When an organization is looking to strengthen its marketing – to grow, introduce a new product or open up new markets – the question of hiring versus outsourcing often comes up. There are three directions you can take: you can focus on hiring the talent you need, outsource your marketing or build a hybrid solution.
Hiring new marketing talent is often the first direction that companies are looking to take – to build new capabilities, backfill open positions or expand team capacity. However, building out a hybrid approach has its advantages, especially in those markets where talent is scarce, capacity needs vary, and speed to market is important.
A hybrid model can work in several ways, such as:
- You could have an experienced marketing leader develop the marketing strategy and then outsource the marketing program management and execution to agencies or contractors.
- A core marketing team can develop and execute the company’s marketing strategy, focusing itself on the key initiatives, and leveraging outside resources for other initiatives, to scale where capacity is needed, focus on special initiatives, or add specific capabilities.
- A team of junior to mid-level marketers can manage the day-to-day marketing activities and work with outside agencies or contractors for more strategic or specialized initiatives.
What approach you take – hiring, outsourcing, or going hybrid – is dependent on factors such as the growth stage of your company, your go-to-marketing approach, and your ability to attract the right talent to support your business.
Growth stage of your company
Your marketing needs differ in each stage of your company’s growth. In the early stages, you often do not have the resources for a full-fledged marketing team while at the same time change is a constant: you are developing your proposition, defining your target markets and looking at different go-to-market approaches, and testing what marketing approaches work best for you. The danger here is that companies spend too much time on finding that unique marketing unicorn that can do everything or spend too much of their marketing budget on hiring – limiting their ability to actually run their marketing and achieve the business objectives. In this stage, you can often benefit from leveraging outside resources until your business matures to a stage where a set of continuous marketing skills can help you move forward. In the next phase, you are keen to scale up and focus on growth. The marketing skills needed to realize that growth may still be broader than the marketing capabilities of the team that you put together earlier.
When you are more established as a company and know what to focus on to generate results, it may be more cost-effective to hire marketing staff that can help you scale your initiatives and supplement that with outsourced specialized support such as social media advertising, web development, or PR. If you’re launching a new product or entering a new market, outsourcing can help you hit the ground running by quickly ramping up your marketing efforts without having to make a long-term commitment. This allows you to test and iterate on your go-to-market strategy without incurring the cost of a full-time hire. If you are going international, you can decide to hire a more experienced marketer who can liaise with a central team while they manage local agencies and contractors to execute your localized marketing initiatives.
Larger, mature companies that offer a range of products and services in a combination of different markets, will often need more advanced, integrated marketing capabilities, including multi-channel marketing automation and marketing operations. A mix of experienced hires and specialized outside resources can help these companies strengthen the impact of marketing on business results.
How competitive is your market?
Besides the growth stage of the company, your go-to-market approach, the complexity of your solutions, and market position is also of importance. Companies that operate in a competitive market often understand that investment in marketing is key – if they don’t their competitors will gain the advantage. They make the appropriate investments in hiring the right marketing talent and use outsourced contractors to secure their position in the market. For companies who view marketing as a competitive advantage, using outsourced resources often is a necessity. For those who don’t, it’s still an important tool to keep pace with the competition.
Is your marketing centralized or organized by region?
Organizations that have a centralized marketing structure often look to outsource digital marketing, campaign production, social media advertising, and web development. These services support the centralized marketing team’s core objectives while allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives. In many cases, the centralized team oversees budgets and provides high-level direction to agencies or contractors who execute the day-to-day tasks. The advantage of this model is that it allows the organization to be nimble and react quickly to changes in the market.
Regionalized marketing teams are responsible for executing local campaigns that are relevant to their specific geographic area. To be successful, these teams must have a deep understanding of the culture, customs, and preferences of their target market. In many cases, regionalized teams will look to outsource copywriting, translation/transcreation, and event management. By outsourcing these services, regionalized teams can focus on developing strong relationships with local partners and customers.
Outsourcing can play an important role in both centralized and regionalized marketing organizations. When done correctly, it can be a key competitive advantage that allows you to focus on your core objectives and frees up time for you to react quickly to changes in the market.
Are you able to attract the right talent?
Deciding to increase your marketing capabilities is the first step on what can be a long road. Marketing executives in established companies often find that getting sign-off for a new hire is a time-consuming process mired in various levels of red tape – after which the actual battle for attracting and securing the best marketing talent can begin. And in today’s candidate-driven market, finding and securing the right candidate that fits your needs can be an uphill battle.
In those situations, you may be able to save time or secure the marketing capabilities you need by outsourcing part of your marketing needs to a marketing agency or contractor.
What approach fits your needs?
At Restless Marketing, we always tailor our approach to each individual company according to its strategy, marketing needs, and available resources. Some of our clients ask us to handle all aspects of their marketing strategy and programs, while others utilize our international marketing experience to supplement their in-house team to achieve their business objectives. If you want to find out more about how we can help your company, drop us a line – we would love to explore how we can help you as well!