Many businesses are outsourcing marketing work. And they are doing so with varying degrees of success and frustration. There seems to be a promise that by handing over work you need doing to an expert, you’re guaranteed success.
There are many moving parts with marketing and often what happens is several pieces are outsourced to experts, but without a key element in your outsourcing plan, it may just end in frustration. But, let’s back up…
For the purpose of this article outsourcing marketing means to assign marketing work to someone outside your firm. They could be across town or across the world.
You would have decided to do this because you don’t have the skills in-house or your marketing team is at capacity and you need extra help. As well, this allows you the flexibility to find the best person/team to suit your needs, not just who is available in your local geography.
Almost anything. We’ve seen marketing elements such as research, strategy, planning, PPC, SEO, branding, writing, analytics, email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, video production, webinar production, web design and graphic design be outsourced to firms who specialize in this work.
Many business owners and department leads try outsourcing their marketing. And they may find that it doesn’t end up working out all that well. They blame the act of outsourcing that doesn’t work. Or that marketing doesn’t work. When in actual fact it is neither.
It is the fact that one very crucial role is missing when outsourcing. And that is your project manager. But not just any project manager, your expert marketing project manager.
Let me explain this with an analogy:
Each time you take your car to the repair shop, you’re outsourcing the repair of your car to an expert. When you take your car to the shop, there is the mechanic, then there is the service guy. The service guy (or gal) is the person you deal with. You tell them what is wrong with the car and they are your point of contact for this work.
If the mechanic recommends new tires or a says the timing belt needs replacing or something more complicated deep in the engine needs fixing, the mechanic tells the service guy.
And the service guy makes the call to you to ask for permission to get this work done. All the while explaining why all of these items are needed, what they do and what the results may be either way. The service guy can explain everything to you as simply or as complex as you want. He knows his stuff and he knows how to explain it to you.
The service guy’s job is to know what the mechanic is doing and also be able to explain it to the client. What you don’t often see is the service guy calling the shots on the next jobs and timing for the mechanics to work on ensuring that the flow of work match both the mechanics’ abilities, time and the clients’ expectations.
Remove the service guy and you just have you, the client and the mechanic talking directly to each other. You can see where this is going to go wrong, can’t you?
Let’s remove the service guy from this story.
Now if the mechanic says, among other things, that you need a new windshield, you’re on your own to find a windshield repair shop. You don’t know the first thing about where to find a windshield guy. So you look one up online and take the first person who may have some great online reviews.
Well now the windshield guy needs all kinds of direction from you. No matter how good he is at installing and replacing windshields, that work is his only concern.
Next, he’ll have questions for you about the work, but you don’t really know what to tell him except some other expert said you needed this so you got one and you just hope he knows what he is doing. But without any direction, the wind shield expert may not be ready to start on your work. There may be items the mechanic still needs to fix before it is appropriate to fix the windshield.
The windshield guy is hardly concerned about what the mechanic is doing and the mechanic is just concerned about the running of the car, so now you have two experts doing their own thing, looking to you for direction and you’re not sure what to tell them. You really just want it all working properly.
Where is the service guy?
This is the same scenario that plays out daily all over the world as busy professionals like yourself outsource your marketing. You need some help with writing, your website, your sales presentations, your social media.
There are very good experts in all those fields. Many of them are concerned about delivering their own work very well to you. They are not really concerned about who else you’ve outsourced work to, what those other experts are doing and how it all comes together for your marketing project, campaign or program.
You need a “services guy” for your marketing. This shouldn’t just be a project manager. No knock on project managers here. But without knowing how all the marketing elements fit together to support the strategy which supports the business goals, a non-marketing project manager will just be calling out the deadlines.
This type of person wouldn’t be able to manage the marketing experts as they’re not sure what the experts are doing and how it all fits together – the finesse of it all.
This is why you need a “services guy” that has been there, done that, in marketing for years. This expert can get into the weeds on items – because after all, isn’t it the details that end up taking the best plans off the road? You need someone who is on your side, gets what you need gets what marketing can do, gets what each expert can do, pulls it together and can deliver for you.
Outsourcing your marketing to the experts can be a wonderful thing if you have the services manager, a.k.a. the quarterback, a.k.a. the conductor, the person in place who can make all the marketing elements work for you so you can finally say that outsourcing your marketing was the best thing for your business.
The first job of this article was to make you feel better. No wonder your outsourced marketing wasn’t working! You were missing a major component to bring it all together.
The second is to get you the help you need. If you’re considering outsourcing your marketing or are bruised and worn out from a rough outsourcing project, call us and we can give you some tips and ideas on how to get your marketing back on the right track. We’ve been leading and managing successful marketing projects since 2009 and Jen Kelly has been doing this work since 1994.