“Business has only two basic functions: innovation and marketing,” said celebrated management consultant Peter Drucker. Businesses that do both equally well usually succeed – think McDonald’s. Companies that prioritize one over the other typically falter – think Blockbuster video. The facts don’t lie. If you’re looking to grow, you need to make strategic investments in a marketing plan. But you need to be smart. Your marketing should be run like any other important part of your business with a clear business outcome in mind. Once you’ve decided on that, the next question is whether to invest in an internal marketing team or look at outsourcing your marketing efforts.
Internal marketing departments may be able to support your brand with 24/7 precision, but the problem is they can be a significant expense with a specialized staff that needs to be managed. Of course, there is more than one way to meet your marketing needs without the cost of hiring more employees. But first, you’ll need to define what you want your marketing to include.
What exactly counts as marketing anyway?
Marketing involves so much more than just branded keychains and company newsletters. Businesses are expected to communicate with their customers by collateral, the internet, email, tradeshows, and yes, the occasional novelty item. You need to meet your customers’ expectations within your industry. If your competitor offers online services or availability, then you also need to provide those services. To put together an internal team with such a vast array of skills will be an enormous task. Knowing this, the case for outsourcing your marketing grows stronger.
Backed by Experts
Turning to people who know what they’re doing not only makes sense, it will save time and money. For a busy business, trying to figure out the latest marketing trends, skills, and techniques wastes time and leads to a lot of trial and error that no one wants to manage. You don’t have to have a proven marketing pro on staff to benefit from a marketing agency. A good agency will embrace and become part of your team, bringing with them a full department, including designers, writers, and strategy experts.
In today’s business world, you are presented with a variety of ways to market your company: local newspapers, yellow pages, online ads like Google or Facebook ads, traditional billboards or even strategically placed sandwich boards. Then there is TV, radio and even tradeshows – the list goes on. But if you haven’t done your research and don’t have a great campaign, you may very well be throwing good money at lousy marketing. The goal of marketing is to tell the world about your business and draw in potential customers. If you’re pushing out low-quality, inconsistent messages and visuals, you’re showing potential customers exactly what type of company you are — one with which they don’t want to do business.
With a formal marketing strategy, you actually will cut costs. Collaborative, coordinated approaches create measurable outcomes. A good marketing agency will give you options that will work with your goals and your budget. They’ll define your customer and potential customer base and focus on more than just short-term promotion. A good agency holds a belief in marketing quality over marketing quantity, knowing that more is not always better. That’s a belief that is based on experience and the knowledge that time really is money.
Room for safe input and collaboration
Small to medium-sized businesses struggle to handle all their marketing efforts alone. The issue is often around expressing a creative and collaborative approach internally because other business demands take priority. Your team will feel safe offering their input when they know that it will be in good hands with professionals that have an interest in keeping your brand updated and relevant. A fresh, innovative look is essential. By using a marketing agency, you’re able to be reliable with your brand, offer team input, and keep consistency all without being stale.
An Objective Outlook
Sometimes we just get a bit too close to our industry. We live it, talk it, consume it all the time. So, it can be hard to understand when someone doesn’t immediately recognize an industry buzzword or acronym. An external marketing agency will be able to craft your message in a conversational way and weave in your story with a fresh perspective that will not only interest your existing clients but will draw in new ones.
Are you convinced yet?
At this point, you may be feeling swayed to give an agency a try. It would be a good idea to start with something small first and see how that goes before you commit. Finding the right agency for you will take a bit of research.
How to find an agency that works for you:
Do your homework inhouse first. Do you have a strong brand that you just want a firm to enhance, or do you need someone to start fresh with a new unforgettable identity for your business? Choosing a good marketing agency can be confusing at the beginning. But once you figure out what your marketing needs are, you should have an idea what kind of agency will work best for you.
Whether you go for a national agency or a local agency will depend on your needs as well as your style. Marketing has a lot of specializations, so be sure that you find an agency that meets your business goals. One of the best ways to find a marketing company or any company for that matter is to ask around. See a brand that you particularly admire? Who did they use and why? Of course, your budget will also be a deciding factor so, put it all together and do your research.
An Outsource Marketing Success:
Andy Abelman, General Manager of Fluno Center in Madison, Wisconsin, decided to outsource the organizations marketing a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Mr. Abelman says that he takes an old school approach to marketing but with a modern perspective. He thinks that most businesses approach marketing in either of two ways: marketing when a business is busy to grow momentum or marketing when a business is slow to create momentum. For him, marketing should always be a constant because, after many years in the hospitality industry, he knows the value of an ongoing marketing plan.
“I made the decision to outsource because we didn’t have someone in house at the time. It was between hiring someone, outsourcing to a local company or outsourcing to a big company. I didn’t feel the cost to hire someone in house would be cost-effective. With a national or big company, I felt like I was going to be a small fish in a big pond and my preference would be to be the big fish in a small pond so that’s why I researched some local companies.”
Mr. Abelman says that it was important to meet with several agencies and find a company that was in alignment with his needs and expectations. He decided on Tingalls Graphic Design because it checked all the boxes for him. He was looking for someone who could not only redesign the Fluno website but could also handle their branded collateral and everything in between.
“By outsourcing our design needs to Tingalls, we’ve been able to cut our marketing expenses by 50-65% annually. We especially appreciate their personalized service, responsiveness, and professionalism. Since shifting our marketing to Tingalls, we have seen dramatic increases in all revenue-generating areas of our business, and we contribute a great deal of that success to the marketing that Tingalls has provided to us.”
If you’d like more information about outsourcing your marketing to Tingalls contact us for a free estimate on your next project.