Should you outsource your marketing team to an agency or hire in-house?

Whether it is to implement a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy or to scale your marketing efforts, you need to consider a few key points to decide if you should hire an agency to help.

1. Evaluate Your Internal Capabilities

The decision on whether to go internal or external must begin with an assessment of the capabilities of your in-house team. Do they have the experience and skillset required for the demands of inbound marketing?

 

To be successful with inbound marketing you need to have access to a variety of skills and capabilities. These skills include copywriting, search engine optimization, social media, paid search, frontend and backend web development, conversion focused web design, analytical marketing and thorough knowledge of inbound marketing software platforms.

 

From a leadership point of view, your inbound marketing strategy should be directed by someone who has a thorough understanding of inbound marketing methodology and that is very in-tune with your business growth goals.

 

The costs associated with recruiting, hiring and retaining an experienced inbound marketer, designer or developer could easily exceed MYR100,000 per team member. Depending on where you’re starting from with your team’s capabilities, directing the equivalent budget towards an external inbound marketing agency may be a more cost effective strategy.

 

Signs you might need an inbound agency’s skills and experience:

· Your internal team doesn’t have all of the necessary core skills

· Your leadership team doesn’t have a full understanding of inbound marketing

· You need help designing a conversion focused website

· You need help aligning marketing targets with business growth goals

2. Consider Your Teams’ Capacity

Organizations that are new to inbound marketing often underestimate the amount of work that is required to get a strategy off the ground and running. It is essential that you consider your team’s capacity to take on new work in the context of their current responsibilities.

 

Very often, a series of efforts focused on strategic planning, content development and website improvements must occur before an inbound marketing strategy is implemented.

 

Buyer personas need to be researched and defined; content in the form of initial blog posts and whitepapers must be written; conversion paths must be defined; calls-to-action need to be integrated across your website and email workflows need to be set up to nurture inbound leads. Together, these tasks demand a knowledgeable team, weeks of effort, and a dedicated operating budget.

 

Once your strategy has been launched, there is a significant volume of on-going work required to gain traction and to consistently attract more traffic, leads and customers. To execute even a basic inbound marketing strategy, you can expect to spend no less than 50 hours per month producing content, creating landing pages and continuously testing and optimizing your efforts. In highly competitive industries, it is quite common for inbound marketing strategies to require upwards of 150-200 hours of work per month to reach aggressive lead generation and customer acquisition targets.

 

These words of warning should not deter companies from initiating inbound marketing strategies, but instead stress the importance of setting realistic expectations for continued success.

 

Signs that you need some extra help to launch and grow your strategy:

· You need to launch a results-driven strategy quickly

· You don’t have the skills or capacity to effectively staff your strategy

· You are facing the challenge of hiring and scaling an in-house team

3. Think About How You Will Scale Your Results Over Time

Regardless of the extent of your dependence on inbound marketing, the way in which you formulate your initial strategy and structure your team will impact your ability to scale your results in the future. As your strategy begins to gain traction and drive business results, how will you harness the power of inbound marketing to assure continued growth?

 

As the internal team hits their workload capacity and targets become unattainable, the companies with in-house inbound marketing teams are sometimes challenged to pre-emptively attract, hire and retain top marketing talent, and due to their talent shortfall, the results of their marketing efforts plateau.

 

To overcome this situation some companies choose to outsource an increasing portion of their strategy to an agency as they require additional skills and expertise to grow. This option provides the benefit of more flexible and immediate scalability and direct access to a broad range of skills and current industry knowledge that may not reside in the internal team.

 

Signs that hiring an agency would help you scale more efficiently:

· You have some internal capacity and relevant skills but you acknowledge that you will need additional expertise to help you launch and grow

· Your inbound marketing results have slowed and you need to take it to the next level

· Your limited budget won’t allow you to hire for all of the positions required to be successful with inbound marketing

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