Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of hats that you have to wear? Are you trying to achieve profitable marketing growth, but lack the internal resources to consistently publish helpful content, engage on social media, and develop new ad creatives?
Good news: You’re not alone. Better news: There’s a solution to all these challenges.
The right outsourced marketing team feels like an extension of your own team. They can fill your strategic and creative gaps to attract more customers, test new acquisition channels, improve conversion rates, and generate profitable growth.
However, there are risks to working with an outsourced marketing team. They may not understand your product or industry well, or they may lack the experience to effectively communicate your unique selling proposition in a way that resonates with your ideal customers.
This article will lay out the critical benefits and risks associated with working with an outsourced marketing team. By the end, you’ll know if your business is ready to partner with an outsourced marketing team and how to hire one when you are. Lastly, as a bonus, I’ll give you my best tips for success when outsourcing marketing.
Often, companies will outsource individual pieces of their marketing to different firms. They may hire an SEO team, an ads team, and a social media management team, or just one of these. Other companies prefer to partner with a full-funnel outsourced marketing team, who can help optimize every stage of the customer journey.
Who Should Hire an Outsourced Marketing Team
You're considering outsourcing your marketing, but you worry that you’ll spend thousands on an agency only to see no tangible results... And honestly, if your business isn’t in the right phase of growth, outsourcing your marketing could end up costing you more than it makes you. So how do you know if you’re ready to hire an outsourced marketing team?
It’s too early to outsource your marketing if:
- You have not yet achieved (and documented!) results for a few clients. Without documented results, marketing is almost guaranteed to be unprofitable. Get your first few wins and publish the results so prospects can see that you can actually deliver.
- You don’t know your ideal customer profile (ICP). If you don’t deeply understand who you are marketing to, it’s very hard for an outside marketing team (or internal team for that matter!) to be successful.
- You don’t know what makes you unique and different. To market effectively, your outsourced team will need to understand our unique value proposition (UVP). If you can’t articulate how you’re different from the competition, anything your marketing team does will be generic and boring.
If you check all three of those boxes, and you don’t yet have a fully-formed in-house marketing team, then hiring an outsourced marketing team may be just what you need to scale customer acquisition and accelerate growth.
3 Benefits of Hiring an Outsourced Marketing Team
#1: Bring on an Entire Team of Experts with a Single Hire
Time-to-result may be the most underrated reason to outsource your marketing. Hiring and training an internal marketing team can take months or even years.
On the other hand, when you hire an outsourced marketing team, you get instant access to expert marketing strategists, designers, developers, copywriters, SEOs, CROs, and more. What’s more, the outsourced team has already been working together, oftentimes for years, and has experience executing winning marketing campaigns together.
#2 Accelerate Growth Rate
Working with experts can reduce the execution cycle and help you achieve more in less time. Good marketing comes from:
1.) knowing exactly what to do, and
2.) taking the time to do it right.
Startup leaders are notoriously busy and lack both the know-how and the time to do good marketing. By outsourcing your marketing, you can keep your in-house team focused on improving your product and delighting customers while your outsourced team focuses on generating traffic, leads, and opportunities.
Outsourced marketing teams can experiment with different acquisition channels, run A/B tests, and consistently publish content to attract and convert new customers. When you have a marketing engine that works, an outsourced team can pour fuel into it to accelerate your growth rate.
#3. Outgrow your Outsourced Marketing Team
Our best clients outgrow us. We help them build their marketing engine and put processes in place to build marketing strategies, execute tactics, and measure results. After a few quarters of reducing friction in the sales funnel and increasing pipeline, they’ve generated enough additional revenue to start hiring an internal marketing team. We provide them with the tools and playbooks to train up marketing hires, and eventually, their in-house team takes over the marketing engine that we built and scale onward.
When you work with an experienced outsourced marketing team, they will fill your gaps and build momentum while you hire and train your in-house team.
Related: How to Hire a Growth Marketing Team
3 Risks of Hiring an Outsourced Marketing Team
#1 They may fail to achieve your goals
Over 80% of marketing campaigns fail to break even. Meaning only one out of every five dollars invested in marketing generates a net positive return. And while most agencies can point to one or two examples of big wins, most cannot consistently generate quarter-over-quarter growth for their clients.
