B2B marketing: should you outsource or own it?

9th July 2020

You know your business better than anyone else, so it makes sense to handle all of your marketing in-house, doesn’t it? Well, maybe in some cases - but there’s a reason why two-thirds of B2B businesses outsource some or all of their marketing needs. 

Obviously, as a marketing agency ourselves, we’re a bit biased. But having all worked within in-house marketing teams too,  we’ve seen both sides of the coin. We also see our clients’ in-house teams put out fantastic campaigns every day - and how having our capacity and support to lean on means they can achieve even greater results. 

The right approach will depend on your business’s unique needs, but in our experience (both as an agency and from working in-house) we truly believe that B2B businesses can achieve brilliant things when they bolster their in-house marketing resource with support from a B2B specialist marketing agency - provided they choose one that takes the time to truly understand their audience and their goals. 

So, if you’re currently handling all of your marketing in-house, you should consider outsourcing if you want to: 

 

Come up with some fresh ideas 

Knowing your business and its products and/or services inside out can be incredibly beneficial in many ways, but when it comes to creativity, being so familiar with what your business has done in the past can make it more difficult to generate fresh ideas. This could mean that you come to rely too heavily on ‘tried-and-tested’ marketing tools and tactics. 

Working with an agency brings new voices and fresh perspectives to the table, which could help you to discover new opportunities and even break into new markets. As they have an external view, they might see weaknesses in your marketing plan that you’ve overlooked, or help you to sound out any ideas you haven’t been brave enough to try yet. Right now, with the coronavirus causing disruption for many businesses (and their marketing plans), it’s an ideal time to try something new - so it’s worth exploring whether an agency can help you with this.

 

Access a wide range of marketing expertise 

There’s no doubt that there are just as many marketing experts working in-house as there are in agencies - we’ve had the good fortune to work with many of them. But there’s often a limit to the breadth of expertise it’s possible to achieve in an in-house team, simply due to budget and resource restraints. To truly optimise every element of your marketing, you need a PR expert, a content writer, a PPC specialist, a brand guru - the list goes on. 

For many businesses, it’s simply not possible to build a marketing department that contains all of the experts they need, and that’s why many rely on agencies. With an agency on retainer, you can call on a digital expert one day and a designer the next, without having to recruit. Having extra capacity available also means that you should never have to hold off on any reactive opportunities that arise simply because your team has too much on their hands - you can simply hand the additional work to your agency. Again, this is something many of our clients have found particularly useful recently, as COVID-19 has caused their in-house productivity levels to fall due to remote working and furloughed staff.  

 

Keep your costs down

Another huge benefit of extending your team by employing an agency, rather than taking on a new hire within your marketing team, is that hiring an agency is typically much more cost-effective. The cost of hiring a new employee is far higher than just their annual salary - you also need to account for the time and lost productivity involved in training them and bringing them up to speed with your business. 

All things considered, it’s often significantly cheaper for you to put an agency on a retainer, so that you can secure an agreed amount of time and resource from them every month at a price that works for you. Look for an agency that will act as an extension of your in-house team and make it a priority to get to grips with your business - this way, there should be no need for you to increase the size of your in-house team, meaning you can keep your op-ex costs down. 

 

Bring other departments on board

Unfortunately, many B2B businesses still don’t fully understand the value the marketing team brings to their organisation. While forward-thinking organisations are breaking down silos and integrating marketing into every business function, others still view marketing as the ‘colouring-in department’.And whether you’re building the case for trying something a little more innovative or would like to get your marketing budget increased, no matter how well you present your case to the senior leadership team, you may find that you’re not really getting heard.

Employing a marketing agency can sometimes help you to break down the barriers within your business and help those working in other departments to realise how much of a difference marketing can make. It shouldn’t be the case, but often is, that people are more willing to listen to external experts rather than those that work within their own business. Your marketing agency is on your side - and they should have plenty of best-practice case studies to give stakeholders the evidence they need to up your budget or get behind your ideas. 

 

Get results

It’s likely that you’re well aware of the KPIs you have to hit and the objectives that your marketing plan needs to align to, but monitoring your progress and making sure you’re on track to reach them can be difficult when you’re also planning, developing and executing all of your marketing activity in-house. 

An agency, on the other hand, should recognise that they’re judged solely on their results - so they should be highly focused on ensuring that your campaigns are delivering. It’s often the seemingly little things - like constantly optimising your PPC campaigns - that make a big difference to your results, but in-house teams often lack time or resources to carry out. By handing these tasks over to your agency, you should be able to get the most out of your marketing.

 

Could your business use some expert support?

We know that lots of businesses are seeking extra support from agencies right now, as the coronavirus pandemic has caused many to rethink their approach to marketing. At The Marketing Pod, we have an expert for all of your marketing needs - so whether you’re looking for strategic advice or help with execution, we can support you. 

Give us a call on 01564 742848 or email us at all@themarketingpod.co.uk.