As the way we work continues to evolve and change (no doubt accelerated by the pandemic) and even the most traditional of businesses in every industry have moved beyond the old model of company employees sitting in an office 9 to 5, CEOs and business owners are exploring other opportunities to best achieve their business goals.

When it comes to B2B marketing, rather than having an in-house marketer and a marketing agency, business owners are cottoning on to the fact they can get better value and results by outsourcing to a specialist outsourced marketing team with a broad mix of skills and expertise in strategy, lead generation, creative and analytics. 

But how do you know if it’s time to outsource your digital marketing? Here are 6 signs your business could benefit from outsourcing digital marketing to a team that specialises in helping companies reach their growth goals. 

1. You keep running out of time for marketing

Picture this; it’s the end of month, your newsletter hasn’t gone out as planned, nor has the blog you were going to write last Saturday when you had ‘spare’ time. If you have an in house marketing manager, they’ve probably been tied up working on an important tender and haven’t had a chance to analyse how your Google Ads campaigns are running. And your marketing agency is either awaiting your instruction or doing stuff but you don’t know if it’s tied to your business goals.

On top of this, you have only a vague idea of how your SEO is going and how you’re ranking on google vs your competitors, and if you’re even ranking for the right search terms. You’re also not sure how many marketing initiated leads were sent to the sales team last month, or what % of them were closed. 

No doubt you’ve also got a pile of ideas you’d love to explore –  like that short video showcasing the great new thing your company has engineered – but no one has time or skills to make it happen.

This is a scenario not unfamiliar to a lot of business owners (even those with a full-time marketing team or agency), but it is one that will cost you leads and money.

With an outsource partner you work together to devise a sound strategy and action plan built around defined business goals, so there is a rationale for all work and a clear scope of activity for content marketing. Working to the agreed plan, your outsource partner and team of experts implements, manages and reports on outcomes. Email newsletter deadlines aren’t missed, blogs go out regularly, Linkedin Ad campaigns are managed and optimised, social media posts are developed based on a clear strategy, SEO tracks well and marketing and sales are aligned so your investment delivers real returns. 

2. Your activity isn’t driven by a clear marketing strategy and plan  

Do you ever get the feeling your marketing manager or agency is doing ‘busy work’? They’re producing lots of stuff, but you’re wondering if it’s the right stuff. 

There is a great abundance of different activities your digital marketing agency can do, and it’s not uncommon for marketers to focus on things that show they’re getting content ‘out there’ without it being part of, or aligned to, a clear marketing strategy or action plan. However, successful digital marketing isn’t about just doing stuff, nor trying to do everything (unless you have an unlimited budget), it’s about doing the right things at the right time to the right audience.  Like most things, you need to make sure you’re working to a plan in order to get the outcomes you want.

And, because there are so many options to choose from it’s critical your team works to:

  1. Understand your goals first 
  2. Develop a strategy to achieve your goals
  3. Build an action plan broken down into discrete campaigns with a defined timeframe, budget and structure for social media, advertising, email, SEO and creative content. 

If you’re outsourcing digital marketing, you’ll get access to a team of marketing experts including senior strategic marketers that are able to plan the right approach to meet your growth goals.

3. You don’t know your ROI or the KPIs you should be measuring 

Do you know your marketing ROI for the last calendar year? 

  • Do you have an ROI target for this year? 
  • Do you know your web visitor-to-lead conversion ratio, or the lead-to sale-ratio? 
  • How about the number of leads from your last Linkedin campaign? 
  • Do you know how many leads closed, and your overall cost of acquisition for clients you signed from each campaign? 

The ability to get information quickly and easily, analyse data and make business and marketing decisions is a core tenet of digital marketing in 2021. 

There’s nowhere to hide with digital marketing. Everything is trackable. Your outsourced expert will work closely with your company management to develop ROI goals and a KPI framework to track the success of your digital marketing investment. 

Digital marketing, like most things, takes time to deliver results (don’t expect to shoot straight to page 1 of Google results the moment you set a new SEO optimised page live), so you need to develop a plan to measure ROI realistically against your spend, setting both short term lead marketing KPIs (doing things) and lag marketing KPIs (results and outcomes). 

4. Your marketing reporting tells you little 

If your marketing reporting is limited to using Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting your website or checking your email open rates and how engaged people are with your  Linkedin posts you’re missing the point. Marketing reporting is not only about seeing what’s happening but understanding why it’s happening and how things can be improved and optimised.

CEOs and business leaders usually don’t want or need complicated marketing reports, most often we find they’re looking for consistent, structured, accessible reporting that allows for quick and easy interpretation of the data. 

You need your digital marketing agency to measure and report regularly (on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis) on their online marketing activity and campaign outcomes. Often they’re focused on doing the work but you find they drop the ball when it comes to ongoing analytics and reporting. This is necessary to communicate not only successes, but also to interrogate the impact of online marketing activities so they can be optimised, enhanced or dropped altogether. 

When you outsource your digital marketing your team will orbit their activity around regular reporting on ads, SEO, social media, email marketing and any other campaigns and activities.

Free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can be combined in a free reporting platform like Google Datastudio to provide a birds-eye view of your activity with the ability to dive into the detail. With an outsourced marketing team, you’re likely to get access to these tools and more, such as all-in-one platforms like Hubspot’s CRM and specialist marketing dashboard platforms like Databox which allow you to integrate data from web, social platforms, your CRM and email marketing all in one place. With the use of shared dashboards, you get real-time transparency of digital marketing campaign performance. 

5. You’re spending on a marketing manager AND a digital marketing agency 

If you hire an in-house marketer it’s unlikely they will have the depth of expertise or the capacity to develop strategies and execute all necessary activities by themselves, this takes a team of specialists in different areas. Many digital marketing agencies are set up to work with marketing managers to help them implement a company’s content marketing, but they are often at arms length from the business owner and don’t have scope, nor the expertise, to plan activity to the company’s business goals.

By outsourcing your digital marketing, you’re able to access CMO level specialist strategic thinking and a team of digital marketing experts that will work directly with you to craft a smart strategy, develop plans and implement activities that generate leads and grow sales. 

Outsourcing digital marketing can also cost less than a full-time marketing manager and save you both time and money. 

6. You’re onto your third Marketing Manager in as many years

High turnover of in-house marketers isn’t uncommon, and it won’t be in 2021. Digital marketing is moving so fast that it’s hard for one person to keep up with all that they need to.

While it’s not hard to hire a smart person with a marketing degree, that can help you implement online marketing plans, not all managers have the strategic marketing knowledge (let alone experience) to develop marketing strategies and action plans aligned to your business goals.

When you outsource your digital marketing to a specialist provider you don’t have to rely on just a single person. Outsourced marketing teams typically include a range of skills, including a strategist, managers and a team of creative and analytics experts that make it all happen. So you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.

B2B Marketing Assessment