It’s the age-old quandary marketers have faced since the dawn of industry. “Should I delegate or just do it myself?”
Never before has the problem been as pressing as today, when the need for clear, powerful marketing can be met by such a host of potential providers. Especially if you’re the capable type, the dilemma is real. Is it worth it to hire out help when you could probably do it for free?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. So much depends on your skills, your assets, your time requirements, and your goals. What matters is that you understand the pros and cons to both DIY and outsourced marketing so you can make an informed decision.
Understanding the Terms
Before discussing the pros and cons, we need a clear understanding of what constitutes both DIY and outsourced marketing.
As the name implies, DIY marketing is any marketing you perform with existing assets. If you’re a very small business, DIY marketing might be you staying up late, figuring out search engine optimization strategies or reaching to friends or acquaintances to design your website.
If you’re a larger company, DIY might mean surveying your staff to find out who knows how to tweet and post on social media. It might mean providing incentives for employees willing to write regular blog posts for the company or promoting someone to add SEO to their duties.
Recent studies indicate that even top marketers feel intimidated by certain things such as mobile marketing and testing. Given that, many of them enter in to a DIY relationship with some trepidation.
Outsourced marketing can be a host of things, but basically, it’s any marketing project done outside your existing assets. It can be cheap or expensive, and the results vary greatly.
The first outsourcing venue are online freelancing sites like Fiverr, Textbroker, Guru, and Freelancer. These sites work by offering a platform for clients like you to find ready freelancers. Most offer quick turnarounds and reliable results at reasonable prices.
The drawback of many of these sites is the middleman. Because you’re required to work through the company’s constraints, you’re often prevented from connecting with the freelancer except through the platform.
Not only does this restrict your ability to form meaningful relationships for long-term partnerships, but it also means you may not be able to find out much at all about the freelancer without understanding the terms and conditions. It also means the freelancers may be restricted from contacting you directly, by phone or email, which can result in their limited grasp of your goals and mindset.
The next type of outsourced marketing is the independent freelancer. This person offers their expertise without becoming a regular employee, usually by signing as an independent contractor.
This works well by affording you their expertise without having the headache of paying for benefits and all the issues that come with hiring new employees. Since much of today’s marketing can be done remotely, this is a viable means of outsourcing Pricing varies widely.
Yet another means of outsourcing is the agency. They provide professional, proven results and offer peace of mind if your budget can swing the price tag. You should check an agency’s website to get an idea of the clients that they have helped. Here’s an example of a top marketing agency that offers proven results.
Pros of DIY Marketing
- It can be cheap or even free.
- Experience gained from the process enriches your intellectual assets.
- It’s a great way to develop existing employees to reach their potential.
- It forces you to examine your business and ask hard questions about your company’s direction and goals.
- It requires you to prioritize your time – as if that wasn’t already a priority!
Pros of Outsourced Marketing
- It allows you to focus on your business without trying to reinvent the marketing wheel.
- It puts your marketing in the hands of professionals – hopefully.
- It gives you new eyes examining your business, which can offer valuable feedback.
- It can save massive amounts of time, energy, and frustration.
- It can add to your professionalism, particularly if you’re a small business
Cons of DIY Marketing
- It can be maddening, especially if marketing, design, and copywriting isn’t your strong suit.
- It can drain your time and energy to add marketing to your full plate.
- Enlisting employees to add to their workloads can require significant compensation.
- If you’re not experienced, the results may brand you the opposite of the professional you’re trying to appear.
- DIY can result in blind spots that cripple your marketing’s effectiveness.
Cons of Outsourced Marketing
- Finding quality talent takes serious time and wisdom; just an exorbitant price tag doesn’t ensure quality. A good portfolio is a much better gauge.
- Outsourcing agencies, while convenient and affordable, can introduce con artists and poor quality. Determining character is difficult through the constraints of the platform.
- Expect a steep learning curve for anyone who isn’t familiar with your company’s mission.
- Finding the right outsourcer can take time, especially if that learning curve must be repeated often.
- Time will tell if your choice to outsource is paying for itself, and if it’s not, it can be unspeakably demoralizing.
If you do intend to outsource, here are some great questions to ask:
- Where can I view your past work?
- How do I know you’ll deliver?
- How much experience do you have?
- How often will you touch base?
- Can you explain your pricing system?
What’s your turnaround, and exactly what will I be getting?
In the end, it all comes down to what you have and what you need. Exercise due diligence, both in considering your existing assets and in contemplating outsourcing options. Don’t expect overnight results, and enjoy the journey!
About the Author: Kate Lincoln is a Business Analyst passionate about Customer Motivation, Customer Engagement and Customer Relationship Management in general. She is also a Content Editor for CustomerSurveyAssist.com, which is a site that describes each customer survey in detail, telling you everything you need to know about that survey in order to fill it out fast and in a correct manner.