Operating efficiently is a key underpinning to managing a successful business. This requires effectively managing internal and external human resources, especially those tied to the delicate dynamics of contracting an outsourced marketing firm to bolster internal marketing efforts. Some employees may at first feel cautious or even threatened by the thought of being asked to support a team of outsourced marketing professionals. Overcoming these challenges is a matter of clearly defining and communicating roles and responsibilities, setting the right expectations and reassuring employees of their value to the company. When expectations are managed appropriately from the outset, the result will be a partnership that fosters personnel growth and enhances long-term employee performance.
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Whether the goal of a project is to develop and implement a strategic marketing plan or simply to improve your company’s website performance, the decision to procure an outsourced marketing firm is primarily driven by the need to fill a resource gap. Existing personnel may already be committed to other job functions and marketing campaigns that are vitally important to the company or they simply haven’t yet had the additional training on the skill sets required to perform tasks outside their current areas of expertise. In either case, outsourcing makes excellent business sense to achieve a desired marketing result along with the added benefit of an agency-client transfer of knowledge that may live well beyond the life of a project.
As an example, if a creative digital marketing firm is contracted for the express purpose of developing and implementing search engine marketing (SEM) tactics or targeted marketing content to drive web traffic, the project management team will typically be comprised of one or several members of each of the two marketing teams. In this case, knowledge transfer happens in two forms, both of which ultimately benefit the client.
First, during the initial discovery stage of the project, the project management team will be asked to consider what purpose the marketing initiative is ultimately designed to achieve. Brand loyalty? New product announcement? Thought leadership on a recent development in the industry? Through determining the objective and conveying this knowledge to an external marketing firm, the project management team is forced to conduct an inward-facing assessment that results in a clearer and more cohesive understanding of how the marketing message should be communicated to the outside world. Employees will gain new expertise from the research and assessment process the outsourced marketing firm utilizes.
The second point at which the knowledge transfer process benefits the client is when it comes time for the marketing firm to deploy the SEM tactics best-suited for the client’s needs. Strategic content marketing is less about quantity of content and more about deriving the right mix of messaging that drives inbound traffic. This requires a robust understanding of search engine algorithms, keywords and insider tips that comes from years of experience from working in this environment and testing results. By collaborating closely with an external agency as these concepts are applied in practice, an internal marketing team is essentially able to glean best practices that can then be applied to future projects, in effect providing vital on-the-job training that can enhance an employee’s existing skillset.
Bandwidth constraints are no longer considered solely a reference to poor internet connectivity. Just as a company’s website performance may suffer due to insufficient bandwidth, the same is true of a company’s employees. When burdened with tight deadlines for a new marketing campaign and the additional job tasks and responsibilities this campaign entails, both employee morale and performance can be affected.
To avoid this dilemma, the executive management team will correctly view outsourcing as a proven method of accessing additional external resources that essentially leverage the skills of existing employees. A senior marketing manager may very well have a conceptual idea of what they are expecting to achieve with a marketing effort, but insufficient headcount may inhibit his or her ability to fully bring the idea to life. Developing a long-term relationship with an outsourced marketing firm provides added flexibility in terms of acting as on-demand project assistance without the commitment and costly overhead of adding full-time staff members.
Another important way in which an outsourced marketing firm supplements in-house resources is by acting as a conduit to new technology. Where a company may not have the need (or budget) to purchase licenses for all the latest marketing software or invest in an employee educational program, an agency’s credibility is tied to their ability to remain current with the technology resources they depend on to drive their business. In this sense, by working with an outsourced marketing firm, an in-house marketing manager can dedicate budget to actual marketing activities, as opposed to increasing spend on a non-essential or little-used aspects of marketing operations.