How outsourcing marketing activities can help organisations drive better business outcomes
A LinkedIn analysis of members revealed that marketing roles had the highest churn as compared to other job functions.
The reasons may vary: from fast-evolving functional roles to changing customer demands and the traditional product-oriented marketing strategy becoming obsolete. But the fact is that the marketing role is probably the most ambiguous, one where the focus is skewed to immediate results only. In some organisations, the marketing role does not carry clarity in KRAs and KPIs, and can be quite frustrating to the employee.
Gone are the days where companies depended only on traditional marketing strategies which covered advertisements, bill boards, signages, brochures, or tele-marketing. Today, marketing professionals have to work on strategies that enhance customer experience, focus more on the ‘job to be done’, are cost-efficient, deliver higher RoI, and cater to multiple markets across the globe.
They need to ensure an ‘omni’ approach that integrates all customer touchpoints - offline and online marketing, social media, and marketing automation. And while at it, finer targeting, data analytics, and deeper levels of customer engagement too.
The skillset requirement for marketing today is not only high in number but is evolving even faster, with new-age technology playing a key role. Businesses are finding it quite challenging to keep up with the high speed of constant change, which, in some ways, is also not surprising.
To be able to actually have hired personnel to manage all aspects of marketing that the business requires doesn’t make sense anymore. Not only is the cost and effort of continuous upgrading of skills monumental, it is also not feasible to keep up with this model.
The only solution that seems to make sense in this madness is to outsource some, if not all, activities to experts, who specialise in just that one aspect and therefore are more up-to-date with skillsets required for it.
Furthermore, they work with multiple organisations, which gives them greater exposure and opportunities to hone their skillsets continuously. Partnering a performance-driven marketing firm or individual is cost-efficient too!
A good and effective marketing partner can play a key role in the success of any business model, bridging the gap between the customer and the brand.
The question then, is, how much of what should one outsource, and to whom. What should the expectations from them be, and how closely they can work with you and your teams to help you gain a competitive edge and achieve your business goals faster.
Let us look at some key aspects of outsourcing marketing activities:
Performance marketing works well as a win-win business opportunity
Many are taking the route of outsourcing the marketing function, or at least parts of it, to gain a competitive edge and achieve their business goals faster. Specific goals, such as leads, and measurable results linked to payments are some of the common ones.
With more and more reliance on digital tools for marketing, the whole process can be made very transparent, with a campaign calendar, where the individual activities in each campaign and the performance by the team at every level are captured.
The key here is to analyse the data from the report and get the exact picture of the overall performance. The reports you receive from outsourced marketing agencies or persons should not only include the obvious “conversion rates” but also a descriptive analysis of each campaign – what aspects worked, what didn’t work, other benefits and challenges, in addition to work-in-progress.
A micro-segment wise analysis, and what factors have the greatest impact on the result – both positive and negative - can provide accurate feedback to the company and inputs for future marketing strategies.
This will help create better marketing campaigns and may even be able to predict outcomes, something the sales team will thank you for!
Leave the social media marketing –organic and paid - to the experts
Managing social media accounts seems deceptively simple. After all, don’t we all do so brilliantly with our own social pages? What most organisations fail to realise is that the dynamics of managing a corporate social media presence are very, very different.
It is more than just about creating and posting stuff regularly, which is also a big part of it, for consistency and presence are critical to staying on top of people’s minds. More importantly, understanding the entire business landscape, your industry, your competitors, and even businesses that complement yours are the game changer here.
Constant listening, responding promptly, with faster and appropriate reactions, staying relevant, and a step ahead of all – this is a job that a team of one or two can do (that’s normally the kind of team that most organisations assign for social media).
It requires tools, various skillsets, and a forever presence in that universe.
A good social media marketing partner should be able to do all of this for you. They will usually appoint an account manager – who you should expect will know your business as well as you and will build a plan that suits your business requirements and get it executed for you by experts.
These specialists have rich experience in their respective industry, such as luxury, B2B, enterprise, B2C, B2B2C, D2C, and more.
An outsourced CMO is a part-time addition to the brand’s C-suite
A third, very valuable outsourcing role is the ‘leadership’. Outsourced CMOs are gaining popularity in many organisations. Till recently, they were popular only with startups because of the immense value they added, at a fraction of the cost. Investors and businesses love them for the amount of experience they brought into the board rooms, their ability to build teams for them, and for the credibility they added to the C-suite.
Today, more and more large enterprises are seeing the value of an outsourced CMO. According to a HBR survey, 80 percent of CEOs are dissatisfied with their internal CMO, leading to the latter’s high turnover in the C-suite. This could be due to poorly designed roles and many time the traditional in-house CMO may not possess updated skillsets or provide on-demand services that an outsourced CMO (OCMO) can deliver.
The type and scope of such an outsourced leader is based on the current need of the organisation. Does it need someone to help take marketing to the next level? Or does the marketing function need a quick rejig by bringing in new perspectives and fresh skillsets? Or do you need just an impartial opinion on how things are actually working, the things that can’t really be seen in the weekly reports that the team brings to you.
Once the decision to outsource is made, it is important for businesses to focus on when, why and how they can engage with an external marketing partner.
The flexibility and scalability factors that come with the hiring of a third-party marketing expert can have an immense impact on the business model of the brand. Outsourced engagements always bring in laser focus on the deliverables, is cost-effective, and can be measured easily.
Furthermore, by partnering an external marketing expert, it becomes easy for the corporate to have access to specialists with skillsets and knowledge across digital marketing, marketing automation, and related domains. A strong partnership between the organisation and the external marketing partner/s can create and build a superior quality brand.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)