Questions for small businesses when outsourcing a marketing agency

Marketing’s full of experiments and shots in the dark. And that’s just for weathered marketers and agencies with good-standing track records.

Imagine the blindsiding that happens to small businesses without any marketing experience or expertise. Putting those risks and responsibilities in the hands of a team of professionals may be safer and more affordable in the long run.

But before making the commitment of outsourcing to a marketing agency, ask yourself the following questions.

First, what is outsourcing?

Before anything we need an outsourcing definition. Outsourcing is the process of contracting a task or department to a third-party company or individual.

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What is outsourcing vs offshoring?

While outsourcing means hiring, offshoring is still managed by your company. Although the location of your offshored office isn’t the same as your head office (in another country), the control is still within your company’s hands. You maintain ownership over tasks, hiring, etc.

Offshoring is generally used to save money, by avoiding taxes and since many places outside of the US have lower wages.

When should you outsource marketing?

What are the pros of outsourcing?

Outsourcing is used to access specific talent pools. When hiring a marketing agency, you’re investing in a team of skilled professionals. But one of the top outsourcing benefits is promise.

Many marketing companies claim they can save time and money for small businesses. You won’t cover health coverage, benefits, training or onboarding, or equipment costs.

Consider, in place of funding a full-time in-house team, these savings are accurate. However, rarely will each in-house team member be full-time. Many roles may also be part-time, or contracted, for example.

Still, it’s expected that professional agencies minimize the number of shortfalls. Of course, realistically, it’s hard to measure failure in marketing, since each project is an on-going development.

Imagine you’re investing in a promise to help your business grow. In this case, agencies should be working themselves out of a job, or else working to scale together.

With an agency, you can forget about managing employees, scheduling hours, or overseeing an entire team. Although you’ll be communicating diligently with the marketing agency, you can trust that the team is being well-managed by the marketing manager.

Outsourcing your marketing also enables you to start developing a marketing network. Marketing in general can help spread your brand recognition, but agencies have the added benefit of existing ties.

Lastly, external marketing agencies are removed from your business and can offer an objective standpoint.

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What are the cons of outsourcing?

Whether you’re looking to outsource in order to find better qualified talent or to lighten the load of your in-house team, you have to be comfortable with stepping aside.

To some, passing the torch of responsibilities to a third-party sounds nice. But don’t believe hiring an outsourcing company washes your hands of everything.

Many businesses don’t consider the option because explaining the work effectively isn’t in the best interest of time or patience. Especially if you’re of the mind that to have something done right, you must do it yourself.

Yes, detailing the task at hand can be exhausting. That’s why outsourcing sometimes involves exporting a company’s current employees to help smooth the transition, delegate tasks, and communicate with management.

How can you find the right fit?

What do you even need a marketing agency for?

There’s much more to marketing than you might realize. Google picks favorites (put shortly). It requires strategy, execution, analysis, and adjustment. Repeat.

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In other words, marketing requires a team. Whether investing in in-house or outsourced marketing jobs, there are many roles to cover. But it’s not black and white; you can have a mixture of positions. You can hire full-time, contract, and invest in an agency.

Reflect on what your in-house team isn’t capable of handling, whether marketing research, SEO, content and copy, graphics, social media, emailing, PR, or front and back end development. All of the above?

The best thing about hiring a marketing agency is that you only pay for what you need. You can pick up where your team is lacking. In this sense, a marketing agency should help your business scale.

Remember, not all agencies are created equal. Each specializes in specific areas so it’s important to do research, both into different agencies and your own team. Once you’re set on what your business needs, it will narrow down your search for the right marketing agency.

The right marketing agency must be easy to communicate with. Don’t choose an agency that seems too busy to be able to listen and explain, or one that intimidates you. These are signs that the agency is not the right fit.

Once you’ve narrowed your scope, consider whether the marketing agency has experience with businesses your size. Read Google or Facebook reviews for past experiences and seek out their “customers” section on their website.

Can you communicate your plan clearly?

Communication isn’t only the responsibility of the agency. You need a representative to communicate between teams.

Finally, once you’ve selected your agency and have solidified your objectives, be sure to hold weekly meetings that cover the progress and updates of the marketing plan or strategy. This is why upholding communication and finding the right fit are so important.

What can outsourced marketing agencies do for your small business?

Solidify your marketing process by connecting your existing team to a marketing agency that is dedicated to knowing your small business’ mission, team, and product. When you invest in an agency, they also invest in your business.

A marketing agency or outsourcing company in general should be able to build your business’ brand awareness in the industry and on social media, generate leads, strategize and reflect on results, and ultimately communicate back and forth with your management.

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