Outsourcing marketing processes is a common practice in the modern business world, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Outsourcing your marketing can be highly effective, but costly if not done with the correct precautions.
Marketing is an ongoing search for those magical marketing channels that can economically turn every dollar in marketing spend into a multiple of revenue.
Marketing business process outsource providers (BPO), or end-to-end marketing agencies, are specialists at helping companies find this scalable marketing sweet spot.
Marketing BPO providers come in different forms. Some focus on a single digital component (i.e., SEO, PPC, social media content), while others have full-stack marketing offerings.
Regardless of which marketing process you’re thinking of outsourcing, it’s necessary to keep your finger on the pulse of your overall marketing strategy and long-term objectives.
If you’re considering outsourcing your marketing processes, you should take the following points into consideration.
What Tasks Can Marketing BPO Complete?
There are hundreds of unique marketing tasks and processes that can be outsourced – it’s a matter of finding which can economically scale in your company.
Put simply if a marketing activity can be broken down into a step-by-step process, you can likely find a plethora of talent capable of executing it at scale. For example…
Let’s suppose you’re thinking of outsourcing content marketing services to the Philippines, a hotspot for virtual content marketing talent. Your virtual assistants can research and schedule blog posts, add meta descriptions, tags, and images, seek out guest post opportunities, and internally link to other posts on your site.
Let’s take a look at another example.
Need help getting the digital word out via social media? A social media marketing agency can do everything from creating graphics based on your specifications, curate content, engage with followers, and interact with various other approved brands.
One final example of marketing bpo services is SEO.
If you’re outsourcing SEO, you can use a virtual army of link builders to build site strength to your blog posts, analyze SEO campaigns of competitors, track your positions, and submit content to directories, and ensure all posts are optimized for search engines with a simple plug-in like Yoast.
Pros & Cons of In-house Vs. Marketing BPO Services (and How You Can Use Both)
Most entrepreneurs and executives hold their company’s brand and marketing strategy with a tight fist, fearing that letting go of control could spell disaster.
Their anxiety is justified – it can take hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of hard work to build a brand, yet something as small as a tone-deaf or insensitive social media post can crumble it.
The Curse and Blessing of Control
The benefit of having an in-house marketing department is that you have full control over your brand. The downside, ironically, is the same.
In-house marketing requires an inordinate amount of focus, input, and collaboration from multiple parties, and it can easily start distracting resources from core business functions.
What good is control over your brand if you’re letting valuable marketing opportunities slip through the cracks on a regular basis?
A Full In-House Marketing Team Comes at a Cost
Further, it costs a pretty penny to keep a full in-house marketing team – unless of course, you’re swamping one or two people with an endless array of marketing work.
Outsourcing your marketing helps companies minimize employee burn-out, as well as the subpar results it tends to create.
On the other end of the spectrum, going the more cost effective route of fully outsourcing all of your marketing functions to a marketing agency or an independent digital marketing consultant can also be trouble. Very rarely does simply handing the keys over to a marketing BPO without explicitly defined processes yield positive results.
Choosing the Right Marketing Agency
The bar to advertise oneself as an independent digital marketing consultant or marketing agency is low. When it’s as simple as putting up a splashy website,it’s difficult to determine whether an individual or company is legitimately capable of the operational excellence they claim.
If you plan on bringing marketing BPO services into the fold, be sure to do your due diligence on your potential marketing agency or independent digital marketing consultant. Analyze previous work. Do the testimonials hold weight? Do the results stack up?
For example, using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush on the agency’s disclosed prior clients will help you see a world of objective data that showcases the results of an SEO campaign. Alternatively, SimilarWeb provides a free tool that can accomplish similar results.
Finding the Happy Medium Between In-house and Outsourced
So, what’s the answer then? To outsource marketing or not to outsource?
The answer naturally depends on company goals, resources and operations. But, for many companies, the answer is a hybrid in-house and outsourced marketing model.
The reason BPO marketing services are especially valuable is because in-house marketing departments tend to focus on higher-level marketing strategy, not so much the nitty-gritty marketing functions like emailing site owners for links to a blog. That is, the tactical tasks that marketing agencies do best.
Each outsourced activity should connect directly to an in-house strategy, and you should have at least one in-house member to directly oversee performance.
To that end, using software like Insightful to monitor and analyze any outsourced marketing activities can greatly streamline your review.
For example, with Insightful, your in-house marketing manager will be able to view one simple intuitive interface that showcases time allocation, productivity, and track time on tasks and projects to get more done and better ROI on your marketing spend.
Is Outsourcing My Marketing Worth It?
Marketing is a dizzying array of interconnected business processes, and it’s very easy to get tangled in the fray.
If you’re considering outsourcing your marketing without having a clear idea of what marketing channels and strategies you want to focus on, you need to slow down. The effectiveness of a marketing BPO is limited by the quality of your instruction.
For example, if you outsource your social media channels to a virtual assistant with the following instructions:
“We want more social media followers and people to like our brand and subscribe to our newsletter.”
You’re going to send your BPO on a wild goose chase.
Suppose you provided more detail:
“We want to create visually appealing Instagram posts using this template on Canva (link) and with this list of hashtags naturally in the captions (link). The post should focus on a market update for venture capital-funded SaaS companies, and the caption should be professional, but conversational (think of The Hustle or Morning Brew newsletters). Our captions should match our voice and brand guidelines (link). We want two posts per day to go live at 10 AM and 3 PM.”
Be so specific that the task at hand is almost impossible to mess-up, and if or when a mess up occurs, tweak your process and instructions accordingly.
A good test of whether or not you’ve broken down your marketing processes into clear instructions is to ask yourself, can each task be easily tracked, measured, and deliver a quantifiable outcome?
If yes, consider a solution such as Insightful that scales alongside your marketing outsourcing efforts, helping you perform marketing time tracking and measure the results of your efforts.
As your business grows, so do your marketing opportunities and needs.
2021 is an excellent time to outsource your marketing because there’s an abundance of talent available: thousands of people are applying to work from home marketing jobs on sites like UpWork.
Outsourcing marketing can be a complex and expensive endeavor if you’re not mindful of your goals, systems, and analytics.
However, you’ll learn that by testing the waters with a few detailed step-by-step activities that tie into your in-house marketing, hiring a marketing agency or any kind of marketing BPOservice isn’t so rough.
Whether you’re designing and building new landing pages, writing social media posts, or managing paid ads, the more work you allocate to marketing contractors means more time freed up for you and your team to focus on your core business functions.