As a small to medium business owner, you’re used to spreading thin across the business, wearing lots of hats in order to drive your business forward. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the COO… and, in many cases, the head of marketing, too all in the course of a week, maybe even a day. Balancing Balancing sales and marketing, finance and financing, cashflow, product development, and business development – it’s stressful and you never really get to switch off. You’re proud of how well the business is achieving but it’s also exhausting have to switch mindsets constantly and stretching the mind to tasks outside your natural skill set and strength.
Here are some recent stats showing that you’re not alone. Simply Businesses’ annual study of business owners from earlier this year (May 2022) found 53% of SME owners suffer from anxiety, 46% suffer from sleep problems or insomnia. While 71% of business owners remain confident about the future of their business, 26% name marketing as one of their top 5 worries and challenges.
While you can lend your head to many tasks, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. In fact, there are many times when it pays to outsource your marketing efforts to someone or to a team who are better equipped to handle them than you are. Here are a few instances when you should consider outsourcing your marketing… and a few when you shouldn’t.
OUTSOURCE WHEN YOU NEED MORE TIME IN YOUR DAY
Running a business is time-consuming. If you’re not careful it spills into evenings, weekends, even holidays. It can be difficult to find any time for life, family and friends. We know from personal experience; we’ve run more than one!
After long and stressful years of hard work and long hours, being tangled up working IN the business instead of ON it, you may finally like us realise that unless you can truly focus on something, you’ll never really do it justice.
Developing and execute a marketing strategy is a job in its own right. So if you’re struggling exhausted and stretched to capacity, perhaps now is the time to introduce extra resource to give you back time. Give marketing over to people with the time (and expertise) to dedicate to marketing and doing it well, so that you can get the time you need to make the more important decisions that’ll move the bigger dials in the business.
OUTSOURCE WHEN YOU NEED RESULTS AND QUICKLY
Are you putting forth a lot of effort but not seeing any results? This gets even more frustrating when you’re already time poor. If you really want to see results (more awareness, more leads for your sales team, positive brand perception) and you can’t afford to take the slow route of getting to this when you (or anyone else can spare the time from their job roles) can devote time to it, this is a signal that it’s time to get a helping hand from experts.
You need people who know can come in, quickly see the lay of the land, ascertain what is working and what is not – people who can see the quick-wins and implement them, who can set good foundations for the long-run, arm you with the information you need to make the decisions you need to, enable the conversations you need input in, and then implement a plan to measure and get results. A good marketing agency will be able to shape things up relatively quickly, amplifying your successes and enabling fast growth.
OUTSOURCE WHEN YOU FEEL OUT OF YOUR DEPTH
Perhaps you know you need support. You find yourself managing various creatives or freelancers but not really knowing the questions to ask to keep them on track – or just the catch-ups themselves are robbing you of precious decision-making time. It’s probably time for you to call in the reinforcements!
Ideally you need the right blend of experience, strategy, the ability to see what needs doing but also the ability to get it done. But recruiting will leave you with either more strategy and less get up and go, or the reverse. And there’s also that little issue that while you could do with some help, you don’t yet need (and/or can’t yet afford) a full time team. Here’s a great time to outsource. Save the money you’d otherwise spend on an in-house team’s salaries, pensions, etc. and get the right people on the job.
Whenever you’re looking to introduce a new marketing activity, launch a new product or service, or start a new vertical, it can be an exciting time for the business. It can also be overwhelming, especially if you already have too many spinning plates on the go. Why not outsource and get the support (and expertise) you need to make sure it is optimised and a big success!
WHEN OUTSOURCING ISN’T FOR YOU – TIGHT BUDGET
Marketing can be expensive, especially if you’re working with an agency. It can be a black hole if you’re not careful, absorbing as much cash as you can give it. When you’re tight on cash, it can be tempting to take on more yourself or, even worse, go with the cheapest option. Again, we haven’t been immune to this is a trap in our own businesses.
But choosing the cheapest option is (9 times out of 10) a false economy. You’ll end up wasting precious funds and get little to no results for the pleasure.
Marketing should be treated like an investment – to begin with invest as much as you can (no more, no less) in the best you can afford at the time. When you’re seeing the results, then you can upgrade and invest more, growing the business and the marketing as you can afford to.
WHEN OUTSOURCING ISN’T FOR YOU – FEAR OF CHANGE AND LETTING GO, PERFECTIONISM
Change can be scary, especially when it comes to something as key as your marketing. Giving over the reins to someone else, potentially someone new to the business, to market your products/service and convey your messaging to the big wide world is not an easy step to take.
But, here’s the reality… We’ll be straight with you. If you want to see your business grow, to take it to the next level, to amplify the wins and scale up, then change is inevitable. It cannot all be rolled up in you or a few people to drive the business. So if you’re not ready to invite new resource, new ideas, to accept change, to try new things (and sometimes make mistakes – marketing is a learning curve), then outsourcing your marketing probably isn’t the best idea for you right now. Maybe revisit the idea in the future.
WHEN OUTSOURCING ISN’T FOR YOU – YOU’RE HAPPY AS IS
This is looped up in our previous point. There’s one last instance when you definitely shouldn’t outsource your marketing: when you believe in your heart of hearts that you don’t need help! If things are going well with the business and you’re happy with the way things are progressing already, then honestly there’s no reason to rock the boat.
In the words of wise Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Keep up the great work; keep doing what you’re doing and keep seeing the same results. If you’re happy we are (with or without us).
SO: TO OUTSOURCE OR NOT TO OUTSOURCE?
There are clear benefits to outsourcing your marketing. It can save you time, fast track your results and get expertise and insight. Only if it’s done correctly though will it be worth the investment or will you see the results quickly.
Even with those pluses in mind, outsourcing isn’t always the right decision for a business. Make sure you understand when outsourcing your marketing makes sense for your business — and equally important when it doesn’t — before making any decisions.