Is using an outsourced marketing department a valid option for businesses in B2B markets? This article considers the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing.
B2B marketing was traditionally based on push marketing and often a single person or small team could cope with managing a small number of external suppliers and in house activities. Today, it is generally accepted that inbound marketing generates more high quality sales leads at lower cost than outbound. Inbound marketing has distinct advantages but it brings with it greater complexity.
Inbound marketing requires an intimate understanding of online marketing techniques, customer and channel research, social media and copywriting, content sourcing and editing. Many of these skills are new to traditional marketing departments.
The four main reasons to use an outsourced marketing department therefore are:
• A greater range of skills
• Improved flexibility
• Professionally project managed, consistent approach
• Lower cost
An external marketing team will generally work with a range of clients and can therefore maintain specialists in a range of marketing disciplines. They are therefore better placed than an in house team to deliver the range of tasks required by inbound marketing.
Outsourcing also delivers greater flexibility by delivering resource only when it is required to cope with peaks in demand. An outsourced marketing team may be called upon to deliver marketing services when there are peaks in demand such as a new product launch or a change in company direction.
Without distractions or internal politics a project manager in the outsourced team may ensure that everything is collated effectively and delivered to plan without drama. This ensures marketing has the maximum impact rather than ad hoc delivery that only wastes time and money.
As marketing services are only brought in as and when required the costs of employing a full time in house team may be reduced or dispensed with altogether. With an outsourced team there is no recruitment, holiday or other costs and they are only employed when required.
An outsourced marketing department therefore offers businesses in B2B markets some real advantages. However, it is important to balance these advantages against those of the in house team before making any decisions. An in house team often grows up with a business and therefore has an intimate understanding of products, customers and markets that an outsourced team cannot hope to match.
An in house team will also be closer to understanding existing sources of content to fuel the inbound marketing process and will have existing relationships with those closest to customers – the sales department.