How Small Businesses Can Win at Reputation Management
March 1, 2022 |
February 25, 2020
Long before I came to PHOS, I worked in the sales department of a Fortune 500 company. Our sales and marketing teams worked together closely to ensure that this $50 million organization, with around 250-300 staff members maintained, and grew, the bottom line year over year.
From humble beginnings, five years of excellent customer service and focused growth strategies brought unseen, meteoric growth.
While it made sense to add staff in sales and customer service roles to support the recent upward trajectory, the leaders couldn’t justify also scaling the marketing department (if you could call 1 full-time and 1 part-time employee that). Instead, the marketing department became a “catch-all” for anything even slightly marketing related.
This is where the trouble started brewing.
On any given day, this underserved team created flyers, wrote email copy, updated social media, performed website maintenance, designed slide decks, interpreted data, qualified leads, and any other number of marketing-adjacent tasks.
To say that our marketing team wore a lot of hats is a dramatic understatement.
This ultimately led to an overworked marketing staff that felt unappreciated, an unhappy sales team that felt they had to pick up the slack if they wanted anything done in on-time, and a broken system that (to my knowledge) persists to this day.
A problem that could have easily been solved early had organization outsourced its marketing to an expert agency positioned to grow with them.
There are 2 primary reasons a company might choose to outsource certain business functions: cost and competency.
The first, and arguably the most common reason a company chooses to outsource one of its functions, is cost.
A simple example is a company that outsources a department where it would cost them more to regularly hire an experienced professional. This could be anything from a small business that needs design help from time to time but doesn’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer to a major company that chooses not to hire an in-house attorney.
The old cliche is true, time is money, and it often makes sense to outsource time (and cost) consuming functions to someone that will be more efficient and capable.
To that end, a company might partner with an outside provider for something that they don’t have proficiency in.
This allows them to gain access to people with world-class capabilities in a specific field while simultaneously freeing up internal resources for other, more core-focused, purposes. In this way, they reduce their risk as a company by sharing the task with an experienced partner.
There are essentially two types of positions in your organization: those that you do uniquely well and those that you don’t. It’s a hard reality, but the time spent on activities that don’t define you can be time and cost consuming and, ultimately, hard to justify.
Luckily, the solution is simple: Outsource activities that aren’t your core competency or don’t provide a measurable return to your organization.
In the example above, it’s clear that marketing was not a core competency of the organization. Instead of devoting time and resources to maintaining an overwhelmed marketing department, they could have easily outsourced these tasks to a capable marketing agency saving time, money, and a lot of headaches.
While it may not be feasible to outsource everything you don’t enjoy or are not proficient at, you may find that clearing some “job clutter” from your company is the ultimate growth hack.
Here are four reasons you should consider outsourcing your digital marketing tasks to a qualified digital marketing agency:
You’ve seen the job postings before. A “Marketing Assistant” but with desired skills in coding, graphic design, social media, data analysis, copywriting, sales, and more, all for a minimum wage. If you find this person, let us know. What if, rather than hiring this overstretched soul, you could get a team with true expertise in each bucket for a similar cost?
That’s what you get with an agency.
The average agency has a number of people, each with specific skill sets in the fields that you are looking to outsource. Most digital marketing agencies have people skilled in SEO, lead generation, ad-buying, copywriting, social media, PR, data science, graphic design, photo-editing, videography, web development, marketing automation, and strategy.
When you outsource to a digital marketing agency, you get access to all of this experience and a sophisticated set of skills from an entire team that a single person or two simply can’t be expected to perform at a top-level.
In addition to the collective expertise of an agency, you get the collective savings. To put this in perspective, if you needed to fill a digital marketing department for a mid-sized business you would likely need the following (based on BLS 2018 Median Pay), at a minimum:
Marketing manager – $132,620
Web Developer – $69,430
Social Media/Content Marketer – $56,770
Graphic Designer – $50,370
This team would cost a little over $300k/year in-house and are all common roles that are served by a digital marketing agency.
This cost doesn’t even take into account the variety of tools and software applications required to ensure this team performs at an optimal level (an industry that has grown 10x in the last decade). Specific marketing and design tools that nearly all agencies maintain can cost your company $1000’s of dollars per month in additional overhead.
Let’s face it, if marketing isn’t your company’s core competency, hiring for it, training, and leading a marketing team probably aren’t your core competencies either. Instead, they are potential time stealing activities that could convert into pursuits that drive the bottom line of your organization.
According to statistics, the average duration an employee stays at a job is 2.8 years. That number only decreases when employees feel undervalued or don’t feel that their organization aligns with their career interests. This means that your organization won’t hire and train for these positions once but conceivably every couple of years. This revolving door of talent only further hinders your overall business growth.
In contrast, when you find a digital marketing agency that supports your mission and you enjoy working with, they can remain a consistent voice in your marketing for as long as you need them. Not only that, but they can scale with your organization, relieving you from the responsibility of hiring and training new employees as your organization grows.
The concern for many business owners when they consider outsourcing is the loss of transparency. Outsourcing requires a significant amount of trust. There is no shortage of stories of companies that have been burned by manipulative organizations that only seek profit, not their client’s best interest.
Fortunately, this is the exception and not the norm, especially when outsourcing tasks like digital marketing. With the right agency, you will still retain access to all of your data and efforts. Furthermore, you will receive regular reports and insights from your service contractor to better manage your ROI.
Of course, outsourcing digital marketing isn’t the right choice for every company. In fact, there are services that an in-house marketer can provide that an agency simply can’t. For instance, while an agency can be great at setting up and managing campaigns and strategies, they really can’t effectively tell the day to day stories of your organization, because they aren’t there. Similarly, while typically very responsive, an agency will never be able to pivot as quickly as the marketing specialist sitting in the cubicle next to you.
Outsourcing or contracting out functions in your organization is a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Used correctly, though, it can provide a wide variety of benefits to your company.
Knowing where you are and what your organization needs are a great starting point. Need a hand? Give us a call.
The team at PHOS Creative is here to help you identify opportunities for growth and craft a strategy to capitalize on them and realize the full potential of those opportunities.