And it’s not their fault. Marketing is hard! It’s difficult to know what channels will generate qualified leads, which messages will resonate, or how to beat the algorithms. Even the most seasoned marketers miss the mark every once in a while.
To help mitigate this risk, ensure that the team you hire has experience generating results for businesses like yours. Also, work together to set reasonable KPIs that are both attainable and valuable to the business. If you both agree to the goals, it will be clear whether or not they are being hit.
#2 They might fail to understand your customer and products.
Every business is different. You sell a unique product to a specific type of customer who has particular needs and buying habits. It’s easy for an outsourced team to miss the nuance.
If an outsourced marketing team doesn’t take the time to deeply understand your products, ICP, UVP, and positioning, they’re efforts could dilute brand perception and confuse potential customers.
To mitigate this risk, maintain control of the engagement and ensure that your subject matter expertise is baked into all content that your brand publishes. You will always understand your product, market, and customers best: the best outsourced team will work with you to extract that knowledge and use it to inform all marketing.
#3 They could damage your reputation
Poor marketing and black hat tactics can damage your reputation with customers, prospects, partners, and search engines.
Spammy SEO tactics can get your site penalized and your pages deindexed. Black hat tactics can get your ad accounts banned. Insensitive, pushy, or thoughtless copy can leave a lasting poor impression in prospects’ minds. There are real reputational risks to trusting the wrong agency.
To mitigate this, be sure that you understand the tactics that your outsourced marketing team is implementing. Ensure that they only use white hat tactics and know how to represent your brand well.
“Delegation without follow-through is abdication” -Andy Grove
Outsourcing your marketing does not absolve you of all responsibility. Your outsourced marketing team must be managed and monitored to ensure positive results.
4 Tips for Succeeding with an Outsourced Marketing Team
#1 Choose your partner wisely.
Read testimonials, case studies, and third-party reviews. Ask for a referral for a current client. Look for proven results for a business like yours. Have they documented results for companies in your industry or of your size?
Make sure they provide the services you need. Can they effectively fill your strategic, technical, and creative gaps? Is their approach to marketing aligned with your values and goals?
#2 Get aligned on KPIs and expectations early.
Be clear on what you hope to achieve by working with the outsourced team. Lay out your expectations and ask for confirmation that the service provider can help you achieve your goals within an acceptable timeframe.
#3 Participate as much as possible
You are the expert on your product, customer, and industry: share your subject matter expertise to help your outsourced team market effectively. Provide recordings of customer interviews and sales conversations to help your outsourced team better understand your business.
Teach your outsourced marketing team what makes a high-quality lead, and report back on the quality of leads that they generate. Are they good fits? Ready to buy?
#4 Be patient with the process
Great marketing takes time. The best outsourced marketing team will take the time to develop a deep understanding of your buyer persona, UVP, positioning in the market and competitive advantage.
Depending on the type of marketing, it may take weeks or even months to see a result, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not working. For example, growing organic traffic often requires several months of consistently publishing high-quality, search engine optimized content to see the first signs of growth. But if you stick with it, results will start to compound over time, leading to exponential growth.
Outsourced Marketing Team vs. Hybrid Growth Team
Outsourced marketing teams are great. They can be extremely effective at generating a result in one specific area of your marketing. However, we’ve found that the best results come when we work alongside our clients in a hybrid growth team model.
As a hybrid growth team, we customize the engagement to fill our client’s strategic, technical, and creative gaps. We also put our clients to work executing the growth plays that are best run by subject matter experts (using our playbooks).
The hybrid growth team model accelerates growth by keeping the internal team focused on their areas of highest impact, while we apply our expertise to the areas where they lack the internal players to execute well. The result is a synergistic, aligned growth team that is working toward a shared goal: accelerated revenue growth and profit.
If you’re considering working with a hybrid or outsourced marketing team, we’d love to help you weigh the pros and cons, think through your unique challenges and goals, and determine who the best provider would be for your unique needs. If that sounds helpful, go ahead and book a free growth mapping session.
If you don’t want to talk to our growth expert, but instead want to just steal our most profitable growth strategies, then head over to the Growth Playbook. We took our most important learnings and effective strategies from over a decade of executing profitable marketing campaigns for high-growth businesses and built this playbook to help deserving brands outgrow their competition and become the growth leader in their space.