Companies can fill mission-critical skills gaps by outsourcing to agencies, freelancers, and consultants.
Statistics show that 24% of small businesses outsource digital marketing services to improve efficiency. But among all the advantages, outsourcing also poses several challenges.
This article will discuss the latest trends in digital marketing outsourcing. You’ll also gain valuable insights into the benefits of outsourcing while minimizing the risks.
State of Digital Marketing Outsourcing in 2023
Outsourcing digital marketing tasks is key for savvy business owners who want to save costs and improve their services.
In 2023, outsourcing services, including digital marketing, is still a solid option for businesses. A full-service digital marketing agency can cover many marketing channels – from content marketing to PPC and more. Employing outsourced marketing services can give your business access to expertise and resources to fill skill gaps and foster growth.
Marketing services are also among the top services small businesses will seek in 2023.
Also, global spending on outsourcing could hit $971.2 billion in 2023:
Overall, the field of outsourcing marketing, either for big companies or small businesses, is thriving. So it’s time to explore the benefits your business can get from an outsourced marketing agency or freelance experts.
6 Main Benefits of Outsourcing Digital Marketing
After analyzing different marketing aspects, we can highlight a few important advantages of outsourcing digital marketing.
By outsourcing specific tasks, businesses can avoid the costs associated with hiring in-house digital marketers and spending on expensive marketing tools. This can help them optimize their marketing budget.
You can rely on service providers with affordable prices that invested in the necessary infrastructure and expertise.
For instance, content marketing requires experienced professionals and SEO tools like Ahrefs, Grammarly, SurferSEO, etc. So by outsourcing to a content marketing agency, you delegate tasks to professionals with the right tools and technologies to create and distribute compelling content for you. They also have a team of skilled writers who regularly train to keep up with industry trends and standards, ensuring your content is always top-notch.
Besides, delegation to digital marketing firms from countries with a lower cost of living can be even more economical. With global connectivity, companies can leverage highly skilled, low-cost labor overseas to streamline operations and cut costs.
To calculate your cost savings, consider the following factors:
- Labor market rate in the country where you plan to outsource
- Job title and skill level of the outsourced staff
- Required hours of work
- Size of the team
- Service fees
Outsourcing can undoubtedly save you money if you only need one or two tasks done. Once the project is completed, you can terminate the agreement. By comparison, engaging a permanent employee for a project may result in expectations of continued work and payment after completion, affecting your cost efficiency.
2. Expertise and Experience
With an outsourced marketing partner, you gain access to expert marketers’ knowledge and skills in the field, allowing for professional guidance and support throughout the project. This approach can help you achieve your business goals while ensuring your marketing efforts are practical and efficient.
However, it’s crucial to ensure that the outsourcing marketing department has the relevant qualifications and experience to meet your targets from the beginning of the collaboration.
For example, as technology continues to advance, there may be an increase in tech-focused outsourcing, particularly with the growing use of AI.
Getting such expertise in-house can be very challenging. Not only that, but it’s also going to be super expensive. This is more reason businesses are opting to outsource digital marketing. They get access to niche expertise and experience to manage their marketing without blowing their budgets.
3. Industry Insights
Outsourcing your marketing can provide valuable insights that you may not have been able to obtain independently. Skilled marketing freelancers have access to a wealth of information and resources that will help you understand your target market, competitors, and potential customers.
Additionally, outsourced marketers have experience working with various clients and industries, so they have a broad understanding of the different market and consumer behaviors. They can provide valuable insights into your industry’s best practices, emerging trends, and competitors’ operations.
What metrics to track? What is marketing reporting? How to build live marketing dashboards? External digital marketing experts will answer these and more complex questions about marketing data and strategy. They will provide you with insights for optimizing your marketing activities.
In this dynamic environment, businesses recognize the need to be agile and scale quickly in response to market changes. Outsourcing work to digital agencies is helpful for prompt scalability.
Outsourcing digital marketing has become increasingly popular because managing a successful campaign can be challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. With the help of an agency, you can promptly adjust your marketing objectives and activities in accordance with your business goals.
The benefits of outsourcing include the ability to quickly scale up or down, fill digital marketing skills gaps, supplement a current team, acquire flexible, temporary services, and access labor faster and cheaper than hiring an internal team member. This is really advantageous in modern marketing, where rapid scaling is often necessary to meet the changing needs of business development.
5. Availability of Extra Time and Resources
Delegating repetitive and time-consuming tasks to freelance marketers allows companies to focus on other business aspects. You can free up valuable resources for strategic business decisions, streamlined operations, and workflows.
This impacts business productivity and enables you to cover growth areas. For example, by entrusting marketing design, content creation, and other tasks to professionals, you can work on customer experience, explore new markets, develop product features, etc.
Another related advantage of outsourcing is that it allows businesses to operate globally without establishing a physical presence in different regions.
For instance, SaaS companies can benefit greatly from outsourcing marketing to global providers. This approach is particularly advantageous for SaaS businesses that want to expand their market reach but need more resources to establish local operations in different regions.
6. Flexibility to Business Changes
From a recent Coupler.io research, many marketers admit that ever-changing conditions in marketing are the key blocker for building a data-driven marketing strategy. Flexibility is important in business and particularly marketing activities.
Flexibility is a crucial advantage of outsourcing, as it allows businesses to implement changes and adjust to market dynamics.
When your business grows and is affected by market changes, you can be more agile with outsourcing teams. You can outsource additional people to cover the scope, boost processes, and add flexibility.
On the other hand, your business may not require the same level of staffing throughout the year. By outsourcing, you can staff up before a busy season. Once the busy season is over, you can effortlessly transition back to an entirely in-house marketing team.
