Outsourcing is a HUGE benefit for most businesses that do not need a particular staff position full-time but still have a use for that expertise when they need it. That’s why our tagline is the marketing you need, only when you need it. In some cases, you have to look in 10 different places to get 10 different type of projects accomplished (and hope they all work out!). What can easily happen is that you have 10 different people or companies doing 10 different things, and everything looks and feels piecemeal. This is becoming more prevalent as there are more freelancers available and a shift towards a “gig economy”.
There is also a HUGE benefit of having an in-house Marketing Department (beyond those that are really a sales department)which is something most of our clients can’t afford and frankly doesn’t make sense at their current stage of business. That benefit is having one point of contact regarding everything related to your marketing, so that your marketing can all work seamlessly and effortlessly and all of the business pieces can integrate. This makes your marketing more efficient by making it work better and cost less. Of course there are other big benefits, but that is a primary one.
There are some examples I encounter that highlight this:
For instance, some clients are running some pay-per-click advertising campaigns with a vendor providing the service. In most cases, because that vendor cannot integrate with other things the client is doing, the ads are limited to a generic “visit our website” or sometimes a “call us” link. Calls can be tracked through some of the software, if it is properly set up to do so. Website visits can be tracked, but let’s be honest – someone just visiting your website isn’t where they need to stop. It ends up that you are paying for awareness instead of leads that will result in future business. (If your advertising is focused on the leads, the awareness still happens by default).
Awareness is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
Another example would be the clients who had a website set up by a vendor, but their email system, which is being worked by another vendor, is not set up to integrate automatically since two different people are working the pieces. This results in either basic work having to be done manually, or potentially missing opportunities. Their email campaigns end up being, and feeling, disjointed from their website – both of which are big pieces of most companies’ online presence.
It can cost you more to have separate vendors try to integrate their solutions after the fact
Other companies have had a different website address on their video than they do on their social media, and both of these are different than their business card. All of the addresses do take you to the same place because some of the addresses forward, but the lack of consistency can be very confusing to customers. It was caused by three different vendors doing work for the three different projects, so no one caught the differences.
Who is responsible for making sure your primary brand and contact points are consistent?
Consistency, ease of use, and access to expertise are why many big companies have used traditional advertising agencies over the years. On the flip size, these services are usually priced outside of the budget of smaller businesses and entrepreneurs.
4 ways you can keep your marketing consistent when outsourcing marketing projects
- Have one person in-house designated to coordinate with all of the third-party vendors and freelancers, and make sure information that one needs is shared with another. This allows you to use experts in the different fields. Keep in mind you will need to budget a portion of your staff member’s time to this task. And it probably doesn’t need to be you (unless you’re a one-person shop) – you have more important things to do.
- Only use one freelancer to perform all of your outsourcing. This means that one person is working on all of the pieces. Keep in mind most freelancers specialize in one area and may not have expertise in another, and some of your projects could suffer. They may also not have the experience to project manage and coordinate all of the pieces on your behalf.
- Hire an advertising agency. Most charge a retainer up front, plus a monthly fee for representing your company and a monthly fee for things outlined in the scope of work, and additional costs for anything outside the scope of work. You will have access to a team people who specialize in one area. Keep in mind the price structure makes this option outside the budget of most smaller businesses.
- Choose a hybrid solution – which is what we offer. We work with primarily one point of contact on your team who can help coordinate everything on your end (although we will work with others on your staff as needed). On your side, it feels like you are only working with one freelancer – you contact us for what you need, and behind the scenes we can dip into our pool of expert freelancers who can get the job done. You have full access to CMO-level expertise so it’s like having your own Marketing Director, and there’s always more than one expert available to complete a project. Plus you save money since our pricing structure is unlike a traditional advertising agency – you only pay for what you need, and only when you need it. This may include monthly costs for some programs, or per-project costs for others. The flexibility allows you to pick and choose what you need done and when, without going out and finding a new freelancer for each new project.
There are always multiple ways to accomplish what you want done, and if you want your marketing done well, at a budget-friendly cost, you have choices. Just consider what resources you have in-house, and determine what type of solution may work best for your business.
If you’re not sure and want to discuss some possibilities, you can have a free marketing strategy session where we can help you work through the pros and cons of each solution – and let you know if we’re not right for you.
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.