Whether you’re running a global business or a local start-up, the temptation to keep everything you do in one place, under your overall control, can be huge.  Outsourcing is a perennial topic and businesses outsource all manner of services from finance to HR, from procurement to logistics or IT.  We thought it would be useful to revisit the topic of why you might decide to outsource some or all of your marketing activities and when you might decide you’re ready to take the plunge.

Marketing activities should always start with a set of objectives.

What are you trying to achieve? They should be closely aligned to your business objectives and be realistic in terms of what you want and are able to do.  Once you have your objectives, you’re in a position to begin to determine how to achieve them; starting with the four Ps, product, price, place and promotion will help you focus on what needs to be done and where. Advertising will achieve a different outcome than PR.  Improving your website will create a better online presence and social media will begin to see you engage with potentially interested communities.

Any of these activities, often delivered in careful combination for optimum effect, take time to plan, implement, monitor, adjust and review.  Many organisations will employ an in-house marketing team to ensure that their activities are given the time and thought required.  At the same time, many will also employ one or more agencies to provide additional support, consultancy and that most treasured of all elements: independent, unbiased perspective combined with broader industry experience.

For many larger businesses with an in-house team, fresh thinking and a challenging mindset can often be reduced as employees become immersed in their company culture and the pressing, daily needs of the business.  This is why they select agencies who will partner them, challenge them and become an additional part of the team, to guide, stir up and fulfil a role that the in-house team, with the best will in the world, will often struggle to provide.

Start-up businesses are fuelled by passion and energy, often in the hands of one or two entrepreneurs who make the business work and grow by being at the core of everything that happens.  For a while, many of them are able to manage their own website, social media, and PR; indeed that’s often how the business’s reputation starts to grow.  There comes a critical time in any new business though, when by its very nature, the founders need to devote more time or thought to one particular area of the business.  Before you know it, the social feed has slowed, the press coverage or interest diminished and the website is looking tired.  Bringing someone in-house to manage the marketing is a good option although with it comes the time and costs of seeking the right person with relevant experience, with the additional costs that any new employee brings.  Outsourcing your marketing with an agency who will work with you in the areas you need most, can be the most cost-effective solution, as you will benefit from a number of different people with a range of skillsets you’d find difficult to find in just one individual, or the time to deliver yourself.

It’s a big step, either way, and choosing an agency is something that should be done with care.  There is often a concern that it may be a cost your business just can’t afford, but we’re proof that many smaller and larger businesses have been pleasantly surprised about the value-driven proposition that working with an agency like RB brings.