4 Key Challenges of Digital Marketing Outsourcing
Businesses may face several key challenges when outsourcing their digital marketing efforts. Here are a few examples of such challenges and how to overcome them.
1. The Challenge of Choice
With so many agencies and freelancers available, choosing the right one for your business can be difficult. Researching and evaluating potential partners takes time. You must ensure they have the skills and expertise to meet your marketing goals.
Some tips for choosing the right outsourcing provider for your company include:
- Define your business goals. Before outsourcing some of your business needs, clearly defining what you want to achieve is important.
- Ensure reliability and experience. Ask for details of the company, their work samples, or previous/current clients for references.
- Check access to communication, the technology used, and infrastructure.
- Assess financial stability.
Consider the location of the company and whether or not it makes sense for your business. Look at the company’s management team to know if they have the right mix of experience and work ethic.
2. Communication Issues
Collaborating with external digital marketing teams can pose communication barriers, cultural misunderstandings, time zone differences, and misaligned expectations and timelines. These difficulties can hinder the achievement of high-quality outcomes.
Businesses might need to discuss an update and reporting flow. For example, how frequently should the agency deliver progress reports?
Ideally, you should have frequent reports during the early stages of the collaboration. This is essential in ensuring all the fine details are ironed out early. So a fortnightly or monthly report makes sense. You can then transition to a bi-monthly or quarterly report.
There should also be a point-of-contact on both ends. So someone from the agency and another person from your company. The two should be able to communicate at all times. On the same note, it’s also crucial to establish clear communication channels.
Businesses can adopt specific measures to address communication challenges, such as using a work messenger platform like Slack or assigning clear roles and responsibilities to facilitate effective communication channels. Doing so ensures that team members stay connected and updated and that any issues or concerns are addressed promptly.
3. Sensitive Data
One of the critical challenges businesses face is ensuring the privacy and security of sensitive information. There are many situations where companies may need to restrict access to specific data, such as income reports, customer data, etc.
It is essential to carefully evaluate the outsourcing partner’s security practices, licensing requirements, and certifications before sharing sensitive data. Businesses need to be sure that their outsourcing partners have robust data privacy and security measures to protect this information.
In some cases, it may be possible to outsource tasks without exposing sensitive data. However, limiting the number of people who know how the information is stored and protected is safer.
Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that the outsourcing company and its employees understand the importance of keeping confidential information confidential. This understanding must be a part of the contractual agreement between the two parties.
4. Team Management
While outsourcing may free up internal resources, businesses still need to manage the outsourced team, deal with contracts and payments, etc. Moreover, delays or disputes in payment can cause significant issues with the outsourcing partner and impact the project’s progress and outcomes.
One of the primary obstacles is the need for a dedicated project manager. While the outsourcing partner may provide a project manager, you still need to provide oversight to ensure that the project stays on track and meets the goals. The project manager must also manage potential conflicts or communication breakdowns between the external team and internal stakeholders.
There are additional steps that businesses can take to overcome such problems. For instance, the company can organize regular virtual meetings to align expectations and goals, foster a positive working relationship, and create a sense of teamwork.
In-house Team or Digital Marketing Outsourcing?
Whether to build an in-house team or outsource digital marketing depends on several factors, including business needs, goals, and available resources.
Internal marketing teams are best suited for companies that require specialized knowledge, expertise, or proprietary technology, particularly in highly regulated industries like healthcare, finance, or legal services. Companies that rely on collaboration and coordination between departments or business functions, such as research and development or design, may also benefit from in-house operations.
Here are the pros and cons of in-house:
- Reduced cultural fit risks and communication issues.
- Working with internal teams provides greater control over the project progression, especially if established routines exist.
- Experts inside the company accumulate knowledge and know-how.
- There might be a need for more knowledgeable professionals in domestic markets.
- The task of recruitment, onboarding, retention, and oversight of personnel is a serious one.
- There are better options than in-house development for start-ups or SMBs that want to scale quickly and hire specialists for a short period.
- Companies should carefully weigh the costs of hiring and managing an in-house team.
On the other hand, outsourcing can be a viable option for companies that need a flexible workforce, have limited resources, or require specialized expertise or technologies not available in-house. Outsourcing can help companies reduce costs, improve efficiency, and access a wider talent pool and resources.
Compared to in-house, outsourcing has the following advantages and disadvantages:
- By augmenting teams with additional experts, companies can complete more tasks and projects concurrently, enabling them to accomplish more.
- Your dedicated team can scale up and down as needed.
- You can hire specialists around the world through outsourcing
- The experience of freelancers keeps service delivery stable and predictable.
- If you outsource, you may lose visibility into how tasks are tracked and completed, but this can be easily fixed by discussing the desired level of control with your partner.
- It is also advisable to conduct extensive research on your prospective vendor and evaluate how the contractor ensures a suitable level of data security.
- Integrating teams necessitates additional effort from an organizational standpoint.
A practical solution might also be to blend an in-house team with an outsourcing one, which can be especially useful if specific skills are unavailable for in-house recruitment. Many businesses have seen positive results by utilizing a hybrid approach, combining in-house and outsourced resources to achieve maximum synergy.
Outsourcing digital marketing in 2023 is a viable option for businesses seeking an edge in their fields. It allows companies to use specialized digital marketing agency resources and expertise to develop and implement effective marketing strategies without investing in additional resources.
However, you must consider the challenges and benefits of outsourcing when choosing a reputable agency. A hybrid approach is often the preferred, flexible option when businesses have their own full-time employees on critical systems and supplement it with skilled professionals.
Still, an experienced and trustworthy outsourcing partner is essential for success, allowing businesses to create a comprehensive digital marketing plan tailored to their goals.