perspectives. One of the biggest barriers to hiring a marketing agency is that they lack the institutional knowledge your own team lives and breathes every day. But, sometimes being too close to the subject causes creative blocks and expert blindness.Enter the marketing agency. Marketing agencies can pull from a pool of highly-experienced people with fresh eyes who have worked on a wide range of industries, brands and categories, and can apply what they’ve learned working for other clients to your unique marketing challenges to find a winning solution. In addition, strong agencies hire smart people who are great synthesizers: they love to learn and take in new information, and then have the well-honed ability to reproduce that content for different audiences across a variety of mediums.
How do you choose the right partner?
Finding the right marketing agency comes down to two basic questions: can they do the work, and do they fit with your organization’s culture?
While an agency may tout being able to do everything, they may not do it all well. Don’t be afraid to team up with multiple marketing agencies, giving each a specific role or task within your marketing plan (maybe one for leading strategy, one for writing copy, another for social media management, and the list goes on).
“Moraine Park Technical College partners with Writing by Design to bring in their unique perspective, creative thought process and tremendous energy to help with our growing design and marketing challenges,” Bart Putzer, interim marketing director at Moraine Park Technical College, said. “The staff at Writing by Design bring their expertise to so many facets of our College on a variety of projects. From creative copywriting, to energizing our radio commercials, to strategic writing for SEO, Writing by Design helps us put our best foot forward. Their skill and attention to detail are second to none, and we know we can count on their experience to assist on projects where we need additional resources and a unique perspective.”
It’s also important that the partner you choose aligns with your strategic goals and company culture. While you may not see eye-to-eye on all important issues (like what pizza toppings are the best), it’s critical to find one that can keep pace with your projects and put your mind at ease that they truly understand your goals.
Writing by Design is no stranger to serving as an extension of a larger marketing team, and the not-so-secret to our success lies in the processes and tools we use to make the relationship as seamless as possible. We know investing in the right project management tools and IT infrastructure, collaborating closely with the brand experts (that’s you!) and communicating frequently and openly are all crucial pieces to maintaining (business) relationships that last.
Kayde Kempen is an associate marketing manager at Writing by Design. She has 7+ years of marketing communications experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Kayde has written hundreds of blog posts and e-blasts, both for Writing by Design and its clients, is the lead content writer for Writing by Design’s website/SEO clients, and assists with press releases, concept writing, script writing and more. Prior to joining the Writing by Design team in 2016, she was an associate marketing manager at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she worked for five years and led nearly 90 website redesign projects, wrote for the University’s alumni magazine and news website, and wrote and managed a variety of print and digital marketing projects.