Marketing outsourcing BlitheDigital

Marketing: in-house team vs. Outsourcing

Some have spoken of a ‘digital marketing dilemma’, but some clarification is needed first. For any kind of activity, companies are faced with two distinct solutions:

structure an in-house team or outsource?

In the case of developing or implementing a marketing strategy, it is not always easy to determine which of the two options is the most convenient. Naturally, the cards on the table change depending on the sector: there are areas where outsourcing is more common, while there are others where the formation of an in-house team is a must.

In this article we will compare these two different methodologies for developing an effective marketing operations team.

Entrusting your marketing strategy to an in-house team

Companies today are well aware of the importance of planning an effective marketing strategy, especially when the growth objectives of a business have to take into account the highly competitive markets.
Implementing or defining a marketing strategy requires the use of time and resources. This implies that there must be a team dedicated full-time to marketing activities, especially if the business faces a large market.
Developing an in-house marketing department means forming a team of several professionals with a varied skill set. It is not at all easy to find the right fit between the different figures also because the more technical skills have to be complemented by the soft skills involved in teamwork.
The more complete the marketing department, the better it will be able to perform all marketing activities. An essential characteristic of the team is therefore multidisciplinarity: it is advisable that team members have different backgrounds and specialisations in order to meet all the challenges that the markets impose with marketing solutions tailored to the business.
This actually applies to both in-house and outsourcing teams. In both cases, the team must be multidisciplinary. The difference, however, is that, in the case of the in-house team, the onus is on the company to find and manage the right resources in terms of skills and abilities, whereas, in the case of outsourcing, it is assumed that the outsourced entity already has the necessary resources to develop or apply the right marketing strategy.

Advantages of relying on an in-house team

The in-house solution has a number of advantages to keep in mind when developing an effective marketing strategy. But it has to be said from the outset that it is the most time-consuming and costly solution because assembling a suitable team is by no means simple.
Other resources are needed to find the most suitable team members (HR teams or recruiting agencies), to transmit the company’s values (managers ready to train newcomers), and to guarantee adequate salaries and training courses that are functional to the objectives set. It is not necessarily the case that a company is able to solve these needs.
Let us now proceed with an overview of the advantages:

Business and industry knowledge

Who better than your employees to know the business reality and the market in which they operate? Especially in the case of more niche businesses, such as ICT or digital products such as high-tech software, it is not obvious to know the dynamics of the target market and the strengths and weaknesses of a given product.
Having the right knowledge and a perfect understanding of the product to be promoted is a real advantage.

Knowledge of the language of the company

An in-house team learns the language of the company faster, knows perfectly what the gaps in the communication strategy are, the target audience and the needs of existing customers, for the simple reason that they live the company on a daily basis.
This aspect should by no means be underestimated, especially when it comes to campaigns whose purpose is to strengthen brand identity or brand reputation.

Interaction with other company departments

Between colleagues it is easier to interact. There are fewer steps to take and the timeframe is shortened. This is crucial because each update of the products or services to be promoted can be scrutinised by the marketing department without too many hindrances.
In between chats, colleagues will be able to align themselves quickly. In this way, the entire marketing department will not only be able to strengthen its knowledge of the product to be promoted, but will also be updated on market changes through interaction with the sales department.

Marketing outsourcing BlitheDigital

Spirit of belonging to the cause

Of course, in the case of an internal team, the spirit of belonging to a common cause is an advantage that is difficult to give up. Team members will become more aware of the mission, brand identity and vision. This is a real asset to be exploited for any marketing activity.

In addition, on a motivational level, the team will benefit from a few extra handholds. The results obtained help to improve the growth of one’s own company and the relationship with other departments. The motivational aspect should by no means be underestimated because, on the one hand, it spurs resources to always give their best and constantly improve, and on the other hand, it increases the internal synergy of the different company departments. These are essential components for marketing strategies to be fully result-oriented.

When it is one’s own garden that benefits and not someone else’s, challenges have another flavour.

Internal team yes, internal team no?

