Which should I choose for my business?
Deciding whether to insource or outsource inbound marketing can be a tough decision for business owners. In fact, we get asked this question a lot when we’re talking with our clients and new prospects here at Angelfish!
Often, these businesses are either new and considering how to get the most bang for their buck, or they’re established and want control but are concerned about escalating marketing costs.
The reality is, there isn’t a one size fits all approach, and businesses really must consider their internal skill set and working culture when making a decision.
For example, if you or people in your company have strong sales experience and have a leaning towards digital marketing, then you might consider putting them in charge of your new marketing division. You might also consider hiring a Marketing Manager from outside of your organisation.
On the other hand, if you have a business full of individuals with a very specific industry skill and have had no marketing or sales experience, then outsourcing could make more sense. You can see how this would look for your business by arranging a free marketing report and one-hour consultation with our own experts here.
In the meantime, we’ve broken down the three main things we think you should consider when deciding between insourced and outsourced inbound marketing, in order to help you make your decision:
Insourced vs outsourced inbound marketing
1. CostsAs we mentioned above, costs are a vital consideration for both startup and established businesses. Often, when businesses are under financial strain, marketing is the first thing to go.
However, in the age of inbound marketing, not having a marketing provision isn’t an option anymore, or you’ll simply have no leads in the long term!
Let’s have a look at the separate costs of insourced and outsourced inbound marketing:
When it comes to hiring an employee to do your marketing in-house, you’ll need to consider the general costs of hiring an employee, including National Insurance, pension contributions, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, the running costs of your payroll , employee benefits, equipment & facilities, training & development and a multitude of other minor costs. It all adds up.
This cost calculator can help you quickly calculate the true cost of an employee to the business (warning: this may make some business owners uncomfortable!).
It’s also not just how much an employee costs when they are with you, it’s also what they cost when they start and when you lose them.
Some studies, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making £40,000 a year, that’s £20,000 to £30,000 in recruiting and training costs. Alone!
And remember, this is all just for one person. Most marketeers are good at delivering one or two areas of digital marketing, you won’t find someone who can do everything perfectly themselves. You’ll need to give them a budget to provision services that your business will need, so they can maximise their output.
This is especially true following the digital revolution. Inbound marketing now increasingly involves more complicated cogs that all need to work together to produce a successful campaign.
From PPC, SEO to social media, content creation and website design – these are just some of the things that now need to be created, managed, seamlessly tied together and analysed effectively to ensure good lead generation and ultimately ROI.
So, suffice it to say, if you do opt for insourced marketing, you need to be ready for it to cost quite a bit!
But how does it compare to outsourced?
OutsourcedGenerally speaking, a good inbound marketing agency will likely cost you upwards of £1,500 per month, depending on the size of your organisation and your marketing growth requirements.
However, you’ll have the bonus of many of these (and other) deliverables when you hire an inbound agency:
- Keyword research
- Competitor SEO analysis
- Ongoing technical SEO
- Idea generation and content planning by inbound certified marketers
- Fully optimised content written by digital content producers
- Design work by professional designers
- Landing pages, emails and other technical development work
- Social sharing with your posts written by copywriters
- Director level strategy, and
- an Account Manager who cares as much about your marketing as you do
2. SkillsDigital marketing is a lot more technically complicated than traditional marketing. Just the bare bones of a digital marketing strategy will need some of the following inputs:
- Marketing Strategist
- Marketing Technologist
- Content Marketer
- Content Creators
- Social Media Marketer
- Graphic Designer
- Frontend Developer
- Search Marketer
- PPC Marketer
- Project Manager
InsourcedIf you’re considering hiring an employee to manage your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Will your new hire have the range of skills required on their own to deliver a full marketing programme like the one listed above?
- Will this experience be enough to build a strategy that is board level proof?
- Do you want them to build on their previous experience in other businesses within your business?
- Do you have the skills as a business owner to help to train, develop and manage your team members?
If your answer is a resounding “yes!” to all of these questions, then insourcing could be the right move for you. However, scanning over the list of skills above, we’re looking at around 9 disciplines required to deliver good digital marketing for your business.
Let’s say a couple of these skills sit together quite nicely like social media and content creation and SEO/PPC, so you may be able to find people who are genuinely good at 2-3 of these and able to deliver them within each working week effectively without external support.
If you want to deliver all the work internally, realistically you'll need a team of 2-4 with a mix of skills to start your department off for a small to mid-sized business.
An alternative option for you, could be to hire someone who understands all the disciplines, how they work and is skilled at managing logistics.
This person will need a budget to help them deliver all elements of your marketing strategy so that they align with your business strategy and goals.
They could work as a project manager/marketing manager and help your chosen agencies to connect and understand your brand, ethos and history and keep suppliers on task.
Many business owners expect their marketing managers to be able to deliver all elements as well as the project management required. Perhaps for small organic start-ups this is possible, however, any business with high aspirations will need to put more into their marketing efforts.
In summary, this is going to take more than one marketing hire to achieve, and while you could hire all the professionals needed to make your strategy successful, it would significantly increase the number of permanent staff that you have in your company, and ultimately, your overheads.
What’s more, you’ll have to make considerations such as: What happens if you don’t get the results you’re after? Will it be the person, or will it be the market? How will you know it's not as a result of your marketing hire’s lack of experience? Without the proper analytics available, this will be difficult to decipher.
OutsourcedThis post from Hubspot outlines the advantages of outsourced inbound marketing with regards to actual skills and tasks, essentially, the best digital inbound marketing agencies can bring you the skillset listed above, with significantly more accumulated years of experience.
Which leads us on to...
Even though we are living in the age of lightning fast decisions, instant gratification and general lack of concentration (all of which have impacted our marketing strategies) developing and implementing a successful digital marketing strategy is anything but quick.
It’s actually an incredibly time-consuming process that requires you to create and promote original content that appeals to your target audience, which then needs constant monitoring and maintenance to keep it at its optimum levels.
If you want to control your marketing for the long run and you have the cash to hire a good manager, then insourcing might be for you.
Additionally, it's worth considering the level of hire you take on initially. It can be very hard for a marketing manager to know everything about marketing and often business owners expect this.
You must consider that marketing managers will need to be given support for their own development and you will need to invest in training to ensure your manager and team stay up to date with marketing technology and of course, the latest techniques that are being employed to get good results. This will enable you to stay ahead of the pack and gain competitive advantage.
If you don't have the time to commit to your new marketing manager or co-ordinator to help them develop and/or procure services that help them deliver you results, then outsourcing to a full service agency might be a better fit for your organisation.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing is that it frees up time for you and your company to focus on what you really enjoy and what you are great at. You could be amazing at thinking of awesome new digital strategy ideas and concepts, but you then have to spend huge amounts of time implementing them.
Outsourcing allows you to concentrate on your strengths, while someone else takes the huge workload of putting these ideas into practice off your shoulders.
Don't think you can outsource and run, though; you'll need to manage your agency and give them the time they need to progress projects and if you don't have this time, you'll need someone to coordinate the effort.
There’s certainly a lot to take into consideration when looking at whether to invest in insourced or outsourced inbound marketing. There is no one size fits all and your route to growth needs planning and consideration to make the right choice for your business.
Let us help you work out the best way to get started with a free marketing report and one-hour consultation. Find out more and book yours here.