When it comes to a business owner, you often must be a jack of all trades to support all parts of the organization. However, a good leader must also know when it’s time to outsource tasks, lest they become an embodiment of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.”
Only about half of SMBs say they have a dedicated in-house marketing employee, according to one survey of more than 1,000 business owners, and more than 15 percent said the owner directly handled all marketing activities. While this can work out well for some SMBs, the likelihood that an organization is maximizing the impact it can make for its investment is low.
That’s why many SMB owners might look to outsource some or all tasks to an outside firm that specializes in marketing, including digital marketing, strategy, content, or social media. These firms can either supplement an SMB’s existing team or take on the whole task of marketing strategy and execution for the organization.
Pros and cons of outsourcing marketing
Hiring an entire marketing team — or even a single qualified individual — is a significant but necessary investment for any growing business. An SMB can more affordably ramp up its marketing efforts by outsourcing some of these tasks in areas like branding, SEO, blogging, digital marketing, creative, social media management, and more.
In addition, an outsourced marketing firm can provide an outside opinion on how to handle marketing strategy or fresh creative ideas on how to approach a campaign. This can help an SMB think outside the box and expand its potential with a specific project or overall marketing strategy.
The challenge inherent for any third-party firm is that it can be difficult or even impossible to integrate the teams as tightly as an in-house employee. It can also be risky to hand off a critical function like marketing that can define so much of a company’s public reputation. These difficulties can be overcome by taking time to find the right firm and ensuring careful and consistent communication between the parties.
What to look for in an outside firm
Careful vetting of a potential outsourced marketing firm can differentiate between a successful relationship or a fraught one. Some key questions to ask include what initial ideas the firm has for expanding your business, how they will quantify those efforts, and what their track record is of delivering results. You might also want to ask which individuals would specifically be dedicated to the account and if they have any specific experience with marketing in your industry or market size.
With careful evaluation and nurturing of the relationship, an SMB business owner can leverage an outsourced marketing firm to truly be a master of the market, not a master of none.