Before forming an in-house team to take care of all marketing activities, certain aspects must be taken into consideration:

  1. Consistency with the budget. It is necessary to be aware of the amount of resources needed to form the team, both in terms of cost and timing.
  2. Consistency with the set objectives. It is always good to carry out a preliminary cost-benefit analysis. If your objectives do not justify the investment needed to train an in-house marketing department, it is better not to expose yourself too much and rely on outsourcing.
  3. In-house training. Considerations must be made about the actual capacity to train a team that is up to the task. It is not easy to find the right resources, nor is it easy to guarantee them a growth path in line with the achievement of objectives. Therefore, a training plan must be structured to enable the resources that will be part of the in-house marketing department to develop the necessary skills to perform the required tasks. Keeping up with the constant and sudden changes in digital marketing is a real challenge.
  4. Know-how. A working model must first be developed and passed on to all team members in order to increase synergy and result orientation. Behind every team there is know-how that outlines its working dynamics, decision-making processes and use of tools and resources.

What outsourcing means for your company’s marketing

The figures speak for themselves: more and more companies are deciding to delegate the marketing function to third-party companies in order to gain a competitive advantage and optimise their investments. The reason lies mainly in the lack of resources. In fact, not all companies possess the necessary resources to set up an in-house marketing department that is up to the task.
The solution to this problem is to outsource the marketing function. This way of proceeding is called ‘outsourcing’, a term that indicates precisely the decision by a company to delegate to a third party, usually a specialised agency, the performance of certain activities.
This term therefore extends not only to marketing but to any other type of activity. Consultancy companies, for example, are born precisely for this: they specialise in certain services in order to offer other companies specific skills and know-how that they would find it difficult to replicate internally.

Advantages of outsourcing marketing

Below is a list of the advantages of outsourcing by delegating marketing activities to a specialised company. Here the logic is quite clear:
“When you don’t know how to do something important, outsource to a qualified expert and maximise results in the shortest possible time”
Outsourcing can be a real lifeline for all those companies struggling to form an in-house department for a given activity or to find the right strategy to achieve the desired results.
Within an ultra-competitive market, the logic of investment and economic return is stringent: marketing today means structuring a path to business growth that is long-lasting and full of success. Outsourcing enables SMEs to achieve results in a short timeframe that they would otherwise hardly have achieved. A similar but not equal discussion applies to large companies: learning the know-how of specialised companies may be the only way to solve certain internal problems.

Savings on marketing investment

Everyone saves money. In order to set up an in-house marketing department, new resources have to be hired and numerous employment contracts have to be concluded, which puts a strain on the company budget. You even run the risk of losing the resource after investing time and money to train them and put them in the best working conditions.

Outsourcing allows companies to save on marketing investment because it eliminates the costs of:

  1. Recruitment. There is no need to search for new resources to hire, nor to structure complex recruitment plans.
  2. Personnel management. You do not have to enter into new employment contracts that burden the budget or make investments in managing new resources.
  3. Training. No training or refresher programmes should be structured to meet the challenges of digital marketing.

Marketing ICT

Relying on a highly qualified external team

It is often the case that, although a company invests large sums of money to build a good team, things do not go well. Not only does this not allow the company to achieve its goals, but the resources deployed cannot be fully recovered.
Outsourcing does not only mean delegating the marketing function to third parties. The key aspect of outsourcing is to rely on an external team that specialises in the required activities and has a proven track record in the field. This is tantamount to saying that delegating the marketing function is a secondary aspect and that internal resources, through comparison with other, more specialised professionals, will be able to increase their own skill set.
Marketing is a complex sector that is constantly being revolutionised. Finding a winning formula and maintaining it over time requires know-how that not all companies are able to learn and apply.
Relying on an already trained and functioning team is the key to maximising results in the shortest possible time by applying know-how that is difficult to replicate.

Support to internal marketing department

A good solution to grow the internal marketing department may be to delegate only certain marketing activities to an external provider. If the internal team is lacking in certain aspects, the best solution might be to hire experts to make up for those shortcomings.
In this way, the internal team can discuss with experts and learn the most suitable strategy to achieve the desired result.
If, for example, a marketing strategy is not performing at its best, the support of an external consultant who is able to identify the critical aspects of the plan and propose an appropriate solution could be a good opportunity to grow the company’s internal